University of Oulu

Research Assessment Exercise 2020 report : international evaluation of research at the University of Oulu

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Author: Ryyppö, Aija1; Tikkanen, Pertti1; Taskinen, Pirjo1 (eds.)
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Unit for Strategy and Science Policy
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 7.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulun yliopisto, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-11-02

Foreword — Greetings from the Vice Rector

It is a great pleasure to welcome the completion of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2020 of the University of Oulu (UOULU). An overview of the research activities at the level of the entire university is a highly important endeavour pursued at regular intervals. A structural change took place at our university in 2016 when 57 research units (RUs) were formed, 54 of these within the eight faculties and one in each of the three regional units of the university. Hence, this report provides an assessment of the research activities as well as the functionalities of these new unit structures. Importantly, the units’ own critical self-evaluation as well as their plans for the coming years combined with external feedback by three evaluation panels can be expected to help the research units in their plans for the future.

In its 2020–2030 strategy UOULU seeks to make significant contributions to solve global challenges in five focus areas: Digitalization and smart society; Understanding humans in change; Changing climate and northern environment; Sustainable materials and systems; and Lifelong health. In defining the focus areas, UOULU considered its overall RAE in 2013–2014, designed to identify world-class research as well as new openings, and various further analysis of its strengths and societal impact. Moreover, as part of a national profiling programme organized by the Academy of Finland, UOULU has identified during 2016–2020 nine profiling areas as spearhead themes that stem from the focus areas. It is foreseeable that the present RAE2020 report will similarly provide valuable input to re-evaluation and updating of UOULU’s strategy in the coming years.

The international external evaluators found that the RUs were well aligned with the UOULU focus areas and profiling themes. In their summary the evaluators also noted that the five defined UOULU focus give the university a unique profile and that these focus areas are directly related to the sustainability and development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Importantly, RAE2020 provides a coherent view for the first time on how our research work within each RU aligns with the global SDGs. UOULU’s strategic vision to target its expertise to build a more sustainable, intelligent and humane world is well justified based on the new data.

I wish to warmly thank all involved in generating the RAE2020 results, including our highly esteemed international external evaluators that worked as three field-specific panels under the guidance of their outstanding chairs, the internal RAE working group and especially the highly dedicated experts in quality issues, Dr. Aija Ryyppö and her colleagues, as well as our library’s bibliometric team and especially Mr. Jani Sassali. It is important to also acknowledge the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CTWS) from Leiden University for their knowledgeable analysis of publication data. Strong support for the RAE2020 process was also provided by Rector Jouko Niinimäki, the Management Group of Research and the Research Council. Most importantly, I wish to thank all our personnel at the 57 RUs for their dedication and perseverance throughout the assessment process, despite it being markedly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is their hard work that makes UOULU “tick” and provides the excellent results that are outlined in the RAE2020 report by the external evaluators.

Taina Pihlajaniemi, Vice Rector (research) 2.11.2021

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ISBN: 978-952-62-3112-9
Type of Publication: D4 Published development or research report or study
Copyright information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.