Job profiles for academic staff updated with new emphasis on Rewards & Recognition

A new version of the University Job Classification System (UFO) will take effect on 1 August 2021. This UFO update was adopted by the parties to the collective agreement on 8 July 2021. The main changes in this update include an amendment to the Education and Research job profiles based on the position paper ‘Room for everyone’s talent’. There will also be a job description for the role of Data Steward from 1 August.


In November 2019, VSNU, NFU, KNAW, NWO and ZonMw published the position paper ‘Room for everyone’s talent: towards a new balance in the recognition and rewards of academics’. In this paper, we express our aim to more broadly recognise and reward the work of academic staff. This includes placing less emphasis on the number of publications, and a greater emphasis on the other domains in which the academic is active, such as education and impact.


With the position paper ‘Room for everyone’s talent’, the parties aim to realise a fundamental change in behaviour and leadership with regard to the recognition and rewards system for academia and academics. This is a major culture change which VSNU, NFU, KNAW, NWO and ZonMw are pursuing together, with the support of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.


All VSNU universities, ideologically-based universities, KNAW institutes, NWO institutes, and NWO and ZonMw have their own Rewards & Recognition committee. Despite the pandemic, the various Rewards & Recognition committees have been eagerly working to promote the desired culture change at institution level. A wide and inspiring range of approaches can be seen among the universities. At the national level, we bring together the chairs of these Rewards & Recognition committees and the project leaders for each institution. During these meetings they take time to share good practices. Experimenting, inspiring and sharing good practices are key elements within the national programme.


Several universities are now experimenting with new profiles for academic staff. Experiments are also underway involving new approaches to academic staff assessment. In anticipation of the results of these experiments, we have introduced a number of changes in the national job profiles based on the position paper ‘Room for everyone’s talent’. The idea is that the job profiles will be as helpful as possible in making the transition to the new Rewards & Recognition framework. Experiments and experiences in the Rewards & Recognition programme could eventually lead to more extensive changes to the job profiles system.


What will change?


The updated job profiles for roles such as Associate Professor, Assistant Professor and Professor will include a greater focus on education, impact, open science and leadership. Here are a few examples:

· Open Science: Managing research data and promoting opportunities to re-use data has been added as an activity for researchers, associate professors and assistant professors.

· Leadership: ‘Coaching and providing professional guidance to less experienced colleagues’ has been added as a core activity in the profiles for associate professors, assistant professors, professors and researchers. Creating an open, safe and inclusive work environment has been included as an activity in the profiles for professors and assistant professors.

· Impact: Activities have been added to the job profiles which contribute to the dissemination of scientific knowledge and insights, such as using social and other media in social debates and designing a prototype.

· Education: A number of education-related classification criteria have been added for Professor 1. If an academic staff member leads a programme in the area of education reform, this could contribute to his or her promotion to Professor 1.


From 1 August, universities will also have a job profile for the role of Data Steward. Universities are employing an increasing number of staff who fit this job profile. These staff provide digital data throughout the different phases of the research cycle. In doing so, they promote the (re-)use and reproducibility of this data. The addition of Data Steward to the university job profiles is an important step in the transition to Open Science, and this change shows that we value the ways in which various types of talents contribute to education and research within academia. The new university job profiles thus create more room for everyone’s talent.


Aftermovie conference Recognition & Rewards




Infographic Room for everyone’s talent