Frequently Asked Question

With the Recognition & Rewards programme, we aim to give broader recognition to, and reward the work of academics. Unsurprisingly, questions are arising during its implementation. In this section, we try to provide a clear answer to one of those questions.

What does the Recognition & Rewards programme mean for the international position of Dutch academic research?

Within the academic community, there are concerns about the international position of Dutch academia in relation to the Recognition & Rewards programme. People are worried that the reputation of Dutch academia will suffer if institutions start putting the emphasis on quality when assessing academics and the use of certain quantitative indicators such as the Journal Impact Factor and the h-index is no longer permitted. They fear this will result in Dutch institutions falling in international rankings.

These concerns have also been expressed in the House of Representatives. This prompted the House of Representatives to ask the Minister of Education, Culture and Science in spring 2022 to perform an independent evaluation of the Recognition & Rewards programme. In addition, in July 2022, the Standing Committee on Education, Culture and Science asked the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (AWTI) to clearly set out how the quality of academic work can be established objectively.

In its letter of advice published in December 2022, the AWTI concludes that a different form of academic evaluation, such as the Recognition & Rewards programme, does not threaten the international position or reputation of Dutch academia. The Netherlands may be leading the way when it comes to developing different forms of research assessment, but it is by no means alone in doing so. Indeed, there is a broad international movement aimed at finding a different way of assessing the quality of academic work. For instance, programmes that have much in common with the Recognition & Rewards programme have been established in countries such as Norway, Finland and the United Kingdom. And at European level, more than 500 research and other institutions have signed the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, which contains agreements about how research should be assessed. These agreements are also closely aligned with the ambitions of the Recognition & Rewards programme.

Academia is quintessentially an international matter. Academics working in the Netherlands right now might want to take the next step in their careers in another European country or further afield. It therefore makes no sense to change the system of recognition and rewards in the Netherlands alone. That being the case, with the joint Recognition & Rewards programme, we are inspiring other countries by sharing our own experiences and findings. The fact is that initiating a broad dialogue provides opportunities to determine the direction taken. The Recognition & Rewards programme tries, where possible, to involve international partners in the movement so that the achievement of the ambitions can be replicated internationally. Accepting invitations to give lectures and attending workshops abroad is one of the ways we do this.