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Reforming research assessment: The Agreement is now open for signature

picture of Mariya Gabriel (Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth) and Anna Panagopoulou (Director of European Research Area & Innovation in the European Commission) in front of the logos of the 51 early signatories

The final version of the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, co-created with over 350+ organisations from 40 countries and published on 20 July this year, was presented and officially opened for signature on 28 September, during a plenary session of the European Research and Innovation Days 2022.

During this session, speakers including Mariya Gabriel (Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth), Sylvie Retailleau (French Minister for Higher Education and Research), Lidia Borrell-Damián (Secretary General of Science Europe), Paul Boyle (Vice-President of the European University Association – EUA), and Anna Panagopoulou (Director of European Research Area & Innovation in the European Commission) described the Agreement as a catalyzer of change for a better and brighter R&I system in Europe and beyond and called on the scientific community at large to support this transformative initiative. Since the publication of the Agreement, and even before the official opening of signatures, 51 organisations from across Europe had already declared their commitment to sign the Agreement, and they were announced as “early signatories” of the Agreement.

The session also saw the unveiling of, the new website of the future Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA). This site will serve as the main source of information on the Agreement and Coalition, and allow signatures to be collected.

logos of the 51 Early signatories

Next steps

Signatories of the Agreement and future members of the Coalition from across the world will include[1]:

  • Universities, and their associations;
  • Research centres, research infrastructures, and their associations;
  • Academies, learned societies, and their associations, and associations of researchers;
  • Public or private research funding organisations, and their associations;
  • National/regional authorities or agencies that implement some form of research assessment, and their associations; and
  • Other relevant non-for-profit organisations involved with research assessment, and their associations.

Representatives from the European University Association (EUA), Science Europe and the European Commission are now drafting the documents that describe the modalities of governance, operation and funding of the future Coalition, with the advice from an Implementation Group made of representatives from 10 organisations from across Europe:

  • Marta Agostinho, Alliance of research institutes advocating for excellent research in Europe (EU-LIFE);
  • Stephen Curry, Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA);
  • Silvia Gómez Recio, Young European Research Universities (YERUN);
  • Hilary Hanahoe, Research Data Alliance (RDA);
  • Kim Huijpen, Universities of The Netherlands;
  • Lola Karner, Universities Austria (UNIKO);
  • Matthias Kiesselbach, German Research Foundation (DFG);
  • Benjamin Martinez Sanchis, Coimbra Group;
  • Karen Stroobants, Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA);
  • Saša Zelenika, University of Rijeka.

These draft documents will be presented and discussed with all interested stakeholder organisations at a new Stakeholder Assembly meeting mid-October 2022. Their adoption is expected during the first meeting of the General Assembly of members of the Coalition, the “Constitutive Assembly”, followed by elections for the main governing positions, and the launch of the activities of the Coalition. The Constitutive Assembly is expected to take place early December 2022.

Concrete piloting of changes to research assessment practices – in research performing organisations, in research funding organisations, in evaluation agencies – would then be rolled out over the coming years, in full respect of the autonomy of individual organisations, constantly seeking to improve practices based on sharing of experience and evidence of what changes are leading to higher quality and impact of research.

[1] To note that organisations meeting the following conditions but without a legal personality will be able to sign the Agreement and join the Coalition.