Research awarded high score in expert assessment
KTH’s research upholds a high international standard with great relevance for society. At the same time, there is scope for improvement in several areas regarding, for example, internal processes, publication strategies, sustainable development and EU applications. This is how the results of the Research Assessment Exercise 2021 can be summed up.
Annika Stensson Trigell , Vice President for Research, who led the work on the quality assessment that was conducted with the help of top international scientists, is delighted with the results.
“The experts who conducted the assessment were on the whole impressed by the research we are carrying out at KTH, and in many cases they saw a high level of engagement and a vital culture among KTH’s staff,” she says, adding:
“They were also impressed by the societal impact many of our research groups achieve, the standard of the research infrastructure and KTH’s potential to contribute to sustainable development, both nationally and internationally.”
This is the third time KTH’s research has been evaluated by international colleagues within the context of KTH’s regular quality assessment; the previous one was in 2012. This time the assessment included an evaluation conducted in three interdisciplinary panels: sustainable development, impact, and research infrastructures.
“On the whole, the experts were impressed by KTH’s operations in these three areas, but they also identified several potential areas for improvement, says Annika Stensson Trigell.
Discussions about important issues
The experts’ recommendations included clearer incentives to work with societal impact, fewer but more co-ordinated initiatives, and encouraging more initiatives linked to sustainable development.
They also wanted to increase central funding for the research infrastructure, a recommendation already implemented in the spring when KTH increased its internal funding for established research infrastructures from SEK 20 million to SEK 50 million.
RAE 2021 has involved a great many of KTH’s scientists. In spring 2021, nine subject-based self-evaluations were carried out. Based on the self-evaluations and other supporting documentation, 90 international experts summarised their observations and recommendations in 12 reports.
“The self-evaluations prompted discussions about issues important to KTH’s future, and the experts’ assessments and recommendations produced several excellent concrete proposals for how we can raise the quality of KTH’s research in the years to come,” says Annika Stensson Trigell.
In which areas could quality be improved?
“There are recommendations about quality improvements at all levels at KTH, but the focus is at the departmental level. Some departments are being urged to work more on publication strategies and others on scientific renewal, balancing different academic roles in research groups and applications to the EU.”
How are schools and departments working in response to the RAE results?
“The departments are working on drawing up action plans based on their proposed strategies in the self-evaluations and on the recommendations following from the evaluations. These plans are being compiled at school level and will be reported to the Dean of Faculty,” says Annika Stensson Trigell. She continues:
“The evaluations give us insight into our strengths, where we can develop, and what we should focus on in order to retain and consolidate our position as a university with world-class research. Different research environments are facing different types of challenge, and this is a way of selecting and prioritising the most important measures to work on.”
Text: Christer Gummeson