Visit of the research body

About the panel of experts

The panel includes 4 to 10 experts, depending on the size and complexity of the institution. These members are appointed by the DEE, where applicable on the basis of proposals made by the institution’s management team, after being asked for its input on this matter.

The panel is led by an expert with experience of the governance of institutions and sound knowledge of the French system of higher education and research, if a non-French person is appointed.

Standard profiles are required for members of panels of experts, but their final balance can be adapted to the specifics of the missions of each institution and the expectations expressed by the management teams with regard to the evaluation.

These are the main types of profiles sought:

  • academic experts (preference is given to people who have occupied the post of vice-chancellor or held scientific leadership positions in their institutions),
  • experts associated with the socio-economic and/or cultural sector,
  • experts on Quality policy, experts on international relations and, possibly, student experts (preferably with local or national responsibilities),
  • administrative experts.

A gender balance is sought, as is a functional balance between experts who have previously worked for Hcéres and first-time experts.

To avoid any conflicts of interest, the panel of experts must be approved by the evaluated research body. The panel of experts carries out a substantial amount of preparatory work prior to the visit by familiarising itself with the range of different documents provided by the institution and by Hcéres.

Description of a typical visit

A project manager – the point of contact for Hcéres – accompanies the panel of experts for the entire evaluation and ensures compliance with Hcéres’ principles and methods.

The visit of the research body includes:

  • two meetings (at the beginning and end of the visit) with the President or the Director, who presents the strategy of his or her research body and the results of its self-evaluation (at the beginning of the visit) and answers several additional questions asked by the panel of experts (at the end of the visit);
  • individual interviews with a selection of key actors and stakeholders in the research body, including representatives of the body’s main partners, local and metropolitan authorities, heads of departments, representatives of researchers, administrative and technical staff, doctoral students, etc.

The interviews are carried out in the presence of the entire panel or in sub-groups consisting of at least two experts. Regular in camera sessions are held during the visit to enable panel members to share all information gathered during the interviews and the associated analyses, and to produce the evaluative judgements that will form the backbone of the evaluation report.