At the end of 2017, Technopolis Group completed the evaluations of all ten Federal Scientific Institutes (FSIs) in Belgium. The first of these evaluations started already in 2014, with the evaluations of the Royal Museum for Central Africa and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Unlike most competences in the field of science policy in Belgium, these ten FSIs fall directly under the responsibility of the Belgian Federal Government.
Each FSI has, in addition to its research function, also a service function. They deliver either professional services (e.g. training to African students or advice to the Belgian Government) or services to the public (e.g. the weather forecast, as provided by the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium). In some cases, the service function is even primary, for example the Royal Library, the State Archives and the Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels (the latter receiving over 500.000 visitors each year).
The evaluations concluded that the position of the FSIs as part of the Belgian Federal Government administration is not ideal – nor for managing a research institute, nor for managing a museum or any other public oriented function of the FSI. Especially in the field of staff management and financial management more flexibility is needed. Cooperation with universities should also be improved for most FSIs. This is hampered by the fact that universities are the responsibility of the Belgian Communities (the French, German and Dutch communities), not of the Belgian Federal Government. Cooperation between the FSIs is – in most cases – also far from ideal.
Technopolis Group also gave many FSI-specific conclusions and recommendations. Some of these recommendations have already been implemented (e.g. the improved strategy process at RBINS). The summaries of the evaluations are available on the Belspo website – to download the individual summaries, click on the descriptions of each institute.
For more information, contact Geert van der Veen, Technopolis Group Amsterdam.Tweet