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14.11.2017

The impact of the Jaume Serra Húnter Programme on the issuance of reports on tenure-eligible lecturers and for the accreditation of research

The aim of the Serra Húnter Programme (SHP) is the "recruitment by public universities in Catalonia of highly qualified teaching and research staff, regardless of their country of origin, whose merits are equivalent to those of international standards”. Applications are accepted for positions as associate professor (senior lecturer) staff and tenure-eligible (pre- and non-career grade) lecturers.

In addition to the assessment and selection procedure for places under the programme, prevailing legislation stipulates the requirement of ex-ante accreditation for candidates applying for a contract as a tenure-eligible lecturer; associate professor or full professor. AQU Catalunya accordingly evaluated all CVs, i.e. both those submitted to the SHP (without ex-ante accreditation) and CVs submitted according to the ordinary channel, or “AQU channel”. Evaluation by the Agency was therefore carried out prior to the SHP selection process.

Specific details of the Agency's collaboration with the SHP are given below:

 

Applications to the Serra Húnter Programme

Year Positions evaluated Number of CVs evaluated

2013

Associate professor 176

2015

Tenure-eligible lecturer; Associate professor 214

2016

Tenure-eligible lecturer; Associate professor 295

2017 (provisional figure)

Tenure-eligible lecturer; Associate professor 572

The SHP has had a two-fold impact on the Agency's activity: on the one hand, it has had a pull effect shown by a slight increase in the number of applications for evaluation received since 2013 up until the present from both tenure-eligible lecturers and associate professors and, on the other hand, AQU Catalunya has evaluated more CVs from SHP candidates in each annual period.

The overall number of applications received in the period between 2013-2017 actually increased from 1,089 to 1,527, an increase of 40%. For example, in 2017 there were 1.5 times as many applications for reports for tenure eligible lecturers (1,200) than there were in 2013 and 2014 together (390 and 447, respectively).

 

Comparison of the number of applications received according to how they were submitted (tenure-eligible lecturers and associate professors)

Year Positions evaluated SHP Ordinary AQU Channel Total % SHP

2013

Associate professor 176 913 1089 16.2%

2014

Tenure-eligible lecturer; Associate professor 0 853 853 0%

2015

Tenure-eligible lecturer; Associate professor 214 1058 1272 16.8%

2016

Tenure-eligible lecturer; Associate professor 295 1048 1343 22%

2017

Tenure-eligible lecturer; Associate professor 572 955 1527 37.5%

The percentage of SHP applications also increased from 16% to 37%. The following graph shows the aggregate trend of applications for positions as tenure-eligible lecturer and associate professor:

 

Trend in the number of applications received for positions as tenure-eligible lecturer and associate professor (2013-2017)

The Agency has made additional efforts to coordinate with the SHP in order to synchronise the timetable of calls for applications with the international calls made by the Programme. For example, in some calls the deadline for applications has been extended beyond the usual timetable to allow for a maximum participation.

Furthermore, the CV form used by SHP candidates is different to the typical format used by AQU Catalunya in that the SHP allows applicants to submit their CV in an open format. This makes the work of reviewers more difficult as the typical Agency-approved CV format is laid out according to a series of basic sections (publications, projects, training and skills development, and other merits) with a set structure to facilitate evaluation. This means that additional effort has to be made by the Research Assessment Commission's subject-specific review panels in evaluating these candidates.

With the endorsement of Act 3/2016 of 15 December, which renewed the Serra Húnter Programme, the anticipated trend is that there will continue to be an increase in the number of applications, which will mean that further efforts to coordinate between the manager of the SHP and AQU Catalunya will be necessary.