Implementation of results
In 2021, KTH's most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) was carried out. A large number of international experts were invited to evaluate KTH's research. Their recommendations has been compiled into twelve reports, that together make an important foundation for KTH's future development. In the operational plan for 2022, which was recently finalised, the recommendations is stated as prioritised activities.
In the self-assessments done in preparation of RAE 2021, KTH’s departments have produced strategies to increase the quality of research work, and the external experts have after their review submitted recommendations to each department. By grouping the 29 departments into nine panels, general cross-departmental recommendations have been produced.
The results are summarised in nine panel reports. Three KTH-wide theme areas, called cross-panels, within the areas of Sustainability, Impact and Infrastructure have also been completed. All 12 reports are published on the intranet. The results are of great importance for the future development of KTH and play a key role in the quality assurance work.
KTH's operational plan for 2022
How this will be addressed in the future can be clearly seen in KTH’s operational plan for 2022 that the President recently finalised. For example, each respective Head of School has been tasked, in dialogue with the Heads of Department, to analyse the RAE reports, identify possible development areas and produce an action plan for how the recommendations are to be acted upon. This assignment includes identifying measures for both department and schooling wide collaborations that can contribute to increasing the quality of KTH’s research. The assignment will be implemented within the KTH quality system, especially via continuous monitoring of research in 2022 and 2023, headed by the Dean of Faculty.
Numerous assignments concern specific issues, such as publication strategies. Ranking is important for the future competitiveness of KTH not only when it comes to recruiting researchers and students, but also in the competition for external funding for research. For some time, KTH has been working to stimulate stronger and conscious publication strategies, for example via dialogues chaired by the Deputy President and as a theme in RAE 2021. KTH is going to engage in strategic development work to further build on the lessons from the above in 2022, where researchers will focus on both strategies for the choice of publication channel, and systematic efforts to communicate about current research and publications.
Making research more visible will also help KTH to climb in the important ranking lists. Therefore, in the operational plan for 2022, the Deputy President has been given the task of engaging in development work together with the Heads of School to strengthen the scientific reach of our research. This work aims to strengthen strategic publication via publication and communication strategies, to increase the visibility and reach of KTH research, that leads to a higher position for KTH in the international rankings. The Heads of School have also been tasked with developing an action plan with measures for each respective school, in dialogue with the Heads of Department. The above also includes identifying environments where citation rates are low over time and to identify activities with the environments concerned to incorporate in the action plan for the school.
Relevant and appropriate research infrastructure is also of fundamental importance for outstanding research, and KTH accordingly analyses the need for strategic research infrastructure on an ongoing basis, and seeks to ensure that investments are utilised in the most effective way and as broadly as possible. Infrastructure was one of the theme areas for RAE 2021, where departmental needs for infrastructure and KTH support in this area were analysed. Based on the recommendations from the cross-panel on infrastructure, the Deputy President has now been tasked with analysing recommendations and viewpoints and to produce a long-term road map for KTH’s research infrastructure.
Sustainable development was another theme area for RAE 2021, where how the Departments contribute to sustainable development and KTH's support in this area were analysed. The Vice President for Sustainable Development has been tasked with analysing the recommendations and viewpoints from the cross-panel on sustainable development, and to propose possible actions. In addition, the Vice President for Sustainable Development will be allocated funds in 2022 for investments within environment and sustainable development across departments (På tvärs). These investments are to be oriented towards improvement measures within sustainable development that have been identified in RAE 2021.
Impact and co-operation
Impact was yet another theme area for RAE 2021, where how the departments contribute to impact and KTH support in this area were analysed. In 2021, the impact-leader initiative was also evaluated. Based on the recommendations from the cross-panel on impact, and the evaluation of the impact leader initiative, the Deputy President has been tasked with analysing recommendations and viewpoints and to produce a plan for possible measures to take.
KTH is systematically working to establish and develop strategic partnerships with parties outside higher education that are key for KTH. In 2021, KTH’s strategic partnerships were reviewed. KTH also participated in an international bench learning program (accelerator) that focused on strategic partnerships. To a certain extent, this has been included in the cross-panel on impact in RAE 2021. The lessons learnt will be applied in work to further develop our strategic partnerships, headed by the Deputy President.
On-going development efforts
A number of important change and development initiatives in the KTH operational plan for 2021 were also started, as were reviews of prioritised areas. Teachers, researchers and University Administration at KTH have made significant progress in many of these assignments. Having said that, several of these assignments are of a character that means they are not simple to complete over a single year, and should accordingly be viewed as long-term development assignments that may span over several years.
The KTH faculty recruitment process is key to KTH’s competitiveness. In the operational plan for 2022, the Dean of Faculty, who is also Chair of the Appointment Board, is tasked, in consultation with School Heads of Faculty Recruitment and Development, to ensure appropriate transparency around and the effectiveness of the appointments process for faculty positions. Specific focus should be given to understanding how an appropriate and effective process depends on the cooperation of all parties involved. The need for this was clarified in association with the RAE review.
As part of the in 2021, the University Director has engaged in dialogue with the Heads of School and Administrative Managers, with the Heads of Divisions within University Administration and trade unions, to discuss the development of effective University Administration. RAE 2021 highlights the need to develop University Administrative support for research at KTH. Here, an evaluation of University Administration can contribute to showing and clarifying what administrative support is available at KTH at different levels and in communicating knowledge concerning how KTH is governed.
In connection with the evaluation of University Administration, a review of the KTH resource allocation model has been initiated as an assignment in the operational plan for 2021. Work in the programme is being synchronised with the KTH planning and monitoring process, such as in the development of the KTH operational plan and the operational plan for University Administration. Here, KTH’s management of IT development should act as a template for planning. Work in the programme to ensure professional, relevant and consistent University Administration will continue in 2022 with the focus on an increased coordination and development of processes within the various different areas of University Administration.
Evaluation of RAE process
Vice President for Research has also been tasked to evaluating the RAE 2021 process with a view to absorbing the experiences and recommending possible changes to the KTH quality assurance system with regard to the 6-year external review cycle to enable us to become even better next time.
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