Key Areas

Academic quality will be determined by performance in these key areas: research, education, impact and leadership.

The position paper 'Room for everyone's talent' states: “Many academics feel there is a one-sided emphasis on research performance, frequently leading to the undervaluation of the other key areas”. Until now, research performance was the primary factor determining, for example, promotion from assistant professor to associate professor. But in addition to recognition and rewards for research, there should be equal recognition of the ‘other’ primary task of universities, namely providing academic education at the highest possible level. Universities are also increasingly aware of their mission to generate impact through research and education by sharing knowledge with society (e.g., open science) and contributing to the solution of major social issues. In addition, ‘academic leadership’ is needed at all levels, varying from supervising students and PhD candidates to managing a team or department and performing managerial tasks at the highest level (directors, deans).

In short, the Dutch public knowledge institutes and funding bodies advocate that ‘academic quality’ should be determined by performance in the areas of research, education, impact and leadership (and patient care, especially for university medical centres). This should then also translate into more diverse career paths in which the emphasis may shift in the course of a career (vitalisation). Given the high degree of interdependence between education and research at the university level, academics should have sufficient competences in at least these two key areas.

Besides the matter of ‘career opportunities’, we can distinguish another dimension to the recognition and rewards of academics, namely ‘time’ that is awarded for the tasks set out for us. After all, adequate recognition and rewards implies that enough time is allotted for the academic activities we value in the academia (i.e., the four key areas).