Focus profiles and working in teams at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (ESSB)
By Vincent Bekkers, Christien Bakker and Bianca Langhout (all from Erasmus University Rotterdam)

During the session a short update was given about Recognition & Rewards (R&R) developments at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). At EUR there already are a few pilots on R&R up and running. One of the larger pilots is the one at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences on focus profiles and working in teams. Victor Bekkers (dean of ESSB) explained how the focus profiles and teams within his faculty look like, the importance of team science and why you need diversity within your team.

A team is a group of people who, under the supervision of a team lead, collaborate on achieving a shared task assignment, coordinate themselves in order to achieve a measurable result and decide relatively independently on their functioning. When you have a team with academics with different focus profiles (education, research, impact and leadership), they will be more room to regulate and reduce systemic work pressure.

In addition, the following conditions are important:

  • Team size: the average size of a team is approx. 12-18 fte, excluding PhDs and post-docs;
  • Robust and clear task assignment;
  • Autonomy: allocation of tasks & responsibilities and budget;
  • Team plan: based on the assignment of the team, a team has a team plan including results on education, research, social impact, innovation & entrepreneurship, leadership.

A participant asked the following question: ‘Where to start with the implementation? Should we first specify missions and strategies to formulate task assignments and then define teams and profiles?’ We think that there is no perfect answer on where to start this cultural change. We believe that it is most important to start somewhere and have an open view on the process and ongoing developments.