High rating in external research assessment

Published 2011-09-16 00:00. Updated 2014-07-07 11:08Denna sida på svenska

More than one in three research groups at Karolinska Institutet have been rated either outstanding or excellent by a university-wide external appraisal of Karolinska Institutet´s research. The results of the project, called ERA 2010, will contribute to the strategic planning and development of the university between 2013 and 2020.

"This is a very gratifying outcome, since it means, in effect, that way over half of our researchers are working in internationally leading scientific environments," says Professor Martin Ingvar, Dean of Research at Karolinska Institutet.

ERA 2010 (External Research Assessment) has been carried out by nine independent panels of experts comprising internationally prominent researchers. Over 500 groups underwent appraisal, which included the quality of published scientific articles and ongoing research projects. The panels were also instructed to identify specially gifted young scientists. The external assessment was pitched at a research group level to pinpoint potential for improvement.

Over 30 percent of the research groups were rated either "outstanding" or "excellent" on a six-point scale. 66 per cent of the researchers who had attained the level of professor through application for professorships in open competition received the highest rating. Of the professors promoted as such after many years service, 31 per cent were as successful. This Martin Ingvar believes shows that opportunities for junior researchers to apply for positions in competition are a key success factor for Karolinska Institutet.

Relatively few research groups, most of which were small teams incapable of handling the transformation of the healthcare sector, were given a poor rating by the panels. The individual results for the different groups will be examined by their respective departments, which will decide on the appropriate action, be it support or reorganisation. Martin Ingvar stresses, however, that the reports on individual research groups form only part of the source material to be used in the development of local research activities.

"ERA contains a wealth of proposals for how Karolinska Institutet can be improved, some of which we have already put into effect," he says. "ERA indicates that our ability to receive the forthcoming generation of scientists should be improved, as should our academic governance and our adaptation to the healthcare services. Every proposal for improvement will be subject to scrutiny during the internal strategy work."

The external group of experts has now submitted its ERA 2010 project report to the Board of Research at Karolinska Institutet, which has been tasked with evaluating research activities by the University Board. The Board of Research will be submitting its final report, based on the results of ERA 2010, to the University Board shortly.