The Research Council of Norway has launched the report from its evaluation of the social science institutes. The report is overwhelmingly positive, and PRIO gets virtually unreserved praise for its academic quality, its communication with various audiences, and the societal impact of its research. Overall, the 'internationally orientated institutes' – noted for their distinctly different profiles – receive much praise.
"I am humbled by the evaluation panel's conclusion that PRIO sets a standard for others to strive towards, and also take to heart the warning not to rest on our laurels, but to continuously renew our competence and inspire the agenda in studies of peace and war," said PRIO Director Kristian Berg Harpviken.
The report finds that, overall, Norway's social science institutes are a national asset and it recommends continued investments in the area.
Harpviken said: "The Research Council's evaluation of Norway's social science institutes is a remarkable testimony to the contributions of the sector academically as well as to policy and practice. Its recommendations for a stronger political commitment, manifested in a policy that is sensitive to the specifics of individual institutes, while strengthening financial maneuverability through an increase in the core grant, deserve the government's attention."
Read about the evaluation on the Research Council of Norway's own pages here (in Norwegian).
He continued: "For PRIO, the evaluation is good news. We subscribe to all the main conclusions, and most of them are already reflected in our strategic priorities. The emphasis on enhanced collaboration between institutes and institutions of higher education is particularly noteworthy, and harmonizes fully with our strategic partnership with the University of Oslo, ultimately aiming to secure Oslo as a global hub for knowledge exchange on peace and conflict."
The wide variation between institutes, when it comes to their strategic orientation as well as their interaction with various user groups, is emphasized, followed by a cautionary note about standardizing performance measures. The so-called sector principle in Norwegian research policy, by which various ministries have a responsibility for building and maintaining competence within their respective domains, constitutes a strength, but commitments varies across different parts of the government.
The question is asked whether a comprehensive institute policy is called for, and it is suggested that the government initiative a new White Paper to discuss exactly that. Interaction with universities and colleges, with shared positions, research collaboration, and PhD education is considered good, but also with considerable untapped potential.