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International evaluation of research at the University of Helsinki


The University of Helsinki engages in international top-level research across a broad front. Nearly two-thirds of the 75 units engaged in research received the highest or second-highest grade on a scale of 1 to 7 when compared with other comparable European research institutions.

Peer reviews reveal the University of Helsinki’s research to be of even higher quality than in the first evaluation carried out in 1999. This was the conclusion of the international experts, who evaluated research at the University. Their reports were published on 1 March 2006.

“The result is flattering to the University of Helsinki. This and other recent international comparisons confirm that the University of Helsinki is progressing towards its strategic goal of being one of the best multidisciplinary research universities in Europe,” say Rector Ilkka Niiniluoto and Marja Makarow, the Vice-Rector for Research & Researcher Training.

24,000 researcher person-years and 60,000 publications under evaluation

During 2005 a total of 148, mainly European, experts evaluated all of the University of Helsinki’s units that were engaged in research. The period under review covered all research from 1999 to 2004, and comprised a total of 24,000 researcher person-years, during which the researchers produced more than 60,000 publications.

Twenty faculty departments or independent institutes received the highest grade, 7, and 26 units the second highest, 6. The experts did not rank any units in the lowest two grades, and only one in grade three. The average score of all units increased from 4.6 in the previous evaluation to 5.8.

In addition to the grade, each evaluated unit was given feedback and suggestions for further developing their research. The evaluation panel’s development suggestions are mostly related to the career prospects of young researchers, the development of the research infrastructure, increasing co-operation across departments and disciplines and developing the management of units.

The experts, who were divided into 21 panels, also gave verbal evaluations on 19 other kind of research organisations, including research networks and programmes and field stations. Likewise, the panels gave verbal evaluations on how well the various units performed in the so-called third mission of universities, dialogue with society. This evaluation focussed on expert duties, popularisation of science and utilisation of research results.

The University rewards successful units with € 15 million

The University of Helsinki will spend a total of € 15 million of its own funds over the next six years to reward the units that were most successful in the evaluation.

The 20 units that received the highest grade of 7 will receive extra funding for the next six years. Units that improved their performance by at least two points from the previous evaluation to reach grade 6 will be given extra funding for three years. There were six units that had achieved such a leap. Successful faculties will also be rewarded with extra funding for at least three years.

Jorma Laakkonen | alfa
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