International scientific committee

Transparency and reliability are one of the key factors of a successful scientific activity. The transparency can be achieved by establishing an international scientific committee responsible for supervision and verification of scientific work. Such committees can be established for the HEI’s projects or units. The committee’s work will  improve the HEI’s scientific staff competencies and will be an opportunity for exchange of experiences and knowledge between the engaged institutions. Working with experts from various countries and institutions will be a way to improve communication and cooperation between the engaged institutions and will also increase the HEI’s visibility. The committee members can also be engaged in scientific staff selection and evaluation processes. The experts selection can be based on the HEI’s international partnerships and HEI’s staff personal networks.

However, the existence of such committee(s) shall respect the relevant institutional regulations and project funding agreement requirements. Nevertheless, although similar bodies might exist as part of the instututional structures, the practice might provide some inspiration about the mandates it can have.


Improved skills and knowledge Better communication and cooperation Improved visibility

Basic information

Categories Profesional & Academic Development
Mobility stages Institutional setup
Delivery schedule Continuous
Importance Important to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups R2 - R4 researchers
Types of contracts of researchers Permanent employee Visiting scholar Fixed term employee
Career stages of researchers 1-3-years of experience 3-10 years of experience 10-15 years of experience More than 15 years of experience
Lengths of stays of researchers More than 12 months

Practice setup

  • Reflect on the need for such a committee at your unit/institution: do you have a grant agreement that requires such a body? Do your research activities need to be internationally verified? Do you want to make your recruitment process more international and transparent? Do your (updated) statutory regulations require an independent international expert/advisory body?

  • Consult the idea across the relevant institutional authorities, managers, group leaders, researchers, and administration staff and achieve a joint decision

  • Formulate the tasks of the committee. You can consider:

  1. Verification of the research agenda for your unit

  2. Verification of the research results

  3. Evaluation of the work of the researchers employed at your unit/institution (R-2 and up)

  4. Issuing opinions on the employment of individual scientists

  5. Announcing and running competitions to select team leaders and other researchers (R-2 and up). (It might be e.g. part of HR Excellence in Research strategies, for further details see Open, transparent, merit based recruitment policy practice). The task can consist of:

a) approval of the competition criteria and rules prepared by the unit,

b) approval of the scope of requirements for the potential manager or leader,

c) evaluation of applications and issuing recommendations related to the employment of the most suitable candidate(s).

  • Set the number of members of the Committee

  • Set the selection criteria for members. You don’t have to find all the members individually. A good way to assemble such a committee is to do it in a frame of institutional cooperation. You can exchange your experts between institutions.

  • Set the rules of financial cooperation between the members and your unit. You can consider one of these approaches:

  1. The position is not paid – Your institution covers the cost of participation in the committee meetings

  2. The position is paid to some extent - Your institution covers the cost of participation in the committee meetings and the cost of the work done by the expert e.g. evaluation of the work of the researcher

  3. The position is fully paid – your institution pays a constant salary for all the committee members and covers their costs of participation in the committee meeting; however the independence and impartiality needs to be ensured

  • Set the work format of the committee – onsite/online/hybrid

  • Secure the adequate resources. Besides the financial means for the members, you have to secure the support staff for the committee.

  • Recruit the members of the Committee.

  • Formalize the cooperation with the selected experts and the work of the Committee

Challenges (factors to consider):

The committee members should have full independence from the HEI’s bodies to be seen as a reliable and objective group of experts.  

You have to assure that the members of the committee have a leading position in the relevant field of research but on the other hand, they should not be the direct competitors for the researchers of your unit.

The financial conditions depend on how prestigious your unit/institution is. The more prestigious your projects are, the lower financial expectations the committee members will articulate.

Consider also inviting to the committee some members from outside academia (commercialization), IPR issues need to be taken into account if relevant..


Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • HR Department
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Study department
Partners involved in practice setup
  • Embassy
  • Other HEI (not national)
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • Number of collaboration agreements with external partners
Description of collaboration

@ Other HEI:  to exchange experts, recommend the experts, and help in practical arrangements such as contacting the expert or handling administrative and legal issues connected with the expert’s engagement. The partner may also advise on the best suitable format and periodicity of the committee’s work

@ Financing agencies: they can serve as repositories for good practices on how to evaluate research and how to cooperate with experts. 

Practice delivery

  • support the committee’s actions by securing adequate infrastructure and human resources,

  • disseminate all the necessary information and resources concerning the committee’s work,

  • answer potential questions and help the committee’s members to network,

  • promote the committee’s work among the HEI’s academic staff. 

  • evaluate the work of the members - are they active enough/ do they fulfill their duties on time?

  • assure the constant number of members and the replacement of them at least after 5 years of activity

  • assure the continuity of operation - do not replace the whole committee at once. 

Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • HR Department
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Study department
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • Other HEI (not national)
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Average satisfaction rate
Description of collaboration

The main role of the partner institution - another research entity or HEI is to exchange experts or recommend experts from their staff or their research network. The partner could also disseminate information and promote the committee’s work among the partner’s academic staff to encourage similar activity on the partner’s side.


Examples of practice

International Scientific Committee


International Centre for Interfacing Magnetism and Superconductivity with Topological Matter ( MagTop), a research centre with the mission to boost the excellence and internationalisation of research in Poland, has established an International Scientific Committee that supervises MagTop activities. The committee members are experts from nine institutions from various countries. Apart from supervision activities, the committee has an advisory role and is also responsible for team’s evaluation and selection of group leaders


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