Excellence in research
All universities seek to practice high quality research, producing reliable results and contributing to the status of knowledge and science to the overall benefit of students and society. And to do this as best as possible. This is what it means to strive for excellence in research.
his is a long way off from the managerial vision of the Lisbon Strategy and international rankings, that we nevertheless can't ignore, since they have become a prerequisite for research financing.
Research participates in excellence...
...if it is creative, original and innovative,
...if it contributes to the increase of knowledge on a given topic
...if it is undertaken with rigour and method
...if it produces publishable results, in the form of books, articles, patents
...if it is recognised by peers or by authorised experts
...if it interests and re-interests those who finance it
...if it produces the expected results, verifiable and reproducible
...if it produces unexpected results, verifiable and reproducible
...and if, when it does not produce results, the why of this can be explained
Excellence can be expressed in projects of different types:
Cutting-edge research, niche research, industrial research, doctoral schools, ULiège thus sets up specific projects that encourage and develop excellence, particularly in priority themes justified by the societal challenges that research must help to solve: Education and Digital, Health and Society, Citizenship and Community, Cities and Territories.
Aiming for excellence, reinforcing it, is not about trying to engage researchers in a logic of efficiency and competition at all costs, at the risk of creating inadequate ethical behaviour. It's about empowering researchers to do exceedingly well in their profession, with ambition, to be recognised for it, with the confidence of funders, and to preserve the skill of quality teams.
High-level research relies on brilliant, creative and ambitious individuals. It is thus about also creating conditions to recruit them (HRS4R and OTM-R policy) and provide them with the optimal environment to develop their skills and ideas. A key objective that the institutional strategic plan (link), with the management strategy for human resources in research is endeavouring to achieve.
Finally, research excellence is not decreed, but evaluated with rigorous and transparent procedures both for individuals and for the projects. ULiège has developed and tested its procedures for several years based on quantitative criteria that are not exclusively based on Bibliometrics, and through explaining its comments, remarks and decisions.