Universiteit Leiden

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Institute for History

Research Assessment 2018

To safeguard the quality of research within Leiden University, a committee of external experts evaluates the University’s institutes once every six years according to the Standard Evaluation Protocol which is drawn up by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Netherlands Organisation for Academic Research (NWO).

The composition of the 2018 international review committee commissioned to assess the research of the Institute for History:

Prof.dr. Olivier Hekster
Prof.dr. Marc Lazar
Prof.dr. Regina Grafe
Prof.dr. Jürgen Osterhammel
Prof.dr. Hilde De Ridder-Symoens

The research was assessed on the basis of three criteria: research quality, relevance to society, and viability. The institute is very pleased about the positive assessment and constructive comments of the committee. The committee describes the institute as “internationally renowned” and the research as “world leading research in global history”.

The institute is particularly pleased to see that the committee highly values the open and supportive scholarly environment and the culture of solidarity. The sabbatical system is seen as “supportive and effective”. In addition, the committee is “impressed by the quality of the societal relevance products”. Finally, we like to highlight that the committee noticed that our PhD students “appreciated the flexible and informal atmosphere”.

This page contains a summary of the quantitative and qualitative assessment of the research and the recommendations of the committee.

Quantitative assessment

Research quality:                1 (world leading/excellent)

Relevance to society:          1 (world leading/excellent)

Viability:                               2 (very good)

Qualitative assessment

The overall impression is of an excellent Institute in which there is a strong sense of professionalism, impressive commitment and very high levels of performance in terms of publications in clearly identified, leading journals and books appearing with leading academic publishers.

The number of professional publications and publications aimed for the general public as well as the active participation in training programmes and especially the interaction with various stakeholders in the many externally funded research projects in the institute yield clear evidence that the scientific work of the institute also has a very high societal relevance and impact.


The Institute is very well equipped for the future. In the opinion of the committee, after a period of impressive grant income, it is now extremely important to define a clear research strategy. Growth may end for reasons outside the Institute's control, so serious thought must be given to contingency planning. Future challenges include improving the time for research, rates of PhD completion, attracting female researchers at the more senior level and more collaboration within the institute and beyond.

Closing remarks

The Institute for History is thankful to the committee for its thorough and conscientious assessment. The Institute has written a response to the most important recommendations of the committee, and will work on these challenges in the future years.

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