Evaluation of the Danish research council system

02.09.2009
An independent panel of experts has evaluated the development of the Danish research council system following a 2003 reform. The report, which was published August 26th, has been subject to extensive discussion. The evaluation has been carried out in order to answer the question of whether the organization and function of the system lives up to its purpose.
In the report, the expert panel assesses the Danish research council system, with focus on five primary areas: The framework for a strong research council system, internationalisation, terminology and segmentation, safeguarding of quality in research, and the purpose of the reform. The panel states that there is a distinct improvement in the system since the changes in 2003; however there is still room for improvement.

Five independent councils
The Danish research council system is composed by five independent councils. The Director of the Research Council of Norway, Arvid Hallén, is one of six members of the expert panel. – Several aspects of the reform have been successful. Nevertheless, there are still expectations that are not yet fulfilled, Hallén states to www.forskningsradet.no. One main perspective is the continuous fragmentation of the system.

Chairman of the evaluation panel, Søren Isaksen, points out that many of the 33 recommendations in the report deal with the aspiration for an adaptable structure which holds the capacity to seize, handle and further develop the trends. On of the proposed actions is a merger of the Danish Council for Independent Research and the Danish Council for Strategic Research. In the longer term, the panel also outlines a process towards a joint management for all the funding functions of the research council system. Impartiality is another focal point.

Denmark‘s Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Helge Sander, states in a press release from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation that the report is courageous and insightful. He also points out that a number of alterations have already been initiated based on the recommendations of the panel, in particular those concerning safeguarding the trust and transparency in funding.

Resources:
- ”Evaluering av forskningsrådssystemet i Danmark”,
- Press release from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, 26 August 2009.
- ”Danmarks forskningsrådssystem: Enda rom for forbedringer”.
- "The research council system is inflexible and fragmented"

Text: Lisa H. Ekli
Photo: Denmark‘s Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, by Hans Juhl.
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