31 August 2017

Science for Life International Research Assessment

Life Sciences institutes Faculty of Science assessed as world leading

The four Life Sciences institutes at the Faculty of Science are among the world’s best, according to an international research assessment committee, earning ratings of excellent (10x) and very good (2x). “We form a community that encourages people to excel”, acknowledges Prof. Marc Baldus, Director of Science for Life, the collaborative effort of the four institutes.

Science for Life is one of the four sub-themes of Utrecht University’s strategic research theme Utrecht Life Sciences. It is a collaboration by the Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research, the Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity (IBB), the Institute of Environmental Biology (IEB) and the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS). Over 100 research leaders are affiliated with Science for Life.

World leading

According to the review committee, each of the Science for Life institutes is ‘world leading’. Their output, both in numbers of publications and in numbers of citations, is extremely high. In the category ‘research quality’, the institutes all received a score of ‘1’ for ‘excellent’. This is also the result of the collaboration and cross-fertilization that is present within Science for Life, Baldus says. “We are a community that truly enjoys working together. And the real breakthroughs very often come from bottom-up collaboration across scientific disciplines.”

Marc Baldus
Marc Baldus

Impressed

The committee was also impressed by the cluster of Science for Life research facilities. Baldus believes that what truly makes them unique among other comparable institutes around the world is the easy access to use one another’s facilities. “A large part of our cutting-edge research involves technology. That’s our strong point. Our successful collaboration within Science for Life gives us a better starting position for maintaining that”, he says. 

Coherent collaboration

Over the next few years, he aims to further expand the partnerships within Science for Life and Utrecht Life Sciences. “Utrecht Life Sciences is now a coherent collaborative effort, from molecular synthesis to applications in hospitals, allowing us to take full advantage of the knowledge and facilities present in Utrecht. This makes us more attractive for Life Sciences researchers, students and companies that are considering moving to the Uithof.”

Research assessment

The review committee was led by Professor Emeritus Paul Hooykaas from Leiden University, and consisted of renowned professors from Denmark, England, Sweden, France and Switzerland. The Executive Board would usually ask the faculty board to submit an administrative reply following such an inspection visit, but due to the exceptionally high rating, the board has decided to forego that option.