Science - February 13, 2020

'The aim is to contribute to the university’s strategy'

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 5: Ton Bisseling, professor of Molecular Biology

‘With tenure track, you have to look for a balance between transparent rules and a quality assessment. You don’t want to go back to the 1980s, when a lot of new people were appointed, many of whom got stuck in research and just sat out their time. We must give people a challenge: what do you really want and how do you stay happy in your job? The nice thing about tenure track is that it is not the chair-holding professor who decides about that, but that a group of colleagues evaluate it. The aim is not to excel, I think, but to contribute to the university’s strategy.

It is hard to make precise rules, and there’s a difference between ground-breaking articles and articles than elaborate further on the topic. And if you attract 15 PhD students a year but no analysts and postdocs, you are not helping to create a healthy chair group and I don’t think you deserve to be a personal professor. To assess quality properly, you need good people in the evaluation committee.’

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