The Agency calls on experts from diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds. They are trained on a regular basis in the AERES’ methods and objectives.
When an expert is appointed for a specific evaluation, methodological guides presented depending on the entity evaluated are handed out to him or her.
In addition to this documentation, the Agency has also set up information and training sessions within each of its departments:
- Department for the evaluation of institutions: Experts attend a two-day training programme before the evaluation campaign is launched. This programme covers both the general principles adopted by the AERES and specifically how an evaluation is carried out. It is taught by AERES staff members, experienced experts, representatives of the evaluated institutions and the decision-makers who will be using the evaluations. Since 2009, expert committee chairmen have been given additional training to learn how best to run committees.
- Department for the evaluation of research units: The AERES evaluates research units using methods that have long been put into practice in France and abroad. The department nevertheless makes sure all of the experts are familiar with these, as well as the AERES’ own procedures and methodologies. Because of the large number of experts called on in this instance, they are trained by the scientific delegate during discussions prior to the evaluation and then during the on-site visit. This visit systematically begins with a committee meeting in camera during which the scientific delegate checks that all of the experts have clearly understood the process.
- Department for the evaluation of programmes and degrees: This organises half-day training sessions before the meeting of each evaluation committee according to the same principle as applied by the department for the evaluation of institutions. For doctoral schools, these sessions are organised by the scientific delegates according to the same method as for research units.
Prospects for changing the way experts are trained
With a view to making the training sessions more relevant on the one hand and developing their content on the other – especially for experts working for the department for the evaluation of research units – the AERES is thinking about the opportunity of setting up additional initiatives to those already in place:
- distance learning via the Internet
- relocated classroom-based training on the geographical sites that regularly provide a large number of experts.
Feedback received at the end of a campaign is analysed to adjust the training sessions in line with the requirements indicated in terms of implementation in the field.