EARMA Conference Oslo


Quality assessment of RDI at Turku UAS: Research Group evaluation process and the role of RMA in RDI quality


EARMA Conference Oslo

Format: Oral 30 Minutes

Topic: Organising Support Services & Team Building


One of the core tasks of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences is to deploy RDI activities that promote working life and regional development whilst contributing to the reform of the economic structure of the region. R&D activities were added to the statutory tasks of UASs in 2003 and innovation activities in 2015. Given its short history, this has had implications to the quality culture of UAS. Over the past few years, the development of RDI processes at Turku UAS has been strengthened. We present a case study depicting the connection between RDI and the internal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) assessment cycle: reflecting how it is working at Turku UAS for Research Groups’ evaluation and the role of Research Managers and Administrators (RMA).
In Finnish HEIs the assessment of RDI is done as part of an internal self-evaluation cycle and the PDCA concept is widely implemented. The PDCA cycle is applied at Turku UAS and the quality system covers all areas and functions. The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) audits quality management of research activities at Finnish HEIs. While many European HEIs focus primarily on the quality of the output, FINEEC concentrates on the quality systems that monitor and develop the quality of the processes as well as outputs.
Turku UAS’ RDI assessment includes 1) RDI projects’ lifecycle evaluation, 2) Research Groups’ evaluation. In this session we focus on Research Group’s evaluation, a process conducted in two parts: a self-evaluation questionnaire of the Groups via an online questionnaire and an internal activity report compiling information from various sources (financial information; Finnish Research Publication Portal). To enforce the use of collected information, an annual target discussion with the Research Groups has been added to the process.
The role of the RMA in PDCA and Research groups’ evaluation is two-folded. First, providing tools for assessment and offering compiled, visualised monitoring reports for decision making (Check-part of the PDCA). Second, unravelling the need for support in certain themes, knowledge, and issues that Research Groups have shortage and wish to develop (Act-part of PDCA) e.g., knowledge in new funding sources, Open Science, incorporation of Sustainable Development Goals, innovations, and tools for goal-oriented stakeholder networking.
Turku UAS has conducted an evaluation of the Research Groups in the same format for the last four years. During this time, we have learned that there is a discrepancy between set RDI goals and available knowledge and/or human resources The top challenges vary from year to year, but internal and external cooperation and networking is a recurring theme. Establishing and maintaining cooperation is a long-term and complex task which, in most cases, relies on individuals’ personal contacts. Only synergy of operations (education, RDI, business), multidisciplinary cooperation and wider stakeholder networking can be solutions to this matter. It also craves more evolved quality culture and completion of the PDCA cycle
We wish to understand how does your organisation deal with RDI assessment. What kind of practices you have?