20 1The Peer Review cycle was set up with the very aim of sharing knowledge and taking benefit of the complementary expertise at the resp. partner universities and of the different organisational cultures. 

The Peer review is a valuable tool for assessing each other's specific strengths and challenges. It offers a framework for peer learning, knowledge exchange and self-evaluation. 

Rather than setting a formal benchmark in order to achieve a certain level of performance, the partners especially intend to signal new approaches and new opportunities on the basis of reciprocal and critical peer reviewing. 

The focus of the peer review sessions is therefore on policy processes and activity profiles rather than on output performance and on boasting figures.

Each of the partner universities alternately takes the lead in preparing and hosting a thematic session. The Peer Review cycle is an initiative of the U4 University Directors. In addition to the directors, sessions always involve relevant experts in the chosen theme. 

Examples of previous Peer Review sessions and themes are: 

  • Finance and Allocation Models (27-28 March 2014, hosted by Ghent)
  • HR and Gender Policies (24-25 October 2014, hosted by Groningen)
  • Research Infrastructures (01-02 October 2015, hosted by Göttingen)
  • Governance Models (16-17 June 2016, hosted by Uppsala)
  • Sustainability (15-16 September 2016, hosted by Ghent)
  • Innovation and building your Campus Eco-structure (20-21 September 2017, hosted by Groningen)
  • Collections and Museums (6-7 June 2018, hosted by Göttingen)

Spin off Activities

As spin off activities of the Peer Reviews the network on Sustainability and the U4 Career Services have been established. 

Further, the peer review resulted in more specialised staff mobilities and workshops in multiple fields, e.g. ICT (Core Infrastructure and Security), Collections (Repositories, Research Data life Cycle) etc. 


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