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Recognition and Rewards

Academia does not only revolve around excellent research. Leadership, teaching qualities, societal impact, creativity, and contributing to the public debate are just as important for academic success. This acknowledgement, shared by all Dutch universities under the programme title Recognition and Rewards, forms one of the pillars of the UG strategy.

Under the leadership of deputy director of University Services Marion Stolp, a committee will give shape to five UG tracks within the programme, namely:

Recognition and Rewards
  • Teaching career pathways
  • Generic competences
  • Leadership
  • Assessment of research and impact
  • Balance between team and individual
Policy Paper 'Room for everyone's talent'

Policy Paper 'Room for everyone's talent'

Towards a new balance in recognizing and rewarding academics

‘The UG is committed to inclusion. The focus must therefore be on recognizing, appreciating, developing and utilizing all talent. Excellence will never be achieved if qualities go unnoticed. ’

A broader perspective is required for both the development and assessment of staff members. This will not only help staff members to reach their full potential, but also to help cultivate and maintain an attractive academic workplace.


As a top university, the University of Groningen is committed to stimulating talented researchers and facilitating suitable career paths. However, the UG also wants to create opportunities for its staff members who want to forge a different path, for example, by focusing on teaching, valorization/impact or healthcare (UMCG). This also applies to those staff members who aspire to a managerial or organizational role in their academic career. To this end, attention needs to be paid to the personal development of the individual staff member, but also to the profile that the team or faculty would like to cultivate. All elements of academic roles, which a person masters after much practice and feedback – whether in research, teaching, impact, governance or leadership – are important. At the same time, there is also an understanding that no-one can excel in all areas.

The challenge is to move forward and develop new ways of working and policies that suit the specific characteristics of the University and the faculties. The aim is to develop other forms of recognition and thus be open to diversity in the development of academics. How can we ensure that managers, in collaboration with staff members, put this into practice? How should we receive or give feedback? How can we steer things in the right direction? How can we create a supportive environment?


A broader perspective on development also necessitates a shift in the assessment of staff. How can we determine whether a staff member is performing exceptionally well in career paths that focus on teaching, societal impact, patient care or administration/contributions to teams? A mix of quantitative and qualitative performance indicators will be developed for the various profiles, which will take full account of the achievements and qualities of the staff members. Proven methods for assessing achievements will serve as the starting point for this. However, this will be no easy task and there are various dilemmas to contend with, for example: quantitative performance indicators, such as the number of publications, are transparent for staff members and they offer guidance; in the case of qualitative indicators, staff members are reliant on how they are perceived in the ‘arena’. There is then a greater risk of unconscious bias creeping into the assessment of ‘achievements’.

Instruments for assessing qualitative criteria in an inter-subjective way may be useful here. As such, these will be developed further. Several departments have already gained experience in this area, which they will share with those involved. Quantitative benchmarks for research quality will also continue to play an important role in specific contexts.

Engage all talent


In the coming period, the University will be developing a broader perspective on academic careers, on the development and support of these careers and on quantitative and qualitative performance indicators. As a result of the pandemic, however, it will not be possible to tackle all career paths at the same time. Discussions with the academic community are also being delayed as a result of working from home. The first period will focus on the themes of teaching career paths and academic leadership.

Strategy and approach

Culture change

In order to develop a broader perspective on recognition and rewards, we need to engage with different groups at the University. One element of the strategy is therefore to enter into dialogue with colleagues at all administrative levels: faculties, the group of professors with management positions, various committees and consultative bodies (Committee of Deans, University Committee for Academic Practice, Teaching Academy Groningen, Committee for Educational Strategy, Young Academy Groningen). During this dialogue, ideas will be shared and concerns will be discussed. It goes without saying that the new approach to recognition and rewards must not be at the expense of major achievements and the University’s reputation. It should be an enriching perspective that respects diversity in careers and the use of talents in a broader context.

It should also demonstrate that the UG values achievements in the fields of teaching, research, governance and leadership, outreach and societal impact. This should not only be reflected in corporate communications, but also in the behaviour of managers.

Good practices and pilots

Examples of good practices represent another part of the strategy; we can learn, for example, from the academic promotion policy that the Faculty of Medical Sciences/the UMCG has already been pursuing for a number of years. In addition to career paths that lead towards a professorship, other academic tracks are geared towards the position of associate professor. Academic tracks can be tailored to focus on research, teaching, valorization/impact and healthcare. Other faculties, such as such as the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences (GMW) and the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), have a specific policy for lecturers and temporary lecturers. The FSE recently decided to set up a pilot for tenure track programmes which have a greater focus on teaching. The FEB started developing a teaching career path in the autumn of 2020.

A career policy which covers a variety of career paths also raises questions. For instance, the strategic impact of choosing different career paths will be discussed between departments and the Faculty Board. A balance needs to be struck between the organization’s interest and the career interest of the individual concerned. Instruments such as strategic staff planning and a talent survey can be of particular help here.


