Science - February 13, 2020

'Quantitative criteria are no longer a means of determining quality but an end in themselves'

WUR is committed to discussing the current system of assessing scientists and has installed a committee to review the way scientists are recognised and rated. Have suggestions? Part 4: Jasper Candel, Soil Geography and Landscape

Jasper Candel, soon to get his PhD in Soil Geography and Landscape:

‘After my PhD research I faced the decision: am I going to go on tenure track or go into teaching? I have ambitions in both education and research. But in the tenure track system, quantitative criteria such as the number of publications and PhD students are no longer a means of determining quality but an end in themselves. When all everyone worries about is collecting credits, they play it safe and you get cautious science it’s easy to score with. Education then becomes the poor relation. That kind of work culture holds no appeal for me. I want to educate competent people. WUR should use tenure track much more broadly and look at the social impact of education and research as well. I think from now on it would be better for tenure trackers to make a plan outlining what they want to achieve, and for a committee to assess the implementation of the plan every three years. That way, not everyone has to go through the same evaluation mill and you can make career policy more diverse.’

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