Illustrating dilemmas

Within the Recognition & Rewards programme, we frequently discuss challenges and dilemmas regarding the programme. These discussions are often without an immediate conclusion but provide new insights and empathy and helps moving us forward. 

To support these discussions, it can be useful to illustrate the dilemma or challenge we are facing. We would like to share several illustrations regarding two challenges we have been, and still are, discussing together in the programme.

The illustrations above are focussed on the element of competition in academia. A degree of competition can motivate people; however, we also observe that hyper competition is having a negative impact on scientists and academia. What are the negative effects of competition? How can we make room for excellence? What role does teamwork play regarding this dilemma? And what could be a way to deal with competition differently? Shown in image, various components of the discussion are highlighted. We can quite literally see the importance, difficulty, and possibility of certain elements.

The two other illustrations address the topic of rankings. International rankings play a major role in comparing universities worldwide. On the other hand, we also notice that influential rankings do not measure the quality of universities in a proper way. An external benchmark can be very useful, but how can it be done objectively and with meaning? And for whom is this important?

Again, these illustrations highlight several elements of the discussion, without trying to give conclusive answers or without being exhaustive. What do you think or feel seeing these illustrations? Does it help to deepen the discussion on Recognition & Rewards?

During this round table session at the studio of the Recognition & Rewards Festival, the participants explored their experiences, views, dreams, concerns and possibilities. Two themes were central to this dialogue: “International career prospects” and “International reputation”. Ineke Sluiter (KNAW former president and former member of the Recognition & Rewards steering group) moderated this dialogue. The participants in this dialogue reflected together on their underlying assumptions and values.