Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya

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Assessment of the research of university departments

Guia per a l'avaluació de l'activitat de recerca dels departaments

AQU Catalunya has developed this methodology to carry out the assessment of the research of university departments. The pilot project has been carried out at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, where it has been applied to all the university's departments. This is a pioneering assessment in Spain.

The long-term purpose of these assessments is to help to strengthen the universities as research organisations on a high international level.

In this respect, this method has the following specific goals:

  • To be an instrument for the improvement of the research policy.
  • To determine the type of research conducted at the universities.
  • To identify the most dynamic areas and environments.
  • To promote processes and changes towards the goals of the universities in the field of research.
  • To identify possible synergies between the research conducted in different departments of one same university.

This methodology is applicable to all fields of knowledge and it draws its inspiration from the existing models in Sweden and the Netherlands. Accordingly, it follows the classic internal assessment model with the addition of a visit of the external panel (with a large number of international assessors), providing the panel with access to all the necessary information. The following dimensions are identified in the assessment process:

  • research productivity,
  • research quality,
  • research significance, and
  • vitality and organisational capacity.

The assessment places great weight on both the descriptive data of the research environment (teaching staff, theses, financial resources obtained, etc.) and on the data of productive nature (number of research publications, research impact, etc.). In this respect, the data bases of the Government of Catalonia have been considered to be the most important scientific information tools.


PDF Guide to university research assessment at department level (October 2016)