Evaluating Dutch Academia: Progress and Insights

Evaluating Dutch Academia: Progress and Insights 648 728 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

In 2020, Dutch universities, university medical centres, research institutes, and research funders initiated the Recognition & Rewards programme. This initiative seeks to create a balanced approach to recognizing and rewarding academic work, ensuring that diverse talents and contributions across research, teaching, impact, leadership, and patient care are valued. The programme aims to address the one-sided focus on quantitative individual research performance, which has often led to the neglect of other critical academic activities.

Key Developments and Objectives

To promote this broader perspective, the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL), the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU), the Network of Ideologically-based Universities (NLU), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Dutch Research Council (NWO), and ZonMw collaborated on a position paper titled Room for Everyone’s Talent: Towards a New Balance in the Recognition and Reward of Academics. This paper laid out ambitious goals for a significant shift in how academic achievements are recognized and rewarded, emphasizing the need for a profound cultural change.

To monitor the progress towards these goals, the ‘Recognition & Rewards Plan 2022–2026’ introduced a culture barometer. This tool aims to:

  1. Assess the extent to which academics recognize, experience, and share the ambitions of the Recognition & Rewards programme within their institutions.
  2. Provide insights into the progress of the envisaged cultural change throughout the programme’s duration.

First Culture Barometer Survey

The first culture barometer was conducted in early 2024 by Berenschot, with a follow-up planned for 2026. The survey was meticulously prepared with input from project leaders, HR directors, and questionnaire experts. It was administered in both Dutch and English to ensure accessibility for all academic staff across 26 participating institutions.

Survey Participation and Response

The survey targeted all academic staff, totaling 65,142 individuals. The response rate varied by institution, ranging from 4% to 52%, with an overall response rate of 12.1%. This participation level provided sufficient data to analyze variations across different job categories and subject areas, though it highlighted some disparities in representation, such as the underrepresentation of PhD candidates and younger academics.

Findings and Interpretation

The survey results offer valuable insights into the current state of the Recognition & Rewards programme. Key findings include:

  • Familiarity with the Programme: Respondents who were already familiar with the programme were more likely to complete the questionnaire.
  • Perceived Recognition and Rewards: Respondents who completed the survey generally felt less recognized and rewarded in their work.
  • Demographic Representation: The gender distribution in responses was balanced. However, younger academics and PhD candidates were underrepresented, while professors and associate professors were overrepresented.
  • Subject Area Representation: Academics in Healthcare were the largest group but were underrepresented in responses, while Natural and Life Sciences, and Behavioural and Social Sciences had slightly higher representation.

Challenges and Biases

The survey faced potential selection biases. Institutions that heavily promoted the survey and sent reminders saw higher response rates. Additionally, respondents who felt less recognized and rewarded were more likely to participate, which might skew perceptions of the programme’s effectiveness.

Conclusion and Future Directions

This report provides a snapshot of the Recognition & Rewards programme’s current state, based on the opinions of academic staff. While it highlights significant areas for improvement and adjustment, it also underscores the importance of continued monitoring and adaptation. The follow-up survey in 2026 will further illuminate the programme’s impact and guide future efforts to create a more inclusive and balanced academic recognition and rewards system.

More information and insights: RECOGNITION & REWARDS

Privacy Preferences

When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Our Privacy Policy can be read here.

Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

Click to enable/disable Google Analytics tracking code.
Click to enable/disable Google Fonts.
Click to enable/disable Google Maps.
Click to enable/disable video embeds.
Our website uses cookies, mainly from 3rd party services. Define your Privacy Preferences and/or agree to our use of cookies.