International evaluation of IASR: Research collegium could be the calling card of the new University

Submitted on Wed, 09/26/2018 - 11:27

The task of the Institute for Advanced Social Research at the University of Tampere is to promote high-level international and interdisciplinary social research. In its recent report, the International Evaluation Panel tasked with reviewing IASR notes that the research collegium has achieved this fundamental goal well. According to the panel, the collegium provides a good environment for conducting research.

The panel’s report contains a proposal on what the new multidisciplinary research collegium of Tampere University could be like. The proposal emphasises scientific quality, the freedom of research topics, interdisciplinarity, the pooling of researchers at various stages of their careers and a system of sabbaticals for professors to focus on research. According to the proposal, the expanded research collegium could be the “social and intellectual glue” of the new university, a pilot site for international multidisciplinary research projects and a prominent calling card of the new University.

The panel was particularly delighted by the leadership philosophy of IASR, which was considered extremely supportive of intellectual exchange and fostering the career steps of younger fellows. The report called attention to internationality as an area that needs to be further developed. The criticism was partly due to the fact that international researchers have only in the recent years been able to apply for fellowships at the collegium.

The international expert evaluation of the University of Tampere’s Institute for Advanced Social Sciences was carried out in June 2018 at the initiative of the Tampere 3 Research Management Group. A panel of international experts spent three days at the University in the Midsummer week. The panel included Professor Gerd Folkers (ETH Zürich), Professor Thomas Maissen (Deutsches Historisches Institute Paris) and Professor Sami Pihlström (University of Helsinki). The review is part of a wider assessment on how to develop research collegium activities and in what way it would be feasible to expand them at the new Tampere University.

The evaluation was based on material sent to the panelists in advance of the site visit, and interviews with current and former research fellows and leaders of the collegium. In addition, the fellows who worked at IASR between 2010 and 2017 answered a survey whose results were reported to the panel.
The results of the assessment have been discussed by the Research Management Group and Transitional Board of Tampere3 as well as the Research Councils of UTA and TUT.

The evaluation report, the terms of reference document, the bibliometric analysis and the report of the survey answers are available on the IASR website.