Science - February 10, 2020

'We need to find a good balance'

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 1: Yuling Bai, personal professor Plant Breeding.

‘The big challenge is the high PhD numbers in the Tenure Track assessments. It is too high and this requirement may have a negative impact on quality. I think that we need quantitative criteria in Tenure Track as a basis, but I also think that we need to find a good balance between research, education and general tasks that are not included in credit calculation. When I started my tenure track, I was a study advisor for one day a week. Whereas study advisor is very important for education, this work was not reflected in credit calculation. So I had to convince the committee that my work as study advisor should be valued. I appreciate that my committee considered my ‘non-credit’ tasks. For a flexible assessment, committees should balance quantity and quality; and candidates should be able to demonstrate their ‘extra quality’ that cannot be reflected well by the quantitative criteria.’