Malmö University is a modern educational institution with a clear vision of internationally outstanding research. The research is relevant and has a strong connection to the surrounding community. This was detailed in the external evaluation of the research quality, ERA19, which is published today. At the same time, the auditors are calling for more systematic strategy work.

“Undergoing an external review of the University's research quality is very valuable for our continued development. Experience from other universities, both Swedish and international, shows that these types of comprehensive evaluations are quality-driven,” says Vice-Chancellor Kerstin Tham.

In 2019, Malmö University underwent an external evaluation of the University's research quality. ERA19, External Research Assessment, has focussed on quality-driven processes with the aim of contributing to the development of university research.

To achieve this, external assessors, with experience of the conditions and processes that create good research environments, have been employed.

Strengths and weaknesses

In the final report, Malmö University's clear vision of high-quality research, which contributes to a sustainable and more equitable society, is highlighted as an important strength. The institution's dedicated employees, collegial structure and culture, as well as examples of internationally outstanding research, are other strengths highlighted in the report.

Among the weaknesses is that research is fragmentary, which means that the critical mass of researchers is not achieved in all environments.

“This is a very important issue that we need to work with strategically at all levels,” says Tham.

Relevant and multidisciplinary research

The reviewers also highlight that the research conducted is both relevant and visible. The fact that research has a strong connection to the surrounding community is also highlighted as a strength. At the same time, it is stated that the University needs to be better at measuring the impact of research in society.

“We need to formulate goals and evaluate in a more systematic way how our research-based knowledge can be utilised in both the long and short term.”

The research at the University is multidisciplinary and this is a big asset because much of it concerns complex societal challenges. At the same time, the evaluation shows that this multidisciplinary research can be a problem when it comes to external research funding and scientific publishing.

“Multidisciplinary research is not an end in itself as the approach is guided by the research questions, but we should take advantage of the fact that we have long experience of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, something that is needed to explore complex issues,” says Tham.

Priority and action are required

The report highlights the need for more systematic work regarding strategies for research, scientific publishing, external funding and recruitment.

Kerstin Tham states that the aspirations of both management and researchers themselves are high — the research at Malmö University should be innovative, internationally prominent and cross-border. That systematic strategy work needs to be improved, is something the Vice-Chancellor regards as self-evident and important.

“Malmö University is a young educational institution that has achieved much in a short time. Now we need to take the next step and that is about prioritising and putting the recommendations of the evaluation into action. I am convinced that we can benefit greatly from the recommendations the final report put forward,” Tham adds.

Text: Charlotte Löndahl Bechmann


About ERA19

ERA19, External Research Assessment, is a quality evaluation of research at Malmö University that aims to contribute to the goal of university research being conducted in coherent and cross-border academic environments and being internationally prominent.

The evaluation is initiated by the University and has been carried out on three levels:

• Institutions (The Faculty of Dentistry is evaluated as a research environment)
• Faculty
• University-wide

The evaluation is based on:

• Reflective self-evaluations
• Bibliometric
• Personnel and financial data
• Overall description of Malmö University
• Visit Location