An independent committee comprising leading national and international scientists has rated, very highly, the scientific quality and social relevance of the research conducted by NIVEL, together with the viability of the organisation as a whole. Executive Director of NIVEL prof. Cordula Wagner, PhD said: “We are very proud of this result. However, in addition to its words of praise, the committee also made recommendations to improve our research further, for example to develop new products and services to disseminate research results to our stakeholders. We will take up these recommendations in the coming period.”
The incentive of being socially relevant
The committee is very positive in its assessment report about the interviews conducted with the different ranks within our organisation. It states: “The open and constructive attitude that we encountered appears characteristic of the NIVEL scientific community as a whole, which strengthens our conviction that NIVEL will benefit from our recommendations.”
The enthusiasm of the interviewees led the committee to conclude that: “Social relevance was a strong incentive for every researcher the committee interviewed, especially the younger researchers, for some of whom the social relevance of the research was a reason to do their PhD at NIVEL instead of at a university.”
Strong quality assurance characterised by internal review
NIVEL has developed a strong tradition of quality assurance of its research results and is ISO-9001 certified. A unique aspect of this are the internal peer review meetings. Of these the committee said: “The twice-weekly peer review meetings where every publication and grant proposal is discussed are unique and constitute a good example for other institutes. This undoubtedly contributes to the scientific quality of NIVEL’s reports and articles. In addition, it is stimulating and helpful to the younger researchers in the institute who learn from the input of their senior colleagues and thus gain a good insight into its current projects”. The committee was therefore: “impressed by both the quantity and the quality of the research conducted by NIVEL.”
How large research infrastructure links scientific quality with social relevance
NIVEL has a large research infrastructure consisting of databases, monitors, and panels. The committee acknowledges that an important asset of NIVEL is the knowledge and expertise which can be accessed through the use of this infrastructure both for research, and for supporting other researchers and policymakers. “This infrastructure, and the research support units, provide a valuable asset for conducting high-level scientific research and for responding quickly when scientific evidence is needed to make policy decisions.” This is how NIVEL provides a strong link between scientific quality and social impact.
Assessment by Dutch Standard Evaluation Protocol
In much the same way as with universities, NIVEL invites an external committee, existing of leading national and international scientists, to assess its research every six years. NIVEL follows the Standard Evaluation Protocol for its assessment. This protocol has been drawn up by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in order to assess research groups at universities. The protocol requires the organisation to carry out a self-evaluation and a site visit from an external committee to assess the institute. Central to the assessment of NIVEL was its mission to achieve “high quality research which has a demonstrable impact upon society” and hence brings different perspectives in the healthcare arena together. Furthermore, the committee looked at the PhD programme and the research integrity policy of NIVEL.
Prof. Lex Bouter, PhD (chairman)
prof. Jeroen Geurts, PhD.
prof. Jeremy Grimshaw, MBChB, PhD
prof. Tiina Laatikainen, MD, PhD
Katherine Murphy, RN
prof. Dirk Ruwaard, MD, PhD