Psychology Research Review: The Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience is one of few centres world-wide able to do this work

In 2017 an International Review Committee evaluated the research in Psychology at nine Dutch universities. On 19 September 2017 it was the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience’s (FPN) turn to be reviewed according to the Standard Evaluation Protocol 2015-2021 (adopted by KNAW, VSNU, and NWO).

The committee reviewed our faculty’s overall strategy and targets, the quality of research and its societal impact, as well as the viability of the research groups.

FPN’s research is organised within the five departments: Clinical Psychological Sciences, Cognitive Neuroscience, Methodology and Statistics, Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Work and Social Psychology. However, the faculty’s research has been scored as a whole, not by the individual sub disciplines.

The FPN Faculty Board is very proud of the results of the review and of the hard work the faculty’s academic and support staff have done over the past years. 

Below you will find a summary of the report.

Research structure and quality
FPN’s collaborative atmosphere was praised by the committee, recognising the low hierarchical structure and room for bottom-up initiatives. The bottom-up approach gives relatively large freedom to individual researchers. This freedom is also represented in the well-developed organisational structure, and straightforward strategic aims.

The faculty hosts valuable, top-of-the-line equipment that is used extensively in research, but also the educational programmes. The committee was impressed with the quality of research and the academic reputation of staff with a specialised expertise. A well-balanced funding between first, second, and third streams is achieved by a very successful acquisition of national and international grants (such as VENI-VEDI-VICI).

Societal Impact
FPN has societal impact on different levels

  • Research conducted for companies and institutions
  • Collaborations with societal groups
  • Constant output of professional publications, books, and public outreach activities

There is a growing effort within the faculty to translate and apply fundamental research to societal aspects, across all subfields of FPN. Though the committee noticed that this societal relevance mostly comes from personal initiatives. The committee sees that FPN is well on its way to implement its research in society. Setting up a more explicit strategy will support the research staff and make for a more streamlined valorisation of the work done by academic staff.

One of the challenges FPN faces is the maintenance and finances of its impressive research infrastructure. The committee considers the faculty’s viability to be excellent, based on:

  • the high quality and well composed research staff
  • excellent track record of grant acquisition
  • overall very good quality of research

FPN has access to top of the bill research facilities, influencing the success in grant applications. FPN is one of few centres world-wide that is able to do this work.

FPN is an international faculty, particularly at a PhD, post-doc, and assistant professor level; nearly 50% of its researchers are not from the Netherlands. 13% are non-European. The underrepresentation of female associate and full professors is subject to change due to the high number of women post-docs, PhD’s, and master students.

Conclusion by the committee
FPN conducts high quality research with very good scientific impact. The research has good societal impact. However, the committee concludes that the strategy on connecting researchers with society, and having societal groups and partners influence the research design should be developed further. FPN has a high success-rate when applying for national and international grants, nicely balancing its funding. This, together with very good quality research and the sensible composition of research staff, makes for an excellent viability.

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