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Evaluation: NSCR top research institute for crime and law enforcement

At the end of 2023 NSCR was evaluated by a committee of international independent experts. The committee views NSCR as the top research institute for crime and law enforcement in Europe and the world..
By Prof. Beate Völker | 4 June 2024

Strategy Evaluation Protocol (SEP)

Every six years NSCR is evaluated. This is done using the Strategy Evaluation Protocol (SEP), which was created by the Dutch Research Council (NOW), Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschapen (KNAW) and  Universiteiten van Nederland (UNL) to provide a sound basis for evaluations of research groups and institutes. The SEP evaluation of the NWO institutes took place in the second half of 2023.

NSCR director Beate Völker: “It is amazing that the committee of international experts saw and acknowledged what NSCR wants to stand for: excellent research combined with policy that takes into account the different talents of its employees. Also the chosen path for the upcoming years is highly appreciated. In short, we are happy and proud and have full confidence in the future.”

'It is tremendously gratifying that the international experts of the evaluation committee see the same as we do: that our institutes are among the world's best,' said Marcel Levi, president of Executive Board of NWO and of the Foundation Board of NWO-I, under which NSCR falls.

Evaluation themes and process

An evaluation committee, consisting of six independent scientific or societal experts, was established for the evaluation. The evaluation focused on the scientific quality, social relevance and future-proofing of the institute. Special attention was also paid this time to the PhD policy and the research culture.

The institutes first conducted a self-evaluation over the past six years and provided a strategic plan for the next six years. Next, a site visit by the evaluation committee took place. They then delivered a report with recommendations for the upcoming years.

Highlights of the evaluation

High quality research
According to the committee NSCR is renowned for its meticulous empirical and quantitative research. The committee acknowledges the strong and growing influence it shows within the criminological field through a variety of scientific output. Ranging from reports and publications to translational materials and public dissemination of its work through conferences, workshops, and efforts with justice practitioners. For example, NSCR collaborates with the National Police and ‘Slachtofferhulp Nederland’.

Societal Relevance
The committee observed NSCR’s strong motivation to consolidate its scientific and societal impact, and to advance it where needed. It is clear to the committee that NSCR strives for a healthy balance between methodological innovation and development of knowledge, and focus on its application on issues from practice. The upcoming period offers the opportunity to further strengthen the impact and publicity of NSCR.

Open and inclusive culture
The committee is impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of people at all levels of the organization. They think part of this enthusiasm was born from a strong, positive academic and work culture. The committee got the sense that leaders within NSCR promoted high-quality research and at the same time value the input of all employees. Moreover, according to the committee, NSCR offers a vibrant PhD programme with a strong internal cohesion. The PhD mentors and confidential counsellors were identified as being instrumental in strategically helping to develop that sense of community among the NSCR PhD cohort.

Recommendations from the report

The committee took a critical approach. That does not mean just praise: each institute is given recommendations for the future. The committee included suggestions on how to consolidate its research, articulate the social impact of its work, and be creative and proactive in advancing diversity. The recommendations are taken into account in the future strategy of NSCR and will be reevaluated in the next SEP evaluation at the end of 2029.

More information on NWO evaluations can be found on Evaluations NWO institutes | NWO


Prof. Beate Völker


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