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Quality assurance of research

The University of Groningen is proud of its excellent reputation as also reflected by its position among the Top-100 universities in some prominent global Rankings* and aspires to further improve its international visibility and recognition. However, most rankings use indirect proxies to capture quality and produce simple monotonic league tables that don't do justice to the rich diversity within comprehensive universities such as ours. Rankings, nor any other simple indicators, therefore cannot replace quality assessment by 'informed peer review', the backbone of the Dutch quality assurance system for both research and teaching.

Dutch universities have been bound to national guidelines for research quality assurance since the early nineties of the previous century. These have been updated every 5-6 years, most recently in 2020, and are laid down in the Strategy Evaluation Protocol 2021–2027 (SEP) approved by the Association of Dutch Universities (VSNU).

A key feature of the SEP is that the responsibility for assessing research lies with the institutions themselves. This means that the Board of the University of Groningen is responsible for organizing adequate, thorough and independent external assessments of all its research once every six years. The SEP explicitly leaves room for a tailored design of each university´s own quality assurance procedures. The University of Groningen´s guidelines have been adapted most recently autumn 2020, in response to the then new SEP, and are referred to as the Groningen Research Assessment Protocol 2021 (GRAP).

The Groningen research policy leans heavily on the expert judgements of independent, international peer review committees (PRCs), as written down in the reports published elsewhere at this website. Each PRC bases its assessment not only on extensive documentation, written by the evaluated units and supplemented with objective qualitative and quantitative evidence, but also on actual site visits that include interviews of research leaders and discussions with senior and junior academic staff. The PRCs assess both the academic and the societal quality and impact of the research, as well as the viability of our main research units. The outcome serves as important input for our policy to reward and stimulate research excellence and to provide young, outstanding talent more room for further development.

* E.g. in the ARWU, THE-WUR, UI-GreenMetric and NTU rankings, see our international position page .

Last modified:14 November 2023 11.23 a.m.