Frequently Asked Questions on ”Identifying Profile Areas at Lund University”
- Questions relating to the time table
- Questions on the notification of interest to become a profile area at Lund University
- Questions relating to Lund University’s criteria for the profile areas
- Questions relating to evaluation
- General questions relating to profile areas at Lund University
- Questions on quality-based allocation and the proposed model for profile areas
Should we really spend time on identifying profile areas at Lund University given the uncertainty as to whether the new model for resource allocation of research funding based on profile areas will be implemented by the Government? (20.01.2022)
Lund University’s motivation for working on profiling is relevant regardless of whether the new model will be introduced. The evaluation of Lund University’s Research Quality (RQ20) showed that there is still scope for Lund University to use its full potential for interdisciplinary research. Lund University needs to further highlight excellence and develop strategic research environments. Lund University is aware of the current uncertainties of the national implementation of the profile areas and is closely following the development. See also blog post at the blog Identifying Profile Areas at Lund University by Pro-Vice Chancellor Per Mickwitz.
The Swedish Government decided on 13 January 2022 to give the research funding agencies (Swedish Research Council, Forte, Formas and Vinnova) an assignment to further develop the model for quality-based resource allocation for research (in Swedish only). The agencies will report the assignment on 1 June 2022. What does the new assignment mean for the process at Lund University for notifying interest to establish a profile area? (20.01.2022)
At Lund University we are following the work by the Swedish Research Council and the other funders and will actively take part in meetings organized by them and by SUHF. When the University get additional information, we will adjust the process and the time schedule at Lund University based on this. But the information that we have at present does not yet give us any reason to change how we proceed. See also blog post at the blog Identifying Profile Areas at Lund University by Pro-Vice Chancellor Per Mickwitz.
What will the notification of interest to become profile area at Lund University consist of? (12.11.2021)
The notification of interest to become a profile area at Lund University is open to all researchers at Lund University. You can notify your interest by submitting a notification of interest according to the structure found in Appendix I in the management rules. The deadline for notifying interest in becoming a profile area at Lund University is 15 March 2022 at 14:00.
Is the maximum number of pages for the notification of interest, to be submitted by 15 March, including or excluding references? (10.02.2022)
The notification of interest is to be written in English and not to exceed 5 pages (Times New Roman, font size 11). This excludes references. References can be included in an appendix to the notification of interest, not to exceed 1 page.
Does the profile area have to focus on a single research question or can it be a number of related questions? This question refers to section A1.2 in the structure for the notification of interest in the management rules. (10.02.2022)
As is stated in section A1.2 it should be a research issue and/or societal issue that the profile area can gather around. It is up to the researchers to formulate this issue and how this should be addressed.
How should the research teams be defined and listed in the notification of interest (referring to question A2.1 and A3.1 in the structure for the notification of interest according to the management rules)? (11.01.2022)
State the research teams in such a way that is relevant for displaying the strengths of the research teams involved in the notification of interest, so that the complementary research competences necessary for working with the research issue in the notification of interest (question A1.1 in the structure) are made evident and substantiated by the listed researchers. It is not possible to give a certain number of how many researchers that should be listed as it depends on the research issue and the research teams involved. A selection of researchers is recommended rather than providing an exhaustive list in the notification of interest.
According to the structure for the notification of interest to become a profile area at Lund University (appendix 1 in the management rules), section A3.1. states “Which strong researchers are to be included in the profile area (at least 3 per current team)?” What defines a research team in this context? (20.01.2022)
It is not possible to give a definition of research teams because the term is used differently in different fields of science. Research teams include a group of researchers who work together and publish together. In some cases, this group is more densely composed, in other cases looser. There is some form of connection, but it does not always have to be formalized in the organization.
What information should be provided on each researcher in section A3.1 in the structure for the notification of interest in the management rules? (10.02.2022)
Please state researcher’s name, title, research team/organizational unit at Lund University.
Where should the names of the members to be included in the notification of interest of a potential profile area be listed? Should CVs of the researchers be attached as appendices? (13.12.2021)
You list the names of the strong researchers to be included in the profile area in section A.3.1. Include at least three strong researchers per current team to be included in the proposed profile area. No CVs are to be included in the notification of interest at this stage.
