Application of Bottom-up Criteria in the Assessment of Grant Proposals of Junior Researchers
Scholars in the Social Sciences and in the Arts and Humanities consider criteria, indicators and instruments commonly used in evaluation exercises to be hardly appropriate or not at all suitable. Therefore, the Swiss university conference (SUC) has promoted various initiatives since 2009, for instance the cooperative project between the University of Zurich and the University of Basel, in which the two Universities developed quality criteria for the assessment of research in the humanities, specifically in the subject areas of “German literature”, “English literature” and “art history” (see www.psh.ethz.ch/crus).
The main outcome of this project is a comprehensive catalogue of quality criteria supported on a national as well as international level (involvement of all professors at Swiss Universities and LERU-Universities). The approach chosen in the project and the results have been well received and met with considerable interest (invitations to various presentations and workshops by universities, ministries, private research funders and scientific societies; see www.psh.ethz.ch/crus/publications).
However, the compiled catalogue of criteria has not yet been applied in an actual evaluation exercise. Hence, the University of Zurich (UZH) is executing an implementation project during which the catalogue is applied within the frame of competitive, intramural academic career development and tested for scientific criteria of assessment procedures.
The goal of the implementation project is to develop an empirically sound and practicable rating form that may be used to assess research proposals of junior researchers in the humanities. Such a rating form is to be developed and tested within the scope of the so-called “Forschungskredit”, an instrument used in academic career development at UZH. Thereby, the focus is on humanities disciplines that are located at three different UZH faculties (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Faculty of Theology; Faculty of Law). The outcome of the project is to be a multilingual rating form suitable for assessing research proposals of doctoral students as well as postdoctoral researchers.