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    Fabianinkatu 24 (P.O. Box 4)
    00014 University of Helsinki

    collegium-office(AT)helsinki.fi
    Tel. +358 2 941 21735

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Quality assurance at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

Quality in research

According to its regulations, the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS) is committed to conducting high quality research in humanities and social sciences. Since the Collegium does not have its own research agenda, we fulfill this commitment through the research of our Fellows. The Fellows are for the most part selected through an extremely competitive and internationally advertised open call. We publish the requirements and evaluation practices openly on our webpages during the Call and the applicants are entitled to see their evaluations after the nominations are announced.

The main criteria in fellow selection are the quality of the research plan, academic accomplishments and the compatibility of the research project with the HCAS action plan. The call announcement emphasizes our goal to recruit researchers in all career stages. In the selection procedure, project proposals are also evaluated based on whether they cross disciplinary boundaries and whether they promote discussion on the nature, methods, theoretical assumptions and functions of humanistic and social scientific research.

International experts evaluate the applications independently of the Collegium and the University of Helsinki administration.

Once the Fellows have been accepted to the Collegium we aim to provide them with time free of unnecessary demands, but at the same time we believe that in order to fulfill our mission as an institute of advanced study certain demands must be put on to our Fellows. Most important of these is perhaps the residency requirement. We can only build a mutually enriching scholarly community if our scholars are here and interact with each other. Other ways to increase and support this interaction, which we believe has the potential to transform the research done here in a meaningful way, are the Brown Bag seminar series and other social activities.

The Fellows organize several events at the Collegium every year. The Collegium provides financial and administrative help for the organizing Fellow. To ensure that the topic and content of an event conforms to the HCAS action plan, each event must be discussed in Internal Committee for Academic Affairs meetings (ICAA) and approved by our Director. This Committee consists of a small number of Collegium Fellows and is chaired by the Director.

We believe that quality in research also arises from an excellent work environment. In addition to ensuring that our Fellows have ample time to devote to their research, we provide them with offices, computers, and standard office equipment as well as with limited research assistance. We support their field work needs and travels to international conferences with an annual travel allowance and a small research allowance. We also support their international publishing careers by proving them access to the University’s translation and language check services with no charge to the individual Fellow. The Collegium also has its own internationally peer-reviewed open access publication series, COLLeGIUM.

We monitor and evaluate the activities of its Fellows through final reports and the TUHAT database. We actively publish these results on our webpages and biannual Newsletter. We also collect statistics on the disciplines, gender, nationality, home University and other similar factors of applicants and appointed fellows in order to evaluate and develop our activities.

Quality in Collegium administration and support services

HCAS is committed to the University’s strategy. This commitment by the HCAS guarantees its Fellows high-quality working environment, support services and working conditions.

The administrative staff together with the Director and Vice-Director meet regularly once a week to discuss current administrative issues. This weekly meeting is also a forum where we can discuss potential improvement ideas and decide upon the practical steps that need to be taken in order to realize those ideas. Since the staff is small, exchange of information between staff members is easy. Thus our Fellows are able to receive the information and help they require fast and reliably. We have an extremely service oriented support staff. In addition to this face-to-face help, our Flamma pages and links from there to the relevant pages of the University's different support services as well as our HCAS Staff Workgroup provide our Fellows a permanent source for information concerning the Collegium and the University as an employer as well as other matters.

The Fellows participate in the Collegium administration mainly through three formal channels. The Internal Committee for Academic Affairs (ICAA), consisting of Fellows, advices the Director in matters concerning HCAS symposia, Collegium Lectures, public lecture series as well as other matters in which the Director would like hear the Fellows input. Another forum of communication is our staff meeting where the Fellows are also informed of current administrative issues. The third venue is our Executive Board, where the Fellows and administrative staff have a joint representative.

In all of our staff recruitment decisions, we always take into consideration the international nature of HCAS and thus require excellent language and professional skills from all of our staff members. We also encourage the staff members to participate in University and outside training programs when necessary. We take great pride in our level of service.