For two intensive and (at first) terribly chilly weeks in May, the University played host to more than 130 colleagues from about 20 different countries when the Q&R panels came to make their site visits. Each of the 19 panels spent five days in Uppsala to experience our research environments and talk with their representatives.
Quality and Renewal 2017 (Q&R17) focuses on evaluating conditions and processes for excellent research rather than research results as such, and it was exciting to see how this concept would work out in real life. After feedback from the panel chairs at the end of each week of visits, we feel we can say that on the whole, it’s worked out very well. The panels seem to have understood their role and their task in this evaluation. They were impressed by the quality of the self-evaluations they had seen and the openness they experienced when they visited the departments.
And judging by the oral feedback we received from the chairs, there’s no doubt our ‘critical friends’ have made a number of observations that will lead to improvement measures. Career systems, the capacity for strategic renewal and the link between research and education (and, where relevant, clinical activities) are areas in which the potential for improvement is repeatedly underlined.
Now the panels’ reports will begin to arrive – they’re due by 15 June – and after that perhaps the most important phase for us at Uppsala University will begin. Where the Q&R project is concerned, it’s time to put together a final report in which the panel reports are supplemented by broad analyses of the questionnaire that was carried out last autumn, summary descriptions of the bibliometric analyses and, not least, the project management’s overall observations and conclusions on the whole process.
For everyone else – heads of department, deans, vice-rectors and the Vice-Chancellor, together with the relevant boards, committees and other collegial bodies – it will then be time to turn the panels’ conclusions and recommendations into practical measures. Only then will Q&R17 really have an impact on research quality and renewal at Uppsala University.