During 2018–2019, the Swedish Research Council, on behalf of the Government, produced a proposal for a model for national evaluations of research topics and thematic research areas. The evaluation model is designed to assess the quality and impact of research in an international perspective. During 2020–2021, a pilot evaluation of research in political science was carried out in Sweden.
The evaluation of research in political science at Luleå University of Technology is based on three of the subject's overall research areas, as well as scientific publications between 2014–18. In summary, the research is evaluated as thorough and original. Furtherly, it has rendered articles in several reputable scientific journals in respective sub discipline. The research has also had a clear impact in practice and, among other things, influenced decision-makers as well as other actors and stakeholders with connections to the research areas.
Focus on special areas
Simon Matti is Head of subject for political science at Luleå University of Technology. According to him, the research group has suspected that political science at the university is considered to have a high quality by external parties, not least the funding organisations who have been relatively generous with research grants over time.
– We are a relatively young research subject at the university. Since the start, we have had a clear strategy to focus on certain areas instead of dealing with everything. We can therefore show a cutting edge in issues related to the environment, climate, natural resources and energy, says Simon Matti.
The small size of the research group he thinks can be a strength.
– This means that we must expand our research environment by building strong external networks. In addition, we are a strongly close-knit group with a strong common interest in our special areas. We have no competing research groups. We pull in the same direction and have a good climate of cooperation. In addition, we have a good collaboration with other research fields at the university.
But of course there is nothing that can not get better.
– We can publish even more than we do today. But it will come with time, when our research environment has matured even more. We can also become better at systematically documenting the impact that our research actually has.
Independent expert panel
The evaluation was carried out by an independent panel of experts consisting of six international experts in the field and two national experts. A total of 14 higher education institutions are included in the evaluation. The report shows, among other things, that research quality and societal significance are strongly linked to each other; Universities whose research quality is high are also successful in reaching out with their research, both broadly and to particularly relevant groups.