Recalibrating Excellence: #AcademicVarieties

Given that universities have a range of functions, we wonder what #AcademicVarieties, solutions, options or alternatives to #ResearchRealities we can think of?

In the last decades, science policies and funding schemes have increasingly focused on fostering ‘excellent’ research. More recently the usefulness, necessity and the effects of these policies have has been discussed. The focus on a small number of excellence measures is perceived as too narrow: a prestigious grant, an article in a high impact journal. Reason for the Rathenau Institute to start a project on Excellent science.

The criticism is not limited to the Netherlands. The journal Nature has pays attention to the challenges that young researchers experience and invites researchers to share their frustrations and experiences: #ResearchRealities. The Rathenau Institute calls for ideas and thoughts to improve the situation: #AcademicVarieties. What is needed to do justice to the variety of tasks universities have: education, research and knowledge exchange?

We use our experience with and the harvest of the event Recalibrating Excellence. We organised this event in October 2016, together with CWTS. Nearly a hundred young researchers participated. We asked them to contribute ideas to change the current overemphasis on excellent research. Participants formulated ideas and contributions in a World Café. We are impressed with the harvest and want to disseminate this widely. We now take it one step further and ask researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders to share thoughts and ideas at #AcademicVarieties.