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1. Developments in research

Radboud University strives to pursue research of high scientific and internationally recognised quality in order to push the boundaries of knowledge together with others. This requires us to create the right conditions through our policy, organisation and culture.

Recognition and rewards

In early 2021, the Recognition and Rewards committee published a discussion paper in which it described how the recognition and appreciation of scholarship could be improved at Radboud University and Radboud university medical center.

During the year, the committee used this discussion paper as a starting point to organise a series of round table discussions, first with groups of academic staff and then around specific themes from the discussion paper. The input from these discussions will form the basis for an advisory report expected in early 2022.

Read more about Recognition and Rewards in the chapter about our students and staff.

Quality assurance for research

Two research institutes were inspected in 2021: the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) and Radboud Institute for Biological and  Environmental Sciences (RIBES). IMM was the first institute assessed under the new Strategy Evaluation Protocol (SEP). Since the pandemic forced RIBES to postpone the research inspection by one year, it was the last institute to use the old SEP. The results are expected in early 2022.

Grant support

The university has set up a new web environment under the name Grant Support to support applications for research and other grants. This English website summarises all major regional, national and European grant programmes. It also contains useful supporting materials, like templates for certain parts of an application, tips for finding partners, and information on ethics, open access, data management, dissemination, communication and intellectual property rights. It also offers researchers an overview of university and external events, workshops and training sessions related to grant applications. All this results from the EU Support Programme, a collaboration between grant advisors from the faculties and Radboud Services departments.

Increase in open access publications

In recent years, Radboud University has taken another step towards the (national) ambition to make all scientific publications open access. The latest figure (for 2020): 77% of publications are open access, ten percentage points more than in 2019.

This positive development results from the national open access deals with publishers, the open access guidelines of research funders (Dutch Research Council (NWO), ZonMw, European Commission) and the guidelines from the evaluations (SEP, Recognition and Rewards). The improved support for researchers also plays a role, as does increased awareness of the issue in the academic community.

Radboud University Press

Radboud University Press (RUP) was launched in autumn 2021, partly to promote open access to books. RUP works according to the diamond open access model, which means no costs for the author or reader. High-quality peer review safeguards scientific quality, and Creative Commons publication licences are used to ensure the greatest possible dissemination.

The publishing house offers (popular) scientific and educational titles in a variety of forms (books, journals, series and – in the future – non-textual publications). Print editions are also available, as required. The first publications in 2021 were books by Klaas Landsman and Jan Bransen and the journal Relief, a bilingual academic journal about French literature and culture. 

Research Data Management

One pillar of open access is the management and availability of research data during and after scientific research. Research data management guidelines were established in 2021. These guidelines consider the conflicting demands of free availability and legally required protection; good data management does not necessarily go hand in hand with open data.

The new guidelines are linked to the widespread use of the Radboud Data Repository (RDR), now used by seven research institutes. RDR lets researchers manage their research data securely and potentially publish it. Support for data management has been expanded, thanks in part to incentive funding from the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

New regulation and better guidance for PhD candidates

With the new Doctorate Regulations that came into effect in autumn 2021, the university hopes to be more in line with current PhD practice and national developments. For example, PhD candidates must have at least two supervisors, set up a Training and Supervision Plan, and follow a Research Data Management Plan. The new PhD candidates’ registration and tracking system was also launched in 2021, creating more unified registration that better informs PhD supervisors and graduate schools about the progress of the PhD.

In 2021, a pilot project was started for novice supervisors of PhD candidates. It focuses on situational leadership, discussion skills and the supervisor’s role in the planning and writing process. Based on an ongoing evaluation study, the course may be included in the regular course offerings.

Radboud Excellence Initiative

In 2021, there were two nomination rounds for outstanding international academics: in May and November. 12 fellows and eight professors were appointed out of a pool of 41 fellow and 12 professor nominations. Due to the pandemic, some researchers could only come to Nijmegen later. At the end of December 2021, 26 fellows from previous appointments were present.

Radboud Young Academy

In 2021, the Radboud Young Academy (RJA) focused on areas such as Recognition and Rewards, Open Science and Social Safety. Eight new members joined in October 2021. The RJA now includes 25 staff members with PhDs from all faculties and with various positions, including two from the support staff. In 2021, for the first time, the RJA awarded the Radboud Young Academy Recognises and Rewards prize for outstanding contributions to the academic working atmosphere.

International outreach through The Guild and Crowdhelix

In 2021, the first steps were taken to roll out the vision presented in 2020 by The Guild, a network of 21 universities – including Radboud University – that aims to strengthen lobbying in Brussels on European research policy (research, education and research valorisation). In 2021, the representatives in the work groups were appointed, and efforts were made to improve the visibility of the university within the network and within the faculties. One ambition, shared by Radboud University, is to strengthen collaboration with African researchers and institutions. (See also: Astronomical research as a form of development cooperation)

To raise awareness of Radboud University’s research in Europe and worldwide, the university has joined the new Crowdhelix network, which encourages researchers to get together and share their research results. The university participated in various (online) conferences connected to this network.