Recognition and Rewards

Last edit: 5 Apr 2024

Today's societal challenges call for more collaboration, team science and a multidisciplinary approach by scientists. Putting joint ambitions into practice in Dutch academia requires a more specified Recognising and Rewarding of talent and career paths. With this, the UNL calls for modernisation of the assessment system for talent as a prerequisite and started the national programme Recognition and Rewards; Room for everybody's talent. UT takes it broader and sees it as a part of the Talent Development program, where principles of Recognition and Rewards have to be applied throughout the workflow, starting from recruitment and selection, towards exit practices. The modernisation of Talent Development under principles of Recognition and Rewards is about more focus on impact-driven work in academia, with predominance of the qualitative assessment over quantitative. Ultimately, this is followed by improving the quality of each of the core areas: education, research, impact, leadership and (for university medical centers) patient care. 

Recognition and rewards: room for everybody’s talent

In the national programme Recognition & Rewards UNL works with all universities, including UT, university medical centres, reputable research institutes and research funders on:

  • diversifying and vitalising career paths,
  • achieving balance between individuals and teams performance,
  • stimulating open science
  • stimulating academic leadership,
  • focusing on quality, creativity and content instead of quantity

To find out how each university is progressing in these areas, an annual survey called the Cultuur Barometer will be conducted in January 2024.

New Recogniotion & Rewards e-magazine online!

The new Recognition & Rewards e-magazine is entitled Embrace the impact. The magazine is full of interviews, blogs, articles and good practices relating to developments around our joint Recognition & Rewards programme at the various universities including a best practice from UT about Talent Talks!

10 UT principles

As UT we go one step further in committing ourselves in rewarding not only academic staff but also supporting staff. In this we even are a leading example for other universities. The RRteam supports the University of Twente by organising Talkshows, develop concrete tooling and embedding the guiding principles in policies.  . 

Recognition and Rewards in international context

On May 16, 2023, the DORA (The San Francisco Declaration On Research Assessment) agreement celebrated its 10th anniversary. The DORA agreement, the "Recognition and Rewards" program, and CoARA (Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment) all pertain to changes in the assessment of academic research and/or education. The summarised relationship between these three initiatives is outlined below. DORA is recognised as the global starting initiative, "Recognition and Rewards" as the Dutch initiative, and CoARA as the European initiative. For further information and background, please refer to the respective websites:

  • DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment):
    • DORA is an international initiative aimed at improving the evaluation of research and shifting the focus from quantitative indicators such as impact factors to a more holistic assessment of research output.
    • DORA emphasises the need to assess research based on quality, impact, and relevance, rather than relying solely on journal impact factors or citation counts.
    • It advocates for broader recognition of various contributions to research, including data management, open science initiatives, and collaboration.
    • Position paper: the DORA Agreement.
  • Recognition and Rewards Program
    • The "Recognition and Rewards" program within a university context reflects the broader principles of DORA by emphasising a more comprehensive and holistic assessment of academic contributions.
    • The program seeks recognition of the diversity of contributions to research, teaching, and service, aiming to promote fair and balanced appreciation of these contributions.
    • Elements of openness and transparency, such as clear communication about the assessment and recognition process and support for open science practices, may also be part of this program.
    • In other European countries, similar initiatives exist with different names.
    • Position paper: room for everyone’s talent
  • CoARA (Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment)
    • CoARA builds on the principles of DORA and emphasises the importance of openness and accountability in the research assessment process.
    • The commitment focuses on making evaluation criteria and processes transparent, as well as minimising perverse incentives that may arise from assessments based solely on quantitative indicators.
    • CoARA encourages institutions to be accountable for their practices related to research assessment and to support open science practices.
    • Position paper:  the CoARA greement.

In summary, DORA, the Recognition and Rewards program, and CoARA collectively create a framework reflecting the shift in the assessment of academic work, emphasizing quality, openness, transparency, and broader recognition of contributions to research and the academic community. They share common values and objectives to promote a more inclusive and equitable evaluation culture.