Are PhD students, Postdocs and other group members also to be identified or only group leaders/Principal Investigators in section A3.2 in the structure for the notification of interest in the management rules? (10.02.2022)
The heading of section A3 refers to central researchers, so focus on the researchers that are central to the proposed profile area in section A3.2.
What is exactly meant with research infrastructure in section A4 in the structure for the notification of interest in the management rules? Does research infrastructure only include core facilities and large research facilities or also existing communication networks? (10.02.2022)
Describe the research infrastructure that is relevant to the proposed profile area. It is difficult to give more detailed guidance. It depends on the issue (see section A1.2 in the management rules ) that the proposed profile area intends to address and what kind of research infrastructure that is relevant (if any) and necessary to perform the research.
Does section B1.1 “The prerequisites to develop the profile area, e.g. in terms of funding, staff, gender equality and access to relevant research infrastructure” in the structure for the notification of interest in the management rules refer to past prerequisites that have led to the formation of the profile area group (existing funding, networks, etc) or future prerequisites? (10.02.2022)
Section B1.1 refers to current and future prerequisites. See also table on page 14 in in the report from the Swedish Research Council and other funding agencies (in Swedish only).
Does section B1.2 “The profile area’s contribution to creating a cohesive knowledge environment of high quality that includes research, education and external engagement” in the structure for the notification of interest in the management rules refer to past or future contributions? (10.02.2022)
Section B1.2 refers to current and planned contributions.
Do section B2.1 “. Work to maintain, renew and develop the research quality within the profile area in an international perspective.” and section B3.1. “Work to maintain and develop quality in the profile area in external engagement with wider society in relation to the nature and conditions of the area” in the structure for the notification of interest in the management rules refer to past or future work? (10.02.2022)
Sections B2.1 and B3.1 refer to current and planned work.
How is cooperation between researchers from faculties working together viewed? Is it under the same umbrella or do you see it as a close collaboration side by side? (20.01.2022)
The idea with the profile areas is that you have a common research question that you should gather around. See the structure for notification of interest in the appendix of the management rules section A1.2: “What issue (societal and/or research) does the profile area intend to address? A question that the profile area wants to gather around, and which shows the profile area’s relevance.”
Should appendices be attached to the notification of interest? According to the management rules for notification of interest for profile areas at Lund University the instruction states that: “Put together the notification of interest and the attachments in a single PDF file, labelled with the contact person’s surname”. (11.01.2022, revised 10.02.2022)
References can be attached to the notification of interest in an appendix, not to exceed one page. There is no need to attach any other appendices to the notification of interest in the first stage of notification (deadline 15 March 2022). At a later stage, some potential profile areas may be asked to complement their notifications of interest (not necessarily all of them), with e.g. CV:s.
The Lund University’s criteria for the profile areas in the management rules mention networks of agents. What is meant by networks of agents? (20.01.2022)
The ambition is that all profile areas will have a network of agents who are known to want to engage actively in developing the profile area. These networks of agents involve non-academic partners for external engagement from e.g. industry, the public sector or citizen organisations.
How will the CV:s be assessed? Will the CV of the contact person be given a larger weight than other participating researchers in the proposed profile area? (20.01.2022)
All profile areas need several researchers with strong CVs and a balance of experienced and early-career researchers. The CV of the contact person will be given no specific weight compared to the CV:s of the other participants. Remember that no CVs are to be included in the notification of interest at this stage (by the notification of interest 15 March 2022).
Will the University Management identify and put together new possible profile areas when they get the overall picture of all of the notifications of interest submitted after the deadline 15 March 2022? (20.01.2022)
Yes, this may very well be the case. Once the notifications of interest have been submitted (15 March 2022, at 14:00) the process will be characterised by dialogue and interactivity. Some potential profile areas may be asked to complement their notifications of interest (not necessarily all of them).
