Strategy

Revised version approved by RU Executive Committee, February 2015

A. Premises

1. A university will not thrive without powerful research firmly rooted in the international research community.

2. Research revolves around the creation and dissemination of knowledge. The quality of research work is best ensured via peer-review in academic forums. Evaluation of quality must include assessment of the impact of the research work.

3. Research is a creative and pioneering endeavour, controlled by the personal drive and ambition of each researcher.

B. Basic Strategy

1. The goal of RU is to ensure an environment that enables powerful research that strengthens the University's international reputation, infuses its teaching with new ideas, and provides society with new knowledge.

2. The researchers at RU must be active participants in the international research community, and research at RU must meet international requirements and standards. An important indicator of research success is the publication of scientific results in established peer-reviewed outlets.  All researchers at RU should strive to achieve international recognition for their work. In research fields that are particularly domestic in nature, publications in peer-reviewed domestic outlets may well provide evidence of international excellence if they can be compared favourably with similar work in other countries. Another important indicator of research quality is the impact of publications.

3. Reykjavik University is a place of academic freedom. This means that the University's researchers have independence in their choice of research topics and in their interpretation and publication of research results. Furthermore, they have the right to be critical in their opinions, but when speaking on matters of public interest, they are not speaking for the University. [1]

C. Research and Management

  • Research topics at RU are determined, for the most part, by the scientific interests of faculty and research staff, in accordance with their academic freedom.
  • All processes and reference points related to hiring, promotion, allocation of research funds from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and other elements that support research, should aim at enhancing the University's research output. Processes, rules and guidelines at RU must set ambitious standards for hiring and promotions into the positions of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. In evaluating competence and in making promotion decisions, research activity and its merit and impact are very important factors and should always be compared to the requirements of the international research community.
  • Promotions and salaries are important factors for motivating faculty and research staff at RU to exert their best effort and ensure they are compensated in accordance with their achievements. In connection with this, the University's guiding principle of the merit and impact of each researcher's work must be evaluation by the international research community.
  • An annual evaluation of research activities at the University level shall be conducted by an independent panel of international specialists. Results of the evaluation shall be the basis for the allocation of research funds from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.
  • A Research Council (RU Research Council), composed of one representative from each School, and a Chairman appointed by the Rector of the University in consultation with the Deans, shall operate at RU. The responsibility of the RU Research Council is to help build and maintain a strong research-oriented culture at the University through motivation and support, design of processes and the pursuit of funding opportunities. The RU Research Council is supported by RU Research Services. The RU Research Council will formulate the University's research strategy and consult with the Rector, Executive Committee and Deans about implementing the strategy. The RU Research Council 
  • Formulate the research strategy of RU and suggest actions necessary to implement the research strategy
  • Build and maintain a strong research-oriented culture at RU
  • Develop processes and procedures conducive to strengthening academic standing at the individual and  School level
  • Work on increasing RU research funding and develop methods for distributing the funding
  • Act as spokespersons for research inside RU

RU Research Council members should be closely involved with faculty members in their Schools, representing their voices in RU Research Council meetings and reporting to the School faculty the work of the RU Research Council.

D. University Policies and Procedures Relevant to Research

1. To strengthen research at RU the aim of every School should be to have its assistant professor, associate professor and professor positions populated by researchers who have excelled internationally. A doctoral degree shall preferentially be a requirement for all these positions.

2. As a general rule, vacant positions shall be advertised internationally and with enough notice so that qualified individuals are not excluded from applying. The most qualified applicant shall be hired for each vacant position. To contribute to that aim, qualification requirements must be defined for all positions before candidates are invited to apply. Requirements shall be defined so as to increase the possibilities for qualified individuals to apply. 

E. Research Activity - Development and Quality Assurance

1. Schools shall define ambitious research standards in accordance with their respective fields of research. All comparisons must be to the international research community in each field and impact should not only be witnessed by publications and citations, but by derived work, advising of doctoral students/postdoctoral fellows, grants, status (roles as editor, membership on editorial boards, PC member/organizer of conferences, examiner of Ph.D. thesis, etc.) as well. The rules for each School shall be developed in cooperation with the RU Research Council and must comply with RU's general rules. The School policies can, for instance, apply to hiring, promotions, and allocation of grants from private parties. All rules on operations related to research shall be accessible on the University's public web site, including rules issued by each School.

