Recommendations by the International Advisory Board to the leadership of the SAS
The SAS leadership has lead with dynamism the modernization of its institutes according to the recommendations of the Regular Evaluation 2012-2015 carried out in 2017. Virtually all aspects of the Recommendations have been embraced by SAS and its institutes. The progress, evidenced for example by increase of quality and impact of research and synergistic interaction between SAS and Slovakian universities, has developed rapidly. Many renovations have been implemented swiftly, whereas others take more time.
At the same time, the research and innovation system of Slovakia is taking steps forward, exemplified by novel legislation, competitive research funding instruments, monitoring methods of research quality and plans to transform SAS to a public research institution.
The International Advisory Board IAB has commented since 2018 each of the major renewal activities of SAS and issued further recommendations on the basis of the reports delivered to us by SAS leadership in the annual IAB meetings. Therefore, after its last meeting on 1 June 2021, the IAB feels there is no need to come back to those recommendations.
However, the IAB wishes to comment the set of quality assessments the Ministry is assembling for regular use. It consists of 1) the Regular Assessment that SAS organizes by itself every 5th year;
2) an annual assessment of the SAS Institutes’ progress consisting of peer review and data, which SAS organizes itself;
3) assessment of both of universities and SAS to be organized by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, which is still in the planning phase in the Ministry.
The IAB recommends that future Regular Assessments of SAS continue to be carried out by international high-profile panellists, who in addition to their scientific expertise are experienced in science management and policy, and are committed to support widening participation of Central and Eastern countries in the European Research and Innovation Area. Concerning the planned assessment of universities and SAS, we recommend that the assessment be a combined evaluation, carried out by the same international review teams.
The IAB highlights once more that the Regular Evaluations of SAS, instead of being ranking- and score-oriented, should serve strategic and developmental goals. The institutes’ self-evaluations and strategic plans should serve as tools for involvement of staff in institutional strategy development, and as core documents for the work of the evaluators.
The IAB recommends that SAS takes full advantage of the results of the annual assessments of the progress of its institutes for monitoring purposes and identification of points of development.
Finally, as a reiteration of the ambition we have been underlining since the last Regular Evaluation, the IAB recommends SAS to strike a sound balance between developing the academy as a key and high-quality national asset for Slovakia and its citizens, and enhancing its visibility and contributions to the European learning, research and innovation community.
It remains for the IAB to thank the SAS leadership and Maria Omastova for the impact-full and pleasant collaboration, which we trust has served SAS and the Slovak R&I system.
Foto: Martin Bystriansky