If you do not submit a pre-notification by 15 February 2022, are you then disqualified to submit a notification of interest to become a profile area? (15.12.2021)
A pre-notification of interest is asked for and we highly recommend that you submit one as outlined in the management rules if you plan to submit a notification of interest.
Can a researcher participate in several notifications of interest? Is it good or bad to participate in several notifications of interest (15.12.2021)
Yes, a researcher can participate in several notifications of interest to become a profile area. Whether it is good or bad to participate in several notifications of interest is up to the individual researcher to assess. In the end, a researcher can only participate in one profile area once the profile areas have been decided.
Are there guidelines available for the choice of coordinator for a potential profile area? Can a coordinator be the same person who is also a coordinator for a Strategic Research Area? (07.12.2021)
There are no guidelines available for the choice of coordinator for a potential profile area. Consider the criteria for researchers in the management rules for notification of interest for profile areas at Lund University. Yes, a coordinator can be the same person who is also a coordinator for a Strategic Research Area.
Why do you need a pre-notification on the 15 February 2022? Will we receive feedback on the pre-notification? (07.12.2021)
The pre-notification will only contain preliminary title and contact person’s contact details. No feedback will be given on the pre-notification. The university management would like to know how many notifications will be submitted in order to do the detailed planning of the process. The university management also would like to have a possibility to communicate directly with the contact persons in case of late changes in the process.
How will the merits and strategic importance of each individual profile area be weighed against the merits and strategic importance of the collective of the five profile areas together? (12.11.2021)
There will be a final composition of five profile areas at Lund University and there will need to be a consistency of the five areas in the collective whole. It is also important that the profile areas are linked to the faculties’ priorities and that the profile areas are important not only for research, but also for education and external engagement.
An international review panel will assess Lund university’s application on the criteria of strategic profile, research quality and quality in external engagement. Will the quality of education be evaluated? (12.11.2021)
In the proposed model, the research councils have specified assessment criteria for three quality aspects: strategic profile and prerequisites for quality enhancement, research quality and quality in external engagement. In the proposed model (se report, chapter 7), information is listed on what to include in the application for a profile area with respect to these three areas. The proposed model emphasize complete knowledge environments, but the evaluation will not include quality in education as the proposal reads today. In the proposal, education is included in one out of four assessment criteria for “Strategic profile and prerequisites for quality enhancement”. The stated criteria is: “The profile areas’ contribution to creating knowledge environments of high quality that include research, education and external engagement.”
How will the five profile areas be selected by Lund University? What process will be used? (12.11.2021)
The vice-chancellor will make the decision on which five profile areas to include in Lund University’s application for profile funding. The preparation process for the decision will involve discussions with faculty deans and a panel (consisting of deans, external representatives and student representatives) will assess the notifications of interest to become a profile area. Based on this, the pro vice-chancellor for research will propose the five areas to the vice-chancellor for final decision. The details of the preparation process in advance of the vice-chancellor’s decision are outlined in the management rules for the process of notification of interest.
The application for profile areas will be judged as a whole, what will the consequences be if e.g. one of the five proposed profiles is deemed by external reviewers to be insufficient or inferior? (12.11.2021)
The application will be evaluated as a whole, and it is the collective whole that will count. If Lund University will propose a profile area that is in a developing phase, this must be stressed in the application to make this aspect clear.
How does a research team relate to a profile area? Should Principal Investigators (PI) come from several faculties and or research teams? (20.1.2022)
All profile areas need several researchers with strong CVs and a balance of experienced and early-career researchers. As illustrated at the information meeting with the University Management on 12 November 2021 a profile area typically involves 3-4 faculties, with research teams from the involved faculties. It is important that the PI:s largely represent the proposed area and come from several research teams.
What research group sizes are a suitable size for a profile area? (01.12.2021)
The size of the research groups involved in a profile area depends on the chosen research issue that the profile area intends to address and the competences needed to answer the research issue. Typically, a profile area should involve around 20 Principal Investigators from three to four faculties.
