In this report the association VA presents a number of initiatives and projects in Sweden and other countries, a discussion about possible indicators and a set of proposals to the Academic Career Inquiry (Befattningsutredningen) and the Resources Inquiry (Resursutredningen).
Engagement with society at large is an important mission of universities, but one that is unfortunately often regarded as a “third,” less prioritised mission instead of an integrated aspect of education and research. One way to change attitudes is to clearly emphasise the value of societal engagement when allocating resources by formalising the measurement of the universities’ efforts in this area. It also benefits individual scientists and researchers when collaborative activities are valued and rewarded, for example, when appointments are being made. Clear indicators need to be defined in order for this to become a reality.
Our hope is that the ongoing commissions of inquiry will take the proposals into consideration so that engagement activities will be recognised and rewarded to a greater extent in the future, both for individual scientists and for universities in general.