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About us Organization Kwaliteitszorg Research quality assurance

National framework for the quality assurance of research

The guiding framework for Dutch academic research assessments is the Standard Evaluation Protocol 2015 – 2021 (SEP). This protocol has been developed and is adhered to by the three major public national academic bodies VSNU (Universities), NWO (Funder) and KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences).

The main goals of the SEP are to inform the Board of the University about the state of its research (internal accountability), to improve it where needed (benchmarking) and to inform both public and private sponsors, including the government, other stakeholders and society at large (external accountability)

It obliges all Universities to organize external evaluations once every six years. These should be based on informed peer review by independent international experts that assess research units with a clearly defined shared strategy on three main criteria:

  • Quality
  • Societal relevance
  • Viability.
The final qualitative judgement of the Peer Review Committee (PRC) on each criterion is supplemented with a quantitative score on a discrete scale with four categories (4: unsatisfactory, 3: good, 2: very good, 1: world leading / excellent).

In addition, the PRC provides a qualitative evaluation of each unit’s:
  • contribution to the supervision and instruction of PhD candidates
  • policy on research integrity
The PRC reports are to be made public, as well as the Board's main conclusions and measures in response to the PRC's assessment, and can be found here.
Last modified:13 March 2020 12.16 a.m.