Would “bioinformatics” be a good research group? This is quite broad, but this is what we do with applications to many fields. (01.12.2021)
This is not a question that we can answer at this stage of the process (before the assessment of the notifications of interest). Rather this will be a question for the panel assessing the incoming notifications of interest to become a profile area. Formulate your notification of interest according to your creativity in line with Lund University’s criteria for the profile areas. It is also important that you make a self-assessment of your potential notification in relation to the assessment criteria in table 3 of the “Management rules for notification of interest for profile areas at Lund University” so that you do not waste your time if your potential to become a profile area is small.
Will the profile areas only involve researchers from Lund University? (25.11.21)
The profile areas will profile the research at Lund University and will only involve researchers at Lund University. Co-operation with researchers from other universities is of course possible.
Should researchers involved in the profile area have a history of publishing together? (25.11.21)
The profile areas should typically involve researchers from several research groups preferably in a new constellation. The researchers from an established research group are expected to have a history of publishing together. The combination of research groups in a new constellation forming a potential profile area do not necessarily need to have a common history of publishing together.
How does the profile areas at Lund University relate to existing Strategic Research Areas that we have at Lund University? (12.11.2021)
The profile areas are independent and differ from the Strategic Research Areas (SRAs). There are more SRAs at Lund University, currently eleven SRAs, than there will be profile areas. Components of existing SRAs together with something new can constitute a profile area. However, novelty is important for the profile areas. A separate blog post on this issue will be posted and a link will be included here when it is available.
Should every profile area be unique for each university or is it possible that two or more universities will receive funding for the same profile area, e.g. a profile area concerning digitalization? (12.11.2021)
This question has been discussed among the Vice-Chancellor’s of higher education institutes (HEI), and as far as the HEIs know at this moment, it is a possible that two or more universities can receive funding for profile areas covering the same kind of research question. Lund University’s intention is to synchronize our application for profile areas with other HEIs. The intention is also to design Lund University’s profile areas so that they are specific for our university, finding our university’s niche where our research has a comparative advantage (a “flavour of Lund” as the Vice-Chancellor mentioned at the information meeting on 12 November 2021). Lund University management hope that there will be a good variation of profile areas across the country so that the HEIs together will cover Swedish research.
Will there be a platform at Lund University to identify research collaborators in other faculties? (12.11.2021)
At Lund University we have the “Lund University Current Research Information System”, LUCRIS (and the Lund University Research Portal, a tool where you can search for research collaborators across the university.
There is also a blog “Identifying Profile Areas at Lund University”, where information on the process will be collected. Upcoming events and discussion forums arranged for the process at Lund University will be posted on the blog. Subscribe to the blog to receive notifications of updates.
A tip is also to ask a colleague and share networks among you.
What is the “flavour of Lund”? (as mentioned by the Vice-Chancellor in the information meeting on 12 November 2021) (12.11.2021)
There are many flavours of Lund; it is something daring, positive, with an optimistic view on the future that follow with the time according to the Vice-Chancellor.
How much interaction or future synergy should there be between the five profile areas at Lund University? (12.11.2021)
In the beginning, there will be a need to focus on your own environment to build it strong. But with time it becomes an incredible source of inspiration to meet with research leaders of other similar areas, where you can learn a lot and share good examples.
Profile areas should be sustainable, yet also emerge and evolve dynamically over time. What is the foreseen “duration” of a profile area? When will the portfolio of the five profile areas at Lund University be re-assessed, and perhaps a new portfolio composition be determined? (12.11.2021)
In the proposed model, the research funding agencies propose a duration of five to six years for the profile areas. After that period, the funding agencies propose a second call for new profile areas. This is yet to be decided. Lund University foresees a longer life-span of its profile areas than five years, with profile areas active for maybe 10-15 years.
To what extent will the quality of education be used as a marker in the choice of profile areas? And to what extent will existing collaboration between faculties regarding education be taken into consideration? (12.11.2021)
This question is difficult to answer at this stage. Existing collaboration sends a signal that there is potential for good collaboration, considering that education is not an easy task to collaborate on. The starting point must be excellence in research. Research and education are, in essence, the same thing, they just operate on different time bases.