What can you do to boost your talents? 

As the ultimate people-first university of technology, we invest in your talents and of that of your team members. Our aim and approach is to attract, develop and empower everyone’s talent by creating an inspiring, stimulating and inclusive environment. Together with you, we want to make our science and education better, our services healthier, our careers and opportunities boundaryless,. We value having a dialogue with each other, inspiring each other and sharing experiences and successes.But we also work in interdisciplinary groups to combine efforts and create the necessary tools or guide the process to make sure we can make an impact on how someone is recognised and reward. Here are some tools that you can use to set your own career path. 

  • Talent Development map

    The TDM is a first practical guide to assessing talents on impact based indicators, founded on the principles of recognition and Rewards. It integrates UFO profiles, Twente Manifesto, the model of Graham and ideas of COARA and DORA agreements.

  • Impact Narrative

    Rewarding and Recognising Teaching is high on the agenda both nationally and within the University of Twente. Recently, people from various sections of the UT have actively contributed ideas in working groups for the practical implementation of rewarding and recognising education as part of career development. This group initiated the experiment to use an ‘Impact Narrative’ for promotions in education. The purpose of the Impact Narrative experiment is to provide more practical tools for rewarding and recognising education.

    Impact Narrative is a description of your impact on education at several levels (from student-level to university-level) using the University of Twente Teaching Framework. In the Impact Narrative, the candidate describes his or her plans for future impact in education related to the promotion criteria, with the objective of being promoted in a timeframe of 2-3 years. The Impact Narrative can be the basis for a constructive discussion between the candidate and the evaluation committee about this impact, complementary to the (regular) quantitative measures of educational output.

  • Teaching Culture Survey

    The Teaching Cultures Survey is a global survey, looking to understand how the status of teaching and learning is viewed by the academic community. Three cross-section surveys are being undertaken in all (2019, 2022, 2024). The survey is undertaken as a collaboration between the participating institutions and Advancing Teaching, a global initiative focused on improving the reward of university teaching. The results of this survey gives us important information about our own teaching culture at the UT and can help us create a balance between research and teaching that does justice to all talents and efforts.

    UT Teaching Culture Survey results

RR Events  

  • Science Communication: Rewarded! 25 January 2024

    On 25 January 2024 we welcomed about 30 scienitsts at the national interactive theatre performance SCIENCE COMMUNICATION: REWARDED! in the Vrijhof. Together with the actors, they came up with real-life dilemmas and solutions to make science communication a full and recognised part of their daily work.

    Former U-Today columnist Femke Nijboer was asked to attend the interactive performance and write about it. Femke went there with gloomy thoughts, but came out with a sense of hope: ‘Science is a circus. Our circus. Let’s open the doors’. 



    ‘Science is just an opinion.’
    ‘Scientists say it’s not certain so it’s not true.’
    ‘Scientists are humorless people; they don’t know how to make fun.’
    ‘Scientists say things that everybody already knows, in a language that no one understands.’
    ‘Scientists have a hidden agenda.’
    ‘Scientists live in an ivory tower.’

    In recent years I’ve heard such statements more often in society. I’ve read them in the newspaper, heard them when I saw protests on television, and also heard them right in my face at a birthday party.

    Let’s admit it: science has a bit of an image problem. And not only is it an image problem. It’s worse than that. Society is actually right about some of these things. Scientists can communicate more clearly; science should be more open and – please oh yes please  – scientists should crack more jokes.

    Society is not right about the ivory tower though…. Science to me feels more like a circus! It is a feast of wonder. All kinds of curiosities, rarities and novelties can be seen. All kinds of circus artists create the show. An introvert biologist who can tell you everything about slugs. A jumpy PhD student who will tell you all about her work on cybersecurity. A researcher from the Design Lab who uses Nemo science museum to start a citizen science project. All of these artists together make the show. 

