An independent evaluation by external assessors is a part of the long-term strategy of the centre’s management as well as being beneficial to the centre’s international standing. During the preparation of the whole evaluation process, CEITEC found inspiration abroad, mainly at the Belgian VIB institute. Individual evaluation panels for each Research Programme are chaired directly by members of the International Scientific Advisory Board of CEITEC (ISAB).
More than twenty top experts from leading scientific institutions from around the world evaluate the work of CEITEC scientists. CEITEC organizes evaluations of scientists solely by foreign experts, which guarantees truly independent and transparent evaluations. The aim is to gain an unbiased picture of the current state of affairs and to receive recommendations from those eminent in the field that could be implemented in individual Research Groups. Simultaneously, the progress of the institute as a whole since the last evaluation is assessed.
The first independent evaluation of CEITEC took place in July 2012, the second one in September 2014. The last evaluation was held on 29th-31st October 2018.
Evaluators are leading experts in the field and are selected to ensure no conflicts of interest, diversity, and balance. The continuity of the evaluation is ensured by the fact that about half of the members of the evaluation panels had already attended the evaluation in the past, while the other half is completely new. This brings a new perspective and suggestions for improvement. At the same time, ISAB provides expert advice for CEITEC management.
Evaluators receive detailed materials, including a bibliometric assessment, more than a month in advance. This gives them a detailed insight into the functioning, performance and future plans of research groups, and they can ask very specific questions during 50-60 minutes onsite visits. The structure of the interview and the method of evaluation are always the same and consistent. Every Research Group Leader has fifteen minutes to present his/her research and future plans, then the discussion with other Principal Investigators and postdocs follows. The evaluators also spend a quarter of an hour with Ph.D. students without the presence of other researchers and the Research Group Leader. Thus the evaluators have the opportunity to get the most accurate information for the most objective evaluation.
„I would like to congratulate CEITEC and CEITEC staff for the professional organization of the evaluation, which meets all criteria of the best international evaluations and is done in a very fair way. The preparatory material was excellent and the meetings with the Research Group Leaders well-structured.” Summarizes Dirk Inze, the Science Director of the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology and the Chair of CEITEC ISAB.
Altogether, 48 Research Groups were evaluated, only the groups that were already assessed in 2017 and those newly established in 2018 were left out. The final evaluation report says that most of the Research Groups operating in CEITEC have a high international level and conduct very competitive research.
The chairs of the evaluation boards are:
- Prof. Gustaaf Borghs, Senior fellow at IMEC, Full professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium - RP 1 Advanced Nanotechnologies and Microtechnologies
- Prof. Oliver Diwald, University of Salzburg, Austria - RP 2 Advanced Materials
- Prof. Michael Sattler, Chair of Biomolecular NMR-Spectroscopy, Department Chemie, Technische Universität München, Germany - RP 3 Structural Biology
- Prof. Dirk Inzé, Scientific Director and Department Director, Flanders Institute for Biotechnology, Department of Plant Systems Biology, Gent, Belgium - RP 4 Genomics and Proteomics of Plant Systems
- Prof. Witold Filipowicz, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland - RP 5 Molecular Medicine
- Prof. Christoph M. Michel, Director, Functional Brain Mapping Laboratory, Department of Fundamental Neurosciences, University Medical School, Geneva, Switzerland - RP 6 Brain and Mind Research
- Prof. Heiner Niemann, Head of Institute, Head of Department Biotechnology, Fridrich-Loeffler Institute, Germany - RP 7 Molecular Veterinary Medicine