Annex A. Assessment framework

The table below summarises how the characteristics of successful systems relate to the six aspects of the system.

Table A.1. Characteristics of effective tertiary education, research and innovation systems

Does the system offer sufficient opportunities and incentives for engagement and co-operation?

Are there clear objectives and stable and predictable rules and policy frameworks at relevant levels of the system?

Is the system internationally open and attractive?

Is there a sufficient and predictable flow of resources and appropriate incentives for good performance and accountability?

Does the system allow enough differentiation, adaptiveness and flexibility?

1. Strategy, structures and funding at the level of the ‘system’

Strategy and allocation of strategic resources at national level take into account the views and input of – and are broadly accepted by – a full range of relevant actors in the HERI system. There is adequate horizontal and vertical co-ordination between different policy-making, regulatory and funding bodies.

A strategy is established to guide the direction and objectives of the different actors in the HERI system, with a medium to long-term time horizon. The strategy identifies clear priorities and indicative allocation of resources to achieve objectives, permitting individuals and institutions to act with confidence and efficiency in planning their own activities (including hiring staff etc.).

Strategy and strategic allocation of resources take full account of the global context and opportunities for international co-operation. Promoting international openness and attractiveness is as a core priority.

Adequate financial resources are made available for strategic investment to support achievement of overall goals and priorities in system-level strategy.

Analytical and support resources are in place to develop accurate and effective strategy and targeting of resources.

Strategy and resource allocation arrangements are neither over-prescriptive, nor set in stone. Actors at different levels of the system (funding agencies, HEIs) have flexibility and autonomy to take risks, be creative and adapt their activities to their specific needs and evolving circumstances, while keeping in line with the broad national strategic orientations; strategy and resource allocation are periodically reviewed to ensure continued relevance

2. Missions, profiles and use of resources in tertiary education and research institutions

A full range of relevant actors are involved in developing and agreeing missions, profiles and prioritisation of resource use for tertiary education and research institutions. In setting profiles, institutional leadership takes into account views of policy-makers, funders, staff, students and partners in the wider economy.

Higher education and research institutions have clear and missions and profiles that guide their activities and are tailored to the needs of the specific populations and regions they work in and serve. Relevant legislative, regulatory and funding instruments at system level support clarity of missions and effective development and achievement of strategies

Institutional profiles and internal allocation and use of resources support international openness and attractiveness (e.g. attracting international staff and students).

Institutions of different types receive adequate resources to allow them to fulfil their missions, are rewarded for good performance in a transparent way and are held accountable for their use of public resources. Institutions have adequate management capacity and professional staff to achieve goals.

Strategies and funding arrangements at institutional level leave staff adequate autonomy and flexibility to pursue activities in creative and innovative ways.

Institutional profiles are periodically reviewed to ensure continued relevance.

3. Undergraduate and Master’s level education

Businesses and public services collaborate with HEIs in the design and delivery of programmes. Programmes are focused on student learning outcomes and involve adequate student-teacher interaction.

The course offering and the qualifications they deliver are transparent and easily understood by students and employers.

HEIs have international faculty, international co-operation and exchange in teaching (including credit mobility for students) and international students (in-coming degree mobile).

Adequate funding is provided for teaching activities; adequate training and incentives for good teaching are in place. There are adequate incentives and resources for student support (pastoral and financial)

An adequate range of course types and flexible modes of delivery are in place to serve students from different background and population groups.

The course offering is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains relevant to student learning needs

4. Doctoral training

Businesses and public services collaborate with HEIs and funding bodies in delivering and funding PhD training and in determining priorities for PhD funding.

There are clear priorities against which PhD funding is allocated and the mechanisms for allocation of funding are clear and predictable for candidates, institutions and employers.

There are a significant numbers of international doctoral candidates in the system, alongside international faculty (supervisors) and co-operation agreements.

The level funding awards and support for doctoral programmes is adequate, the overall volume of funding is predictable and meets national needs and adequate incentive are in place to ensure relevance and good performance.

Funding mechanisms and doctoral training approaches reflect the need for a full range of PhD types, including practice-based research. The funding system and doctoral training provision are able to adapt to changing and specific skills needs.

5. Academic careers

Academic staff are closely involved in the development and achievement of the objectives of their institutions and research centres. They are encouraged and supported to develop innovative work that contributes to institutional and system-level objectives.

Regulations (national and institutional) and planning governing staffing are clear, relevant to the needs of the system and predictable for hiring managers, staff and potential recruits. Career structures, promotion rules and recruitment policies create clear pathways for career progression.

Significant numbers of international academic staff work in the national system, alongside nationals with international experience. International exchanges (e.g. sabbaticals) are promoted and commonplace.

Remuneration levels are adequate to ensure academic careers are attractive for talented individuals, including from abroad and the overall level of funding ensures adequate staffing levels. Remuneration and promotion is based on performance, ensuring staff are both incentivised and accountable for good performance.

Institutions and research centres are able to manage their human resources policy in a differentiated and flexible way, to respond to specific needs and changing circumstances.

6. High-skilled employment, co-operation with higher education institutions and innovation in the business sector

Opportunities and incentives are in place for co-operation and exchanges between ‘academic’ institutions and staff and individuals and organisations in the private economy and public services.

Strategy and dedicated funding instruments to support high-skill employment and innovation in the private economy and public services are clear, with changes organised to ensure transparency and predictability.

Strategy and policy and funding instruments to support innovation support the goals of international openness and attractiveness, including through attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and international staff.

Public and private resources allocated to innovation-related activities and support institutions are adequate to needs. Public funding mechanisms for innovation are designed to incentivise effective private investment in research and innovation activities and provide sufficient accountability for use of public funds.

Public policy and funding instruments to promote innovation are designed to accommodate the needs of different types of business / organisation / institution and respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances.

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