‘A bold undertaking in private-public partnerships’

Published on March 8, 2018

In the past six months, all institutes of NWO were evaluated according to the Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP) of NWO, KNAW, and VSNU. And although ARCNL is still in its early stage of development the research center was also evaluated. ARCNL was visited by an international evaluation committee, chaired by Prof. Ellen Williams (University of Maryland, USA). The committee describes ARCNL as ‘a bold undertaking in private-public partnerships’, a new approach in the Netherlands, and it believes that ARCNL has a very good chance of success. The committee is impressed by what has been established at this early stage.

Both research quality and viability are rated as ‘very good’ and relevance to society even as ‘world- leading/excellent’. The committee, however, indicated explicitly that they felt uneasy about passing a ‘numerical judgment’ on ARCNL’s performance, due to lack of a steady-state (scientific) track record over the full evaluation term. According to the committee, ARCNL is performing well and has the potential to grow to excellent status by the time of its next review. ARCNL director Joost Frenken is happy with the report and states that “the early feedback is […] of great use and significance, as it gives us confidence that we are on a meaningful track and it provides us with useful recommendations for optimizing our approach and performance.”

The committee concludes that ARCNL will need several more years of focused effort to develop to its full potential. Frenken regards the SEP report as “reflecting not only on our center’s performance and plans, but also on the ‘ARC (Advanced Research Center) concept’ and the organizational setup and embedding of ARCNL.” ARCNL is clearly recognized as ’work in progress’ and Frenken concludes that he “is grateful for the committee’s findings and recommendations, most of which we are already converting into action.”

Read the NWO press release: NWO institutes praised for quality, innovation and national role