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How did the University of Antwerp frontline research domains originate?

In June 2010, at the request of the Chair of the Research Council, the Board of Governors took the step of defining a number of frontline research domains.

What?

A frontline research domain is a domain in which the University of Antwerp has built up clusters of quality and expertise with a particular scope, thus assuring consolidation and continuity and - as far as the experimental sciences are concerned - the availability of state-of-the-art equipment.

Motivation

Since the merger, the University of Antwerp has taken a proactive approach to external assessments of research management quality. The trigger for this proactive approach was a McKinsey study on closer collaboration between the university and the private sector, which recommended identifying clear, visible priorities.

Result

As a result, the decision was taken to group research expertise in topic clusters where the University of Antwerp excels internationally. This was done on the basis of certain parameters, such as the well-known research output parameters (PhDs, publications, citations, fundraising, etc.), but also measurements linked to recent investments made by the university in personnel and infrastructure.

This process produced 9 topics for research priorities and 3 emerging frontline research domains (i.e. potential future priorities). These are all domains in which the University of Antwerp carries out fundamental or applied research at the highest level, and also provide added value to cooperation with the private sector.

These frontline research domains relate exclusively to research and therefore function independently of the University of Antwerp's educational priorities.