  1. Dialogue via (online) meetings with various groups
  2. Set up pilots and share good examples
  3. Embed results of dialogue/pilots/good examples in policies and procedures

Roadmap 2021-2022

The roadmap of the UG’s Recognition and Rewards programme gives an overview of the steps we are taking within the UG on the path towards a better balance of when it comes to recognizing and rewarding the diversity within our University.

A summary in the form of a presentation and a visualization of the timeline can be found here.

Would you like to know more about recognizing and rewarding quality in research at the UG? Then read this document:

Would you like to know more about career paths with a focus on education at the UG? Then read this document:

Related links

Recognition and Rewards (general)

Follow Recognition and Rewards on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Recognition and Rewards committee

A Recognition and Rewards committee has been appointed, chaired by deputy director of University Services Marion Stolp.* The other members are Joke Fleer (Associate Professor of Health Psychology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UMCG), Merel Keijzer (Professor of English Linguistics and English as a Second Language), Rob Timmermans (Vice Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering), Mladen Popović (Dean of the Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society), Peter Verhoef (Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business), Elisabeth de Vries (Professor of Medical Oncology, Faculty of Medical Sciences – UMCG), Benjamin Leruth (Assistant Professor in European Politics and Society, Faculty of Arts) and Joost Frenken (Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering).

The committee is supported by a working group consisting of program secretary Grytsje van der Meer (HR) and members Marjolein Stern (Strategy Department for Education & Research - SER) and Dicky Tamminga (HR).

If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to the programme secretary.

*Rector Magnificus Cisca Wijmenga has stopped as chair of the committee since January 2023, but will still contribute to the Recognition & Rewards programme.

Cisca Wijmenga

Cisca Wijmenga, Rector Magnificus

Universities comprise great diversity and it is important that we recognize this in the various career paths offered. We have to celebrate those differences!

Joke Fleer

Joke Fleer, associate professor of Health Psychology, Faculty of Medical Sciences – UMCG

I suppose I am one of the first who has benefitted from the Recognition and Rewards programme initiated by the University of Groningen (UG) and the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). In line with the vision of Recognition and Rewards, the UMCG recently introduced four academic career development tracks for researchers with profiles focusing on healthcare, research, society & knowledge transfer, and teaching. In 2020, I enrolled in the UMCG talent track as a researcher with a teaching profile. I will use experiences and insights gained within this track to improve the career perspectives of the teaching staff (with and without research ambitions) at the UG.

Peter Verhoef

Peter Verhoef, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business

I still find it to be a great privilege to work at the University. It is a place of discovery andobtaining and conveying knowledge. But one can detect discontent. I have noticed that academics who focus more on teaching deserve more appreciation and should be provided with more career perspectives in particular. I would like to personally contribute to this.

Mladen Popović

Mladen Popović, Dean of the Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society

Recognizing and rewarding is also about developing and utilizing potential and talent in different forms and at different times. This means that both personal responsibility and support from the organization play a crucial role in all phases of a career. As a dean, I look at the whole picture, and as a member of the Young Academy Groningen I also pay particular attention to prospects for early-career researchers.

Merel Keijzer

Merel Keijzer, Professor of English Linguistics and English as a Second Language, Faculty of Arts

As part of the UG's Recognition and Rewards committee, I look forward to exploring the topic of diversity by focusing on team science and what this could entail for different disciplines. As a relatively young scientist, I especially want to focus on early and mid career scientists, on talent development and diversification of career trajectories so that academics can explore and exploit different talents at different stages of their career.

Elisabeth de Vries

Elisabeth de Vries, Professor of Medical Oncology, Faculty of Medical Sciences - UMCG

I hope that it will become increasingly possible within the university to value employees for the many special and diverse tasks that are performed. For example, much relevant research can only be done by multidisciplinary teams. Each team member deserves appropriate recognition for this. Career paths can possibly be made more varied, and provide the employee with appropriate inspirational opportunities over time.

Benjamin Leruth

Benjamin Leruth, Assistant Professor in European Politics and Society, Faculty of Arts

Recognition and Rewards helps university employees unlock their full potential. It is not only about recognising and rewarding them based on their strengths, it is also embarking on a journey that can help them discover and develop their (sometimes hidden) talents. I am proud to be part of a movement that will shape current and future generations in our industry, in the Netherlands and beyond. As an international researcher and current Chair of the Young Academy Groningen, I want to make sure the early career researchers' voices are being heard and communicate on how the programme will have a positive impact throughout their careers.

Joost Frenken

Joost Frenken, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering

I myself was educated in the days when the focus in academia was entirely on excelling in research. Gradually I have learned that there is so much more needed for a university, a company or any other organization to function well and that there are so many more fronts on which you can and should excel within these worlds. The trick here is to do everyone justice with emphasis on those elements in which each person is strongest. That starting point with attention to the diversity of individuals forms the core of Recognition & Rewards. I myself have been trying to apply this in my own work environment for a long time and experience the result as enormously valuable and inspiring.

Committee updates

Find the Committee's updates in PDF here:


Do you have any ideas, suggestions, questions, or information on examples of good practice? Or do you want to bring something to the attention of the Recognition and Rewards committee? Your input is warmly welcome!

Last modified:19 September 2023 11.53 a.m.
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