A step ahead of the others. CEITEC shows a model of how evaluation and resulting funding of science should function here

24. Sept. 2014

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Already for the second time, more than twenty scientists from world-renowned institutions have travelled to Brno to evaluate the work of experts from CEITEC. The foreign experts have personal meetings with all the scientists from CEITEC, assess the results of their work as well as scientific progress in the last two years. While this kind of evaluation – without the participation of local assessors – is the norm in other countries, in the Czech Republic it is an innovation. Given that CEITEC aims to find a place among the world’s top institutions, it needs to have transparent and independent assessment of its scientists. The evaluation itself is planned for September 22-24.

The results of the first independent assessment of the work of the research groups, which took place two years ago, clearly showed that several of them already ranked among the best. Those whose work or approach toward training and motivating a new generation of scientists showed shortcomings and had not reached the standards CEITEC wants to achieve have received support and an opportunity to improve. Since this year’s evaluation will take place under the same regime, it should be clear which of the groups have taken their opportunities and made the recommended improvements. The evaluation involves all 57 research groups in CEITEC, which are grouped into 7 research programmes, and newly also laboratory units – the so-called shared laboratories.

In CEITEC we want to have only the best scientists and to work on projects with recognised scientific institutions. Unfortunately the current Czech system for the evaluation of science does not help much”, complains Markus Dettenhofer, executive director of CEITEC. The evaluation of science in the Czech Republic works on completely different principles and does not look at it in an international context. “We are trying to find a way to provide financial support to the best scientists, but it would be much simpler if there were a change in the system of financing,” adds Markus Dettenhofer.

The evaluation system is made up of several parts. First the standard results of scientific work are evaluated: the quality of published outputs in prestigious international journals, cooperation in the application of their work and success in obtaining international grants. The concrete scientific output of each group is also assessed. An important component is also the strategy for the future, which is looked at both from a scientific perspective and also in terms of the development of human resources. In the third part the CEITEC researchers have a personal interview with the evaluators, dealing with the ability of research group heads to justify the sense of their projects and the prospects for future successful outcomes.