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Evaluation of humanities research in Norway

The Research Council have conducted an evaluation of the entire field of the humanities. Research and teaching activities are viewed in an overall context, and special focus is placed on the societal impact of the research carried out.

The evaluation of humanities research in Norway started in autumn 2015 and is  concluded in 2017. The evaluation was conducted by international experts with extensive knowledge in the relevant subject fields.

You can download the evaluation reports here.

The presentation from the public launch PPTX - 94 KB on June 23 by principal chair Professor Shearer West.

The Research Council has evaluated all humanities research groups of a suitable size in universities, university colleges and research institutes.

According to national statistics, there are 3 100 persons employed in academic positions in the humanities in Norway. Together they comprise 1 300 R&D full-time equivalents (FTE). Norway invests roughly NOK 1.8 billion in humanities research annually.

Objective of subject-specific evaluations

The aim of the subject-specific evaluations is to provide a critical review of the Norwegian research system in an international perspective, as well as to provide specific recommendations on measures to encourage increased quality and efficiency of research.

These recommendations are intended to serve as a tool for the institutions themselves in their own strategic development efforts, for the Research Council in developing funding instruments and for the public authorities in developing policy.

Another aim of this evaluation is to identify areas in which Norway can play an internationally leading role. The participating institutions will be asked to specify research groups that are, or have the potential to be, at the international forefront.

Interplay between research and teaching activities

Research in the humanities is an important basis for providing high-quality education to the 27 000 students studying at the faculties of the humanities in Norway. The evaluation is the first of its kind to investigate the interplay between research and teaching activities at higher education institutions.

Societal impact

Humanities research plays a key role in many areas of society outside academia. Therefore, the Research Council has used this evaluation to test out new methods of documenting and assessing the societal impact of humanities research.

The evaluation of Norwegian research is one of the Research Council’s statutory tasks. Although several individual subject fields within the humanities (linguistics, Nordic language and literature, history and philosophy) have been evaluated in the 2000s, the last comprehensive evaluation of the entire discipline was carried out 30 years ago by the Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities.

When designing and planning the evaluation, the Research Council consulted extensively with the national faculty meetings for the humanities under the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR).

Follow-up plan

The work on the Follow-up plan starts this autumn. There will be a meeting September 20.

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