Research policy and quality enhancement

Research is the driving force of Ghent University. Boundaries are pushed. Researchers make discoveries that have an impact on society at large. Moreover, the research breathes new life into education and establishes the basis for a forward-looking knowledge society.

Over the course of two hundred years Ghent University has built up a strong scientific reputation. Ghent University invests both in fundamental, high risk science as in applied research. The university is known for its scientific expertise in life sciences and medicine, materials and agricultural science, veterinary medicine, psychology and history, and many more.  This university does not just offer a place to singular research strengths but also encourages multidisciplinary collaboration.

Ghent University has a large diverse research community. Our priority is to make sure that all these people get the necessary opportunities for development and can enjoy a pleasant stimulating work environment.

Thanks to the excellent performance of its entire research community, for the decade Ghent University has been part of the Shanghai Ranking's top 100 - a worldwide ranking primarily based on research indicators.

General research strategy: Research Policy Plan

Ghent University’s ambitions regarding the 2017-2021 Policy Plan can be grouped into six major objectives:

  1. The Special Research funding channel contributes to the quality and impact of research at Ghent University
  2. The organisation and structure of research at Ghent University is workable, efficient and effective
  3. The research policy plan is embedded in Ghent University’s internationalization ambitions
  4. Ghent University’s HR policy backs, stimulates and inspires research
  5. The quality of the research is continuously supported and monitored regularly, taking into account the differentiation between disciplines, the career development of young and more experienced researchers, and the intended impact of the research
  6. Ghent University identifies the obstacles that impede the implementation of its research policy plan and undertakes appropriate action as and when required

Principles of evaluation

Ghent University encourages its researchers to develop their full potential and to aim high. Early-stage researchers receive support and guidance from their supervisor, their colleagues and their P.I. but also established researchers are provided with academic development opportunities and with practical tools to promote a quality culture within their research environment.

At regular instances Ghent University monitors whether the expected levels of ambition are met. Publications and publication impact, as measured through bibliometric tools, play an important role in this, but peer review methods are equally important. Research evaluations, however, also serve other purposes than quality control. In order to promote appropriate evaluation methodologies for a wide range of evaluation purposes Ghent University has developed its own principles for the evaluation of research.

Open Science

Ghent University is committed to supporting Open Science and strives for policy, infrastructure, and guidance fostering the Open Science attitude of its research community.

Read more about how Open Science is embedded at Ghent University.

Human capital: HR Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)

HR Excellence in Research

As a caring and engaged employer Ghent University promotes a talent-driven HR policy. Specific challenges in this are the improvement of the quality of the scientific career and the provision of new career opportunities.

Ghent University is a signatory of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. This endorsement is further strengthened by an integrated HR Strategy (HRS4R) which stipulates several actions around five main topics:

  1. Recruitment and assessment
  2. Career perspectives
  3. Employment conditions and social security
  4. Training and development
  5. Ethical and professional aspects

In 2014 the European Commission awarded Ghent University the HR Excellence in Research label.

Support of doctoral researchers

Five Doctoral Schools are important partners in the support of doctoral researchers at Ghent University. They offer an extensive array of training courses. their three-fold mission is:

  • to increase the international and social value of the doctorate (both for the academic and non-academic labour market)
  • to enhance the support of doctoral researchers during their research process
  • to strengthen the quality culture in (doctoral) research

Ghent University’s Quality framework for doctoral education ensures quality assurance from the entry point to the completion of the doctoral process. It is a guiding tool composed of 10 building blocks that remain the framework for further plans, actions, evaluations and improvements of the doctoral process.

Support of postdocs

Postdoc community logo

The Postdoc Talent Management focuses on the career perspectives of postdoctoral researchers. Ghent University creates awareness with postdoc researchers of all fields of science about their career and offers a wide array of tailor-made professional development activities. 

Ghent University not just looks towards an easy transition from postdoc to professor but also invests in creating pathways to non-academic careers.

The Ghent University Postdoc Community provides the interfaculty network for all postdoc researchers.

Publication policy

Logo Open Access Belgium

Ghent University encourages its researchers to publish their scientific results through high-quality media. The immediate deposit mandate obliges researchers to register all their publications in the institutional Academic Bibliography, preferably as open access publications. Researchers at Ghent University are expected to create an ORCID-iD and connect it to Ghent University as their main affiliation.

More on scholarly communication

Integrity and ethics in research

Strong scientific results are a consequence of a quality-driven process. Many stakeholders depend on science for objective evidence and nuanced interpretations. Also, scientific research expects ethical behaviour in all circumstances.

Ghent University has developed several devices (both policy and targeted activities) to stimulate integrity and ethics in research:

Ghent University expects its researchers to adopt an ethically correct attitude:  they should not avoid questions about the progress of knowledge or technology, should adopt a critical stance towards their own research, and respect (international) legislation and policy.

  • International legislation regarding the Nagoya Protocol (NP) and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Regulations which provide a transparant legal framework for fair use and sharing of the benefits resulting from the use of genetic material
  • Ghent University does not participate in the development of technology that is exclusively aimed at military combat operations. Nor are third parties active on the premises of Ghent University allowed to develop such technology. However, knowledge or technology that may be of interest for both civil and military applications (dual use) is developed at Ghent University, on certain conditions. For example, there is no cooperation with particular weapon manufacturers and military companies, and much depends on the objectives of the research.

A number of ethical commissions within and without Ghent University watch over the ethical, responsible, sustainable, and efficient nature of research.

Value creation: research with impact

High quality research does not merely have a scientific/academic impact. Knowledge which is developed at the university must also find its way into society at large. Through value creation of research, be it financially, economically, socially or culturally, academic knowledge provides an added value to society.

European research and innovation policy

The European Research Area focuses on six policy action lines: national research systems, joint programming, Open Labour Market, gender, Open Science and international collaboration. Ghent University tracks developments in all these areas. For some we take an active part in advising the European Commission and shaping European policy by participating in working groups.

Besides being part of working groups, Ghent University also leaves its mark on European research and innovation policy by partnering with policy staff of the European Commission and of the Permanent Representation of Belgium towards the European Union, and with MEPs. If relevant Ghent University also drafts position papers.

Recent position papers of (or with major contribution of) Ghent University: