Research policy and quality enhancement

Research is the driving force of Ghent University. Boundaries are pushed. Researchers make discoveries that have an impact on society at large. Moreover, the research breathes new life into education and establishes the basis for a forward-looking knowledge society.

Looking for a concise overview of the research context at Ghent University? Consult the Framework for Good Research Practice.

Over the course of two hundred years Ghent University has built up a strong scientific reputation. Ghent University invests both in fundamental, high risk science as in applied research. The university is known for its scientific expertise in life sciences and medicine, materials and agricultural science, veterinary medicine, psychology and history, and many more.  This university does not just offer a place to singular research strengths but also encourages multidisciplinary collaboration.

Ghent University has a large diverse research community. Our priority is to make sure that all these people get the necessary opportunities for development and can enjoy a pleasant stimulating work environment.

Thanks to the excellent performance of its entire research community, for the decade Ghent University has been part of the Shanghai Ranking's top 100 - a worldwide ranking primarily based on research indicators.

General research strategy: Research Policy Plan

Ghent University’s ambitions regarding the 2017-2021 Policy Plan can be grouped into six major objectives:

  1. The Special Research funding channel contributes to the quality and impact of research at Ghent University
  2. The organisation and structure of research at Ghent University is workable, efficient and effective
  3. The research policy plan is embedded in Ghent University’s internationalization ambitions
  4. Ghent University’s HR policy backs, stimulates and inspires research
  5. The quality of the research is continuously supported and monitored regularly, taking into account the differentiation between disciplines, the career development of young and more experienced researchers, and the intended impact of the research
  6. Ghent University identifies the obstacles that impede the implementation of its research policy plan and undertakes appropriate action as and when required

Responsible assessment and evaluation

Logo DORAThe core elements of Ghent University’s research policy - what the university stands for as a research institution – are mirrored in the university’s evaluation policy. Ghent University evaluates and values a diversity of research activities, and does so by making use of a combination of instruments and methods in a well-considered way. What and how is evaluated must be determined (be)for(e) each evaluation, taking into account the purpose of that evaluation. The process of evaluation must always be of high quality, whether it is based on bibliometrics, peer review or a combination of both.

In order to strengthen its vision and commitment to assess research in a responsible way, Ghent University signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment in 2020.

The research evaluation policy is based on three pillars:

  1. Ghent University applies eight principles to which every research evaluation has to comply.
  2. In the evaluation of research, quantitative indicators are used in a responsible way and with due caution.
  3. Ghent University values a wide range of research activities. This is reflected in the 'Portfolio of research dimensions' that is offered within the framework of the career and evaluation policy for professorial staff.

Open Science

Ghent University is committed to supporting Open Science and strives for policy, infrastructure, and guidance fostering the Open Science attitude of its research community.

Read more about how Open Science is embedded at Ghent University.

Human capital: HR Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)

HR Excellence in Research

As a caring and engaged employer Ghent University promotes a talent-driven HR policy. Specific challenges in this are the improvement of the quality of the scientific career and the provision of new career opportunities.

Ghent University is a signatory of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. This endorsement is further strengthened by an integrated HR Strategy (HRS4R).

The European Commission awarded Ghent University the HR Excellence in Research label (in 2014, renewed – after positive evaluation – in 2020).

Support of doctoral researchers

Five Doctoral Schools are important partners in the support of doctoral researchers at Ghent University. They offer an extensive array of training courses. their three-fold mission is:

  • to increase the international and social value of the doctorate (both for the academic and non-academic labour market)
  • to enhance the support of doctoral researchers during their research process
  • to strengthen the quality culture in (doctoral) research

Ghent University’s Quality framework for doctoral education ensures quality assurance from the entry point to the completion of the doctoral process. It is a guiding tool composed of 10 building blocks that remain the framework for further plans, actions, evaluations and improvements of the doctoral process.

Support of postdocs

Postdoc community logo

The Postdoc Talent Management focuses on the career perspectives of postdoctoral researchers. Ghent University creates awareness with postdoc researchers of all fields of science about their career and offers a wide array of tailor-made professional development activities. 

Ghent University not just looks towards an easy transition from postdoc to professor but also invests in creating pathways to non-academic careers.

The Ghent University Postdoc Community provides the interfaculty network for all postdoc researchers.

Publication policy

The university requires its (co-)authors to register their scientific publications and deposit them in the Academic Bibliography (Biblio), as well as all related research datasets. Researchers are expected to respect the Open Access policy of Ghent University and (if applicable) of their funding organisation. This means that researchers are requested to deposit a full-text version of their scientific publications in Biblio, and to make this full-text publicly available, sometimes after an embargo period and subject to permission of the copyright holder(s). Before their research results are made public, they have to take all necessary steps to protect the intellectual property rights resulting from the research.

All active researchers of Ghent University should register for ORCID, link to their Ghent University affiliation and include it in their research output whenever possible.

More on scholarly publishing

Integrity and ethics in research

Quality enhancement is pivotal. Research integrity is an important element of this. Ghent University sensitizes its researchers and supports them through:

  • sharing knowledge and expertise on the concept of 'research integrity' and related topics
  • a diverse range of training courses in the different phases of their careers, with attention for their task as trainer/teacher
  • numerous concrete applications such as an elaborated policy on research data management, guidelines for authors and the recognition of contributions to scientific publishing, etc.
  • a support network for the handling of questions and complaints with a Commission for Research Integrity as the central body

More information on research integrity

    Ethics in research is a multi-layered concept which brings together considerations such as the question on the necessity of certain research, the overall attitude of researchers and the way they approach and/or design their research, the standards for behaviour in a certain discipline, the formal compliance with ethical and legal guidelines and procedures (including requesting and obtaining an ethics approval for a specific research project).

    Value creation: real world impact

    High quality research does not merely have a scientific/academic impact. Knowledge which is developed at the university must also find its way into society at large. Through value creation of research, be it financially, economically, socially or culturally, academic knowledge provides an added value to society.

    More information on the policy context for value creation and impact

    European research and innovation policy

    Ghent University follows up on all the developments in the European Research Area (ERA).

    We help the European Commission to shape policy in a number of policy areas by participating in working groups, conferences and public consultations. In addition, by collaborating with officials from the European Commission and the Permanent Representation of Flanders/Belgium to the European Union and members of the European Parliament, Ghent university is an active contributor to the European research and innovation policy