Guidelines for the establishment and evaluation of research priorities, research platforms and research centres at the University of Innsbruck
Objectives of the prioritisation
The priority system of the University of Innsbruck is in line with the University's strategic profile both internally and externally and enables the targeted promotion of excellence in research. The priority system includes research priorities, platforms and centres (FSP, FP and FZ), which represent the various fields of competence in research and research-led teaching and thus boost the University's performance profile.
FSP, FP and FZ are networks of researchers (ohne voluntary) who tackle a common problem using different theoretical approaches. The researchers involved pursue different tasks and work towards a common goal as a team. FSP, FP and FZ consists of full members and associated members.
There are basically three types of specialisation:
A research area is an association of internationally recognised research groups with the aim of jointly working on a central topic at the highest level and with international visibility. Research centres carry out research identified as research foci by the University of Innsbruck; they are essential and important institutions in the international research area. It is possible for several research centres to merge in order to form a research focus. A IIIb position (20 hours per week) or B1/1 position (15 hours per week) will be made available to support coordination.
A research platform is an association of a large number of highly qualified research groups and individual researchers from a wide range of disciplines whose individual research achievements contribute to a broad cross-cutting topic at European level. It is possible for several research centres to merge in order to form a research platform. Following a positive evaluation, it is also possible for a research platform to be transformed into a research focus. A IIIb position (20 hours per week) or B1/1 position (15 hours per week) will be made available to support coordination.
A research centre is an association of several highly qualified individual researchers (usually at least five post-doctoral researchers) from one or more faculties with the aim of coherently working together on a central research topic with the greatest possible international impact.
FSP, FP and FZ are defined in the development plan of the University of Innsbruck. FSP and FP are also interfaculty organisational units of the University of Innsbruck.
The head or deputy head of a research focus or research platform is appointed by the Rectorate based on the recommendation of the professors involved and is subsequently supervised and supported in their work by the Vice-Rectorate for Research. The head can be supported by an advisory board.
Criteria for the establishment and confirmation of research priorities, platforms and centres
The Rectorate proposes the establishment of FSPs, FPs and FCs to the University Council (after consultation with the Senate) to be included in the development plan, following an appropriate assessment by the Vice-Rectorate for Research. Applications for the establishment of an FSP, an FP or an FC can be submitted to the responsible member of the Rectorate at any time, thus taking into account the dynamic development of the research landscape at the University of Innsbruck.
The following four indicators are used as decision criteria for the establishment or confirmation of an FSP, FP or FC:
- Excellence: internationally visible, outstanding research results
- Coherence: Participation of several researchers or groups in a coherent manner
- Third-party funding: Acquisition of third-party funding
- Internationality: International cooperation in the area of third-party funded projects
Quality assurance: evaluation cycle and consequences
Existing FSPs, FPs and FCs are evaluated on an ongoing basis (quality assurance) and exist for a limited period of time. As a rule, an evaluation takes place every three years. If an FSP, FP or FC no longer fulfils the required criteria, it is removed from the priority area system. However, organisational changes (e.g. merging research centres into one platform) can also be suggested.
The Vice-Rector for Research invites the heads of the FSP/FP/FC to a meeting to discuss the evaluation process (content, methodology). In addition, the heads receive a catalogue of questions that asks for basic quantitative information about the FSP/FP/FC and the number of researchers involved. In addition, the individual units are asked to answer qualitative questions in in essay style.
The evaluation is carried out on the basis of research performance, which is allocated to the FSP, FP and FC in the university's internal databases, the research performance documentation (FLD) and the project database (PDB). The data is retrieved and analysed on a cut-off date basis. The evaluation period and cut-off date are communicated to the supervisors way in advance so that missing assignments can be subsequently entered in the FLD/PDB.
If a service is assigned to several FSPs, FPs or FCs, it is aliquoted accordingly during the evaluation. The exact aliquoting methods are described in more detail under point 6.
The specific evaluation categories of the indicators defined in point 3 for the confirmation of FSP, FP and FC ar made up as follows:
- Total scientific publication output
- Standardised number of scientific publications
- Total scientific presentations
- Standardised scientific presentations
- Supervised dissertations
- Completed habilitations
- Number of publications in which at least two habilitated professors of the University of Innsbruck are involved; in addition, editorships of habilitated professors are also counted as coherence achievements if contributions by habilitated professors were published in the respective volume
- Total amount of third-party funding according to SAP
- Total amount of third-party funding standardised according to SAP
- Number of externally funded projects with international partners
For the subsequent evaluation, these categories are transferred to a points system to determine the total sum in the four areas (excellence, coherence, third-party funding, internationality). In addition to the evaluation of the overall output, the publication, lecture and third-party funding data are standardised on the basis of the number of habilitated researchers involved.
The results of the quantitative evaluation are discussed together with the heads of the FSP/FP/FZ in the Vice-Rectorate for Research. In addition, the central activities, strategic development opportunities and measures to promote early career researchers (evaluation of the qualitative questions) are discussed.
As part of the "Future Platform Obergurgl", the heads of the FSP, FP and FC have the opportunity to present the central research topics and fundamental strategic considerations for the further development of the individual units to representatives of the University Council, the Rectorate, the Senate and all other heads of the FSP, FP and FC. University management and heads of the FSP/FP/FZ can jointly discuss the further development of the priority area system, exchange experiences, provide feedback and promote interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary networking.
Aliquotation of FLD services
The possibility of allocating individual services in the FLD to more than one FSP, FP or FC makes it necessary to aliquot the services allocated multiple times for the evaluation in order to create the same conditions for all FSPs, FPs and FCs. Aliquoting is generally carried out at the FSP and FP level on the one hand and at the FC level on the other.
The following is an example of the most important options for the FLD allocation of services and their aliquot allocation. The graphical representation emphasises the FSP, FP or FC to which the service is assigned. As no different rules apply to the allocation of services between FSP and FP, only the term FP is used in the illustration below for the sake of simplicity.
Research platform 1 = FP1
Research platform 2 = FP2
Research centre 1 = FZ1.1 (is assigned to research platform FP1 )
Research centre 2 = FZ1.2 (is assigned to research platform FP1 )
Research centre 3 = FZ2.1 (is assigned to research platform FP2 )
Research centre 4 = FZ0.1 (is not assigned to a research focus/platform)
Zuordnung eines Datensatzes
Aliquotierung der Leistung
(zu einem Forschungszentrum)
100 % FZ1.1 ⇒ automatisch auch
100 % FP1 (weil zugeordnet)
FZ1.1, FZ1.2 (zu zwei Forschungszentren, die derselben Forschungsplattform zugeordnet sind)
50% FZ1.1, 50% FZ1.2 ⇒ 100% FP1 (je 50% von beiden FZ)
FZ1.1, FZ2.1 (zu zwei Forschungszentren, die unterschiedlichen Forschungsplattformen zugeordnet sind)
50% FZ1.1, 50% FZ2.1 ⇒ automatisch auch
50% FP1, 50% FP2 (weil zugeordnet)
FZ1.1, FZ0.1 (zu einem Forschungszentreum, das einer Forschungsplattform zugeordnet ist und zu einem "unabhängigen" Forschungszentrum)
50% FZ1.1, 50% FZ0.1
100% FP1 (automatisch übernommen vom zugeordneten FZ)
FP1, FP2 (zu zwei Forschungsplattformen)
50% FP1, 50% FP2
FZ1.1, FP1 (zu einem Forschungszentrum und zu jener Forschungsplattform, der sie zugeordnet ist)