Out of the ivory tower?

Initiated by tweets by @Prof_FSultana, @JoshGellers, @MartaBerbes, @Thad_Miller and others, I was asked to share how we at @UUCopernicus @UtrechtUni have changed our promotion system in order to account for public engagement.

Here is what we do: 👇
We look at five areas of achievement, called “MERIT”: Management, Education, Research, Impact, and Team Spirit. Note that Research is only one of the five. In promotion decisions, we look at each one of these criteria.
We accept and value that not everybody excels on each criterion: Some excel with groundbreaking research; others are engaged in societal debate as public intellectuals; others again make a great contribution as team players in larger groups or as teachers.

We value diversity.
How to assess 'impact'? We are not counting beans (like newspaper articles) but rely on convincing narratives. We also value impact outside elite-circles – e.g., not up to Davos but working with farmers. Our impact is often national & local and invisible to international peers.
However, we are also clear that our societal impact is through our knowledge, based on our research. We are not activists (in our professional capacity).
And as a university institute we still value groundbreaking research as well, of course. We are proud to have recently won 25 personal awards from European Research Council & Dutch Research Council, and this we still see this as important.
There is much more detail, of course, which I cannot share through tweeting. Overall, the new system at @UUCopernicus @UtrechtUni is great, even though admittedly a bit more time-consuming in self-reporting in each promotion application.

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