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Recognise and Reward

VU Amsterdam is working on a new way of recognising and rewarding academics across the board.

The way in which recognition and reward is shaped within universities has, until now, mostly been determined by performance in research and education. Management tasks are usually not taken into account and knowledge transfer activities often do not count as actual performance. This is often at odds with the primary motives of academics: curiosity, involvement in the world and the desire to provide useful research for education, the economy and society.

That is why VU aspires to a more diverse and balanced way of recognising and rewarding, which does justice to everyone's talent and distributes the workload more effectively. Less emphasis on quantitative indicators such as the number of publications and more attention for performance in other core areas, such as education, social impact, leadership and, in the case of University Medical Centres, care for patients. VU wants to offer its academic staff an environment and career paths in which they can develop their talents and choose the direction that suits them. This helps them excel in what they are good at. To realise this ambition, we will work together to review the current way of recognising and rewarding academics. This will lead to a new way of recognising and rewarding that is more in line with the VU mission, the current tasks of our academics and what society expects from us.

Also read VU’s vision of recognition and reward that is intended to provide insight and increase our imagination.

In the below drop-down menu you will find more information on the national recognition and reward programme, which VU is part of. Would you like to know how this is being implemented within VU? Below you will find some practical examples:

Video Recognise and Reward

Watch the animated video on recognition and reward.

In practice (incl. examples)

  • National programme and European coalition

    The topic of recognition and reward has been top priority in the Netherlands since Dutch knowledge institutions and research funders (Universities of the Netherlands, NFU, KNAW, NWO and ZonMw) published the joint Position Paper in November 2019. For more information, visit the Universities of the Netherlands (UvN) website or visit the National Programme on Recognition and Reward page.

    In addition, VU has joined the European coalition around Advancing Research Assessment that is looking into issues related to Recognition and Reward.

  • Support for lecturers

    Giving junior lecturers the recognition they deserve will provide them the extra push to innovate even more. To help them in this journey, an incubator for junior lecturers has been developed.

  • Leadership

    Working together is easier in a working climate that inspires, develops and engages. To this end, four principles have been formulated within VU: Art of Engagement. It is an exercise in professional behaviour to enable us to do our work better and more pleasantly. In line with this, take a look at the page on management and leadership within VU.

  • Open Science

    Open Science is an international academic movement that aims to make academic publications and data accessible to society, among others by publishing in Open Access. This makes it easier to publish academic knowledge and to make data accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIRdata) and contributes to the importance of academic output, which is more than counting the numbers of publications produced.

  • Open debate

    On 19 July 2021, a group of 171 academics, including VU professors, published a piece in ScienceGuide (in Dutch) in which they expressed their concerns about the new way of recognising and rewarding. A few days after the publication of the piece, another group of academics, also including from VU, published a reaction (in Dutch) on 21 July 2021 which actually supports the new recognition and reward programme. The large number of signatories on both documents shows that recognition and reward is alive and well among academics, also at VU. What are the concerns and how does the recognition and reward team deal with them? Read the article that appeared in the Strategy Times 2021.

  • Interview Kristine Steenbergh about recognition and reward

    "Every academic has his or her own research project and tries to achieve as much as possible. This goes hand in hand with the idea that you are one another’s competitors and therefore also creates an atmosphere of winners and losers. For example, people who perform well and have excellent educational achievements and do interesting research, but just don’t acquire a grant, can feel like they’re missing the boat." Read the entire interview.

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