Research Strategy and Assessment in Germany

5th December 2016.  
Stefan Hornbostel, Deutsches Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung (DZHW) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 

Venue and time: College lecture theatre, 5.00 pm. The poster of the seminar can be downloaded here. The seminar will be streamed at:

Over the last two and half centuries research has transformed from the endeavour of a few and wealthy gentlemen to a resource intensive and institutionalised enterprise, largely sustained by tax payer money. This seminar series contrasts different procedures of research assessment in use in several European countries in the search for new or improved methodology. Starting from the mid 1980s, however, several countries have began questioning the return from investment in research and devised procedures for research assessment in the name of accountability. Thirty years on there is broad agreement that research funded by the public ought to be assessed, but little consensus about the methodology to be employed. This seminar series contrasts different procedures of research assessment in use in several European countries in the search for new or improved methodology.

The Federal Republic of Germany does not dispose of a single nationwide and uniform system of research assessment procedures, but, according to the variety of its federal states, of a multitude of practices. The German situation therefore differs profoundly from that in other European states, such as the United Kingdom with its Research Excellence Framework (REF). In his talk, Stefan Hornbostel will give an overview of the most relevant procedures in existence in Germany and analyze their embedment in the research system. He will thus shed light on the structure and the financing of the German research system which is characterized by its specific binary organization into research at higher education institutions and research at non-universitarian research institutes. By means of bibliometric analysis he will look at the effects of national funding programs such as the German Excellence Initiative on the research system and place his findings in an international context.

Biographical sketch
Stefan Hornbostel was born in 1955 in Hannover, Germany. He graduated in Social Sciences in 1982 and received his PhD. from Freie Universität Berlin in 1995. He started his career at the Research Centre for Occupational and Higher Education Research, now called International Centre for Research on Higher Education  (INCHER). He worked at the Universities of Cologne and Jena and at the latter he assisted in starting the Department of Sociology. He was a scientific referee at the Centre of Higher Education Development (CHE) before he was appointed to a professorship at the Institute for Sociology at the University of Dortmund. Since 2005, he is a Full Professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. From 2005 to 2015 he served as Director of the Institute for Research Information and Quality Assurance (iFQ) which provided information and analyses of developments and transformations in the German and international science system.  He is currently Director of the area on Research Systems and Science Dynamics at the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW). His broad research interests comprise bibliometrics, evaluation and assessment practices, sociology of elites and science studies.  Stefan Hornbostel has been responsible for several significant studies, among them the Competence Centre for Bibliometrics, funded since 2008 by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Research Core Dataset. He was – amongst others - member of the advisory boards of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation, of the Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS), of the Foundation board of evalag (Accreditation Agency), different sections of the German Council of Science and Humanities.

Image: German physicist Albert Einstein, arguably the most influential scientist of the 20th century.


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