On January 22nd, The Recognition & Rewards Festival took place. Together with almost 300 participants, we took a dive into cultural change and shared thoughts and ideas with each other regarding the recognition and rewards system in academics. From plenary discussions about the similarities between diplomacy and science with regard to culture change and the biggest concerns for young academics, to workshops where questions were elaborated and talked about in smaller groups. A successful day filled with exchanging knowledge, ideas and different viewpoints.    

The recordings and the presentation slides can be found here.

Plenary discussions

The day was opened with Kim Huijpen interviewing Jeroen Geurts and Rianne Letschert. They talked about the most important steps taken after publishing the position paper Room for everyone’s talent in November 2019. They emphasized the importance of diversity in academic profiles. Research and education remain important aspects in academic careers, but they also highlight the fact that we must create room for people to diversify their career paths. After this opening, we continued with an interview that focused on cultural change.

Paul Boselie had the honour to interview Reina Buijs, Director of the HRM department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this conversation, an interesting parallel between academia and civil servants was highlighted. They touched upon important aspects within a change process in both academia and diplomacy, aspects such as good leadership, training, learning by doing and coaching. After this interview we changed the setting to a round table conversation.

The round table conversation was held between several young academics as well as with Rianne Letschert and Jeroen Geurts. During this conversation, the urgence of a new system of recognizing and rewarding academics was emphasized again. The young academics talked about the meaning of this for early career academics and how young academics see a future with more diverse career perspectives. It was very interesting to discuss and hear the views and experiences of the ‘next generation’.


After the substantive plenary sessions in the morning, a much-deserved break was up next. Participants got the opportunity to talk to each other, visit a video booth or enter into a ‘speeddate carousel’. And of course, were encouraged to have some lunch or go for a walk outside. After this break, where energy was recharged, the participants continued the programme by attending several different workshops. The workshops allowed the participants the opportunity to dive into different questions that were posed in the morning on a deeper level. 

The workshop ‘Open Science’ was given by Jeroen Sondervan (UU) and Sander Bosch (VU). In this workshop they discussed the link between open science and recognizing and rewarding. And more specifically, which aspects of open science need to be recognised and rewarded within research and education. With the help of online tools like Miro this led to interesting debates and new ideas. Interesting to see was that there were more suggestions about the recognition and reward system for research than for education.

Another workshop, ‘Challenges for UMC’ touched upon subjects regarding the three core tasks of UMC – research, education and healthcare. An inspiring discussion took place about the combination of those three and the importance of recognition and reward with regard to the core tasks.

The workshop ‘Change approach Recognition & Rewards’ dove into the change approach of the program recognition and rewards. The participants talked about how to make sure the changes that are thought of, actually make a positive difference. And when is the program a success? Food for thought!

Another workshop was an ‘Introduction to- and dialogue about Recognition & Rewards’. Elke van Cassel gave an introduction about the program and specifically talked about the position paper and how it is implemented at Tilburg University. After this, two discussions were held about the importance of young academics in this program and including science communication in a new version on recognition and rewards.


To wrap up the day, Ingrid van Engelshoven, Minister of Education, gave her final words. She talked about the most important dilemma’s and questions that were discussed and matched the spirit of the day perfectly: “Recognition and Rewards is all about team effort, working on this culture change is a team effort”.

We are happy to notice that we are not the only ones writing about the festival! Please also read the other blogs and reports.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *