In the report of the Assessment of Research Sociology 2007-2012 that was published in november 2014, the Groningen sociology program received twice the top qualification 5 (excellent), and twice 4,5 (very good). With 19 out of a maximum of 20 the Groningen program has reached her best result ever, and the best-but-one result of the sociological programs in the Netherlands. The assessment was carried out by the the QANU (Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities) and the seven Dutch sociology-programs were evaluated by an international committee of seven leading scholars from Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
This research assessment covers all Sociology programs at seven universities: University of Amsterdam, Fre University Amsterdam, University of Groningen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Tilburg University and University Utrecht. Sociology Groningen took a leading role in initiating and organizing this national research assessment over the period 2007-2012.
Each program was assessed on the dimensions quality (“international recognition and innovative potential”), productivity (“scientific output”), relevance (“scientific and socio-economic impact”), and viability (“flexibility, management, and leadership”).
The Groningen program received the highest qualification ‘excellent, research is world leading’ (5) on the dimensions Quality and Relevance, and the score ‘very good, nationally leading’ (4), for the dimensions Viability and Productivity.
The Groningen program ‘Social Networks, Solidarity and Inequality’ has the highest percentage of publications in top-10 journals, and is in the top-3 of the programs with the highest average number of publications per fte.
The Committee praises the originality, both theoretically and empirically, and the international reputation of the program, ‘way beyond what one might expect given its rather modest size’(…)
Relevance and Viability
The Groningen Sociology program is one of only two programs receiving a 5 (‘excellent’) on the criterium ‘societal relevance’. The Committee praises the way in which the program is notably active in linking its research to wider societal issues.
The Committee was impressed with the current leadership and management of the department. They note strong leadership, innovative coaching and human resource management, leading to a well-balanced structure in terms of seniority levels, the ratio of tenured faculty and gender.
The greatest pleasure, the Committee notes, was interviewing PhD candidates whose enthusiasm and quality impressed the committee members. A specific remark is dedicated to the ICS training program, ‘which is a fine example of how different departments at different universities make use of the strengths of other departments to train students to become fully fledged members of academia’.
Interuniversity research school ICS
The Groningen Sociology research program and the training program are both embedded in the KNAW-accredited interuniversity research school ICS, a collaboration of the the Sociology departments at the universities of Groningen, Utrecht and Nijmegen. Both other departments received high scores in this assessment: Utrecht 5-5-4,5-5 and Nijmegen 4,5-4-4-4 on Quality, Productivity, Relevance and Viability, respectively. The current research assessment underlines once again the high quality of both the ICS research program and training program.
Five-point scales were used for the assessments: 1 (“unsatisfactory”), 2 (“satisfactory”), 3 (“good”), 4 (“very good, nationally leading”), 5 (“excellent, research is world leading”).
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