2. Doctoral programs at RU are organized within each School. PhD students play an important role in contributing to research projects and scientific publications. The University also welcomes postdoctoral fellows into its research community.

3. External financing of research at RU is strengthened by continuous efforts to obtain research funds from domestic and foreign sources. The University implements processes and operates research services to achieve the following: (a) prepare RU researchers to actively and effectively participate in grant acquisition efforts; (b) monitor opportunities for obtaining external research funds; and (c) provide all relevant assistance in applying for these funds, developing budgets, and lending other administrative support.

4. Important sources of external funding for research at RU are competitive research funds and the industrial and business communities. The University should constantly look for potential research projects in cooperation with external Icelandic or foreign companies and research institutions as well as applying for research grants to competitive research funds, both national and international.

5. Reykjavik University shall strive to increase the number of articles published in its name in established peer-reviewed outlets and to broaden the participation of the University's faculty and research staff in international collaborations (research projects, conferences, networks, etc.).

6. Reykjavik University encourages internal cooperation between faculty members, both within and between Schools.  Researchers working in the same or in related fields, or having common goals, are encouraged to establish research structures, e.g. groups, centres, and institutes within the University, whenever it helps to serve the goals of the Schools and the University. [2] To encourage interdisciplinary research, the University shall take appropriate steps to implement coordination mechanisms that encourage inter-departmental and inter-School research, e.g. rules and regulations, bookkeeping practices and budgets.

7. Reykjavik University should implement processes and methods to stimulate research through financial incentives for researchers and research structures (groups, centres and institutes), linked to e.g. appropriate measures such as research output and external grant acquisition.

8. Measurable goals are critical for monitoring the outcome of research work. It is important to collect quantitative information on all research activity at RU to be able to present these results to the research community and society at large.  This is done by disseminating research statistics by any suitable means.

9. Reykjavík University aims to increase the international visibility, use and impact of its research results by providing open access through a repository and to make it easier for researchers to make their results public with the help of different support services. [3] RU should emphasize open access to the products of research activities carried out at the University, e.g. publications and data, to the extent allowed by copyright agreements.

10. Intellectual property (IP) rules shall be formed in a way that encourages international publication of scientific knowledge and results, while also encouraging entrepreneurship, by providing appropriate and sufficient ownership to individuals over IP produced in the course of their employment at RU.

11. Reykjavik University is committed to creating a stimulating environment for research.   This is done in several ways: By creating research groups (groups, centres and institutes) in order to enhance cooperation between faculty members working in the same field; by limiting the teaching load of those faculty members with high research output; by allowing faculty members to take sabbatical periods; by offering appropriate facilities for researchers, like working space (laboratories), computational power, financial accounting of research grants, etc.; by offering assistance for developing applications for research funding. Depending on the financial possibilities, which may vary from one year to another, active researchers can receive travel funds to participate in conferences.  Means for stimulating the research environment are expected to evolve as new ideas emerge.       

12. Sabbatical leaves, during which an academic employee is exempt from teaching and/or administrative duties for a certain period of time in order to attend solely to research work, are an integral part of operations at RU. The essence of the sabbatical leave is to provide academic employees with the opportunity to stay current in their disciplines and RU encourages its academic faculty to take advantage of this possibility. RU permits its employees the flexibility to take their sabbatical leave every 7th semester or every 7th year.


[1] For further information on academic freedom, refer to a statement that all university Rectors in Iceland signed in Reykjavik on 15 June 2005 – “Yfirlýsing um forsendur og frelsi háskóla”

[2] Further information on Policy for Establishing Groups, Centre, and Institutes within Reykjavik University.

[3] Further information in Policy on Open Access – Approved by RU Executive Committee on November 13, 2014


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