Will there be any limits for a principial investigator (PI) to participate in more than one profile area? (12.11.2021)
There will not be any limits for a PI to participate in more than one profile area during the phase of notification of interest to become a profile area. But once the profile areas have been set and decided, a PI can only participate in one profile area. It will not be credible to participate in more than one profile area. As PI, you will have to dedicate your efforts to one profile area.
How is external engagement and outreach identified? Is that collaboration with other research institutes (nationally or internationally) or collaboration with society at large, or both the above? (12.11.2021)
External engagement is called “Samverkan” in Swedish. External engagement involves collaboration with industry, the public sector or citizen organisations. That is, external engagement involves collaboration with organisations outside of the university sector, rather than collaboration between higher education institutes.
How will profile areas affect education, such as the funding of different areas or the development of new programs and courses? (12.11.2021)
The profile areas will be an incentive to collaborate across faculties on education. It is foreseen that new types of courses in education will be created, e.g. in undergraduate education but also in the lifelong learning approach.
Who can suggest candidate profile areas? (12.11.2021)
The process for notification of interest to become a profile area is open to everyone at Lund University. The management rules for the process of notification of interest are found here.
What classifies as Principal Investigator (PI)? Is associate senior lecturer (“biträdande universitetslektor” in Swedish) included in the PI concept or not? What types of PI:s does Lund University expect in the profile areas? (12.11.2021)
An associate senior lecturer can be part of a profile area if you have a track record for this early career stage showing high scientific potential. However, the profile area must consist of a mix of researchers in different stages of their career, including experienced researchers with strong CV:s and early career researchers, to show that there is potential for growth in the profile area. The profile area cannot consist solely of PI:s, which are associate senior lecturers.
PI:s with strong CV:s include researchers who have received European Research Council’s individual grants (ERC), or other grants indicating excellence, e.g. from the Wallenberg Foundations, or display an excellent publication record, or a high societal impact from their research. You have to consider, for each discipline, what is considered a marker of excellence or prestige in research.
Do partnerships with industry play a role in the profile areas? (12.11.2021)
Industry could be a partner in external engagement, but industry partners are not a necessity. It depends on the research question and the type of external engagement linked to the specific research. There are many types of external engagement, e.g. with industry, hospitals and health care, public agencies at different scales from municipality level to global organisations such as the United Nations, and non-governmental organization in civil society etc.
Will Lund University make sure that research groups or principal investigators from all faculties are included in at least one profile area as a means to use Lund University’s full potential? (12.11.2021)
The Lund University management expects that all faculties will be included in at least one profile area and will work towards that goal. But it depends on individual researchers’ engagement in the profile areas.
There is a number of Strategic Research Areas (SRA) at Lund University. What could the SRAs’ role be in the formation of profile areas? Is there an overlap or even replacement? (12.11.2021)
The Lund University management expects that there can be some overlap, meaning that some SRAs can be part of a larger context in a profile area. Lund University has more SRAs than the number of profile areas than the University has the possibility to apply for, so there is no exact overlap between SRAs and profile areas. Profile areas will not replace the SRAs. The University management expects that some Principal Investigators from different SRAs will be active also in profile areas, which will probably benefit the whole of SRA as well. A separate blog post on this issue will be posted and a link will be included here when it is available.
Will there be any synergies between profile areas and EUGLOHRIA/EUGLOH? Or other international collaborations on a similar scale. (12.11.2021)
Researchers who are active in EUGLOHRIA or EUGLOH can also be active in a profile area. There is no precedence for researchers active in EUGLOHRIA or EUGLOH to be included in a profile area.
Is the redistribution of the Government’s research block grant a one time event or will there be recurrent calls for profile areas for the Higher Education Institutes to apply for? (12.11.2021)
At the moment, it is unclear if there will be recurrent calls for profile areas, where Higher Education Institutes can apply for research block funding for profile areas. According to the Government’s Research Bill (2020/2021:60, in Swedish only), the Government’s long run intention is to allocate further block funding according to the new model. The Government’s next Research Bill will be presented during autumn 2024, where the preconditions for the next four-year period (2025-2028) will be presented.