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Policy and regulations

Frequently asked questions on the Allocation Model

  • What is an allocation model exactly?

    The allocation model is used to allocate the funds the UvA receives directly (government grant and tuition fees). The allocation model determines the budgetary allocation to the faculties and forms the basis for the UvA's budgeting cycle.

  • Why was the allocation model revised?

    The former Executive Board considered it important in light of the Strategic Plan 2015–2020 to review whether the existing model was still in line with the strategy set out and the university's current situation. The Executive Board therefore wanted to review and hold a wider discussion on the allocation model.

  • What did this review involve?

    The Executive Board approved an action plan in October 2015 to devise an allocation model that would be widely supported by the Academic Community. A working group and a focus group set to work in May 2016 and all staff members and students were given the opportunity to contribute their ideas. This included holding themed meetings and everyone was invited to submit proposals and recommendations. The Allocation Model Working Group processed the input and presented a proposal for a widely supported new allocation model to the Executive Board at the end of October 2016.

    The working group's report, entitled 'Transparency and simplicity in funding: scope for policy', contained proposals for the revision of the allocation model with effect from the 2019 budget year.

  • What was the essence of the report? What were the main recommendations?
    1. Interconnectedness between research and teaching.
      Many parties believe that the link between research and teaching in the current model is too rudimentary to do justice to the research-intensive education that the UvA wishes to provide.
    2. Funding factors.
      Different disciplines have different cost patterns. Should this be taken into account for both research and teaching by applying funding factors or in another manner? If so, how should the factors be determined? The current funding factors raise question marks.
    3. Historical research budget.
      This is a substantial budget component and the only aspect that is clear is that it was created in the past, but there is no further underlying rationale. Better substantiation of this budget is a widely expressed wish.
    4. Strategy implementation.
      The UvA makes strategic choices that lead to new activities and, in turn, to new costs. Should policy budgets or other budgets be reserved for this purpose or should the faculties themselves incorporate the implementation of new policy in the lump sumbudgets?
    5. Social impact (valorisation).
      The social impact of research has featured more prominently on the agenda in the past decade. Moreover, valorisation is the university's third core responsibility. This is not yet reflected in the allocation model.
    6. Stability versus the current situation.
      The current allocation model is closely linked to the current situation: changes, for instance, in student numbers (credits) or contract research turnover have immediate repercussions for a faculty's budget. According to some parties, this creates unnecessarily large budget fluctuations and the associated unrest, and they are advocating a more stable budgeting procedure.
  • What action was taken on the recommendations in the report?

    The responses from the faculties and the University Committee on Research and the discussions about the recommendations showed that the main aspects of the working group's proposal were supported by the UvA. It was deemed advisable to adjust a few points in relation to the working group's proposal. Based on the final report containing the proposals for a new model, the Executive Board and the deans jointly considered the new allocation model and the method of implementation. However, these discussions brought about a number of new questions, in particular regarding the allocation of the capacity and policy budgets in relation to the variable use of direct funding. Before deciding on a proposed new allocation model, a more fundamental discussion about the UvA's policy was therefore required.

  • What happened next?

    The Executive Board and the deans have continued to discuss policy in the past few months. The proposal for the new allocation model is therefore based on the working group's proposal, taking account of the changes stated earlier and the deans' responses to the first proposal.

  • What are the implications of the revised allocation model?

    The new allocation model does not imply a change of strategic direction for the UvA or a different allocation of funds. The new model underpins the current strategy and the current profile and offers scope for innovation.

    The model facilitates the university's strategy as set out in the Strategic Plan:

    • The UvA is a broad-based university.
    • Research and teaching at the UvA are closely linked.
    • The UvA offers scope for innovation and quality enhancement.
    • The UvA provides considerable scope for policymaking at the faculty level.

    The allocation model has now been specified in greater detail, so that it can be used as the basis for preparing and adopting budgets for a longer period. In this context, more technical aspects have been tightened. In the years ahead, these will be fleshed out through further choices in framework letters and concrete budgets.

  • What are the main differences with the current allocation model?

    Variable component of the research budget linked to variable funding to deliver degree programmes

    One of the results is that the link between research and teaching has become more visible and stronger by applying a mark-up factor of 25% to the variable funding to deliver degree programmes. This means that for every €100 of the (variable) funding to deliver degree programmes, €25 will be allocated as research budget. This will enable the faculties to develop their research efforts in line with the development of student numbers.

    Funding factors

    Some degree programmes are more expensive than others. The UvA takes this into account and currently applies a funding factor to each faculty. This is based on research conducted by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The government grant makes a distinction between arts/social sciences (x1), natural sciences (x1.5) and medical sciences (x3). Most Dutch universities have adopted this distinction in their own allocation models.

    The funding factors currently applied by the UvA have a number of disadvantages, as follows:

    • The English research on which this is based is not representative. The research relates to the English situation, which features a wider range of universities (the Dutch universities of applied sciences would be designated universities in England).
    • Moreover, the research is no longer updated.
    • The current mechanism is complicated and obscure, as revealed during the discussions.

    Historical research budget

    ​This is a substantial budget component in the current model and the only aspect that is clear is that it was created in the past, but there is no further underlying rationale. Better substantiation of this budget is a widely expressed wish. This budget no longer exists and has more or less been replaced by capacity and policy budgets (same percentage for all faculties).

  • What is the advantage of a new allocation model?

    As a result of the introduction of the new allocation model, a change will be made to the system that is used to allocate budgets within the UvA and to the faculties. In view of transparency and the link to the outside world, more than ever before all levels within the UvA have the possibility to discuss the financial implications of specific choices with each other. The allocation model provides the UvA with a robust basis for all supervisors and staff to join this discussion. It therefore constitutes an essential basis for UvA policy and strategy implementation in the years ahead.

  • When will the new allocation model be implemented?

    As the allocation model constitutes one of the key elements of the budget, the usual procedure for approval and publication will be followed. The Academic Community can read the proposal on from 24 November. They may submit any comments they may have by 9 December 2017. Following the consultation period, the Executive Board will consider the comments received from the Academic Community and subsequently reach a proposed decision which, in turn, will be submitted to the representative advisory bodies for approval. In addition, the responses from the Academic Community will be collated and submitted to the Joint Meeting. The Executive Board will take a final decision only after the approval period, so that any questions and points raised by the Joint Meeting can be taken into account. The approval procedure is expected to be concluded by the end of February. Should the Joint Meeting and the Executive Board need more time to exchange views, the schedule will be adjusted. Following adoption, the new allocation model will be used with effect from the next budget year, starting with the preparation of the 2019 Framework Letter.