    The University of Twente and organizations like KNAW and NWO know this and want to make the feast more accessible. In recent years, science communication is becoming more important. You need to include a plan for it in your research proposals, you need to do it as a university, you need to show it as a job applicant.

    However, while better communication is greatly appreciated outside the university, communication and public engagement are not always valued within the university.

    The recognition and rewards program of the University of Twente decided to do something about this. They invited a theater maker, Frank Kupper to give an interactive theater workshop on how we can better integrate science communication in our work as scientists. It took place last week and I was invited to do the intro and write a column about what I saw.

    Frank as his crew of actors led us, roughly 30 UT colleagues, through different scenarios and dilemma’s. How to deal with colleagues who think less of you when you engage in non-serious communication, such as going to the Zwarte Cross? How to deal with a department chair who sends flowers when you publish a paper, but not when you write a blog for an online newsletter of a patient organization?

    To be honest, I was pessimistic when the workshop started. Making a career as a scientist feels like having to jump through a lot of hoops. However, we are not all tigers in the circus. Certainly, I am not a tiger. I feel more like a joker or wait – yes - an acrobat who is doing the splits. During the day I do the things that are in the UFO profile (education, research) and at night I do public engagement. With your legs spread - pardon the obscene image that I might instill in your mind- you can’t jump through hoops at all. The circus director shakes his head. I feel like an idiot.

    But by the time the theater workshop ended, I was optimistic. The actors played scenes in which we made it possible. We laughed a lot and were sometimes also deeply moved by sketches. I saw how my UT colleagues in the audience gave very helpful suggestions to the actors. This then changed the ending of the scene. Right in front of us, we saw and rehearsed how we could shape the culture at the university. It left me with hope and renewed love for science. Science a circus. Our circus. Let’s open the doors. 

    Femke Nijboer

  • Talkshow 12 September 2023

    On Tuesday 12 September about 80 UT'ers came to Langezijds to speak about Recognition & rewards. Have a look at the aftermovie to get a feel of the afternoon. And make a note in your agenda. The third talk show will take place on June 19.

  • Talkshow 31 May 2022

    In the first Talk show on Recognition and Rewards (see the aftermovie) students and UT staff were invited to discuss the desired situation and the concrete actions that are needed to bring Recogniotion and Rewards from paper to practice. The event had the form of a 'talk-show'. Led by Roderick van Grieken (the Netherlands Debate Institute), the following propositions were presented:

    1) Assessments should only be done on a team level
    2) The recognition and rewarding method will guarantee a top 10 position for UT by 2030
    3) 20% of free space should be included in all curricula at UT 
    4) Rules and regulations are the biggest obstacles in implementing recognition and rewards
    5) Leadership development is primarily a responsibility of the individual, not the university

    The three bold statements were chosen for in-depth discussion.

    Subsequently, one group was challenged to defend that proposition, another group – argued against it, while the third group was challenged to extract from the discussion the advice for concrete practices at UT. We heard different voices. Roles were rotated, so everyone got a role mentioned above.

    Important takeaways were: Recognition and Rewards is alive, there is space for different opinions, and there is work to be done on how to proceed further. Based on the three chosen statements, it could be concluded that the themes to which the University of Twente should prioritise are known. The most important takeaway is that open discussion contributes to the further development of Recognition and Rewards. That may be stating the obvious, but the absence of a 'contrary voice' would be worrying. The call to repeat the event has been heard. 

Aftermovie second Talk show Recognition and rewards 12 September 2023


Do you want to know more about Recognition and Rewards or talent development in general at UT? Please contact your HR contact. 
Do you have any suggestions for the RRteam? Please contact Jeroen Jansen:

J.P.M. Jansen (Jeroen)
J.P.M. Jansen (Jeroen)
Supporting Staff

Or do you have any improvements or ideas on the broader subject of Talent? Please, contact Annemiek Baars:

drs. A.M. Baars (Annemiek)
drs. A.M. Baars (Annemiek)
HR policy manager

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