Roles and responsibilities within the quality assurance system for research and the third mission

The most significant functions and responsibilities within the Research and Third Mission Quality Assurance processes are described below.


Rectors, Vice Rectors and delegates

The Rector is the legal and institutional representative of the University and is the head of the organisation. He is responsible for pursuing the objectives of the University, applying quality criteria in compliance with the principles of effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and meritocracy.

Working together with the other University Bodies, the Rector is responsible for making final decisions, including about quality, as well as for guiding the policies of the University via the Strategic Plan and other detailed planning.

The Vice Rectors and delegates assist the Rector in the management of the University. As part of the Research Quality Assurance system, the Rector recommends to the Academic Senate the appointment of the teaching members of the University Quality Committee.

Vice Rector for research

The functions of the Vice Rector for research principally focus on promoting the University's research activities, as well as on education and research with particular reference to the PhD programmes, evaluation of the quality of research, the development of competitive projects in collaboration with other Universities and national and international public partners, and promotion of the internationalisation of research together with the Vice Rector for international relations.

The rules for the functioning of the Quality Committee envisage the invitation of the Vice Rector for research to attend both the meetings of the PQA-RIC working party, when decisions will have an effect on all Departments, and the plenary sessions of the Committee.

Academic Senate

The Academic Senate is the body that represents the University community. It coordinates and links with the structures comprising the University and assists the Rector with the guidance, promotion and coordination of scientific and teaching activities; it also collaborates with the Board of Governors in the areas of strategic guidance, financial planning over one-to-three years and the planning of personnel. It approves the research regulations, including those for Departments and Schools. The Academic Senate appoints teachers to the Quality Committee, on a recommendation from the Rector.

Board of Governors

The Board of Governors is responsible for strategic guidance and the financial and personnel planning of the University, implementing the planning guidelines established by the Academic Senate. This Board seeks to enhance the efficiency and quality of the institutional activities of the University, implementing the established criteria for effectiveness, cost saving and the safeguarding of merit; it also monitors the financial sustainability of the activities of the University.

Acting on a recommendation from the Rector and having received the opinion of the Academic Senate on the matters for which it is responsible, the Board approves the triennial University planning document, the strategic guidelines, the one-to-three year financial plans and the personnel plan.

Director General

Based on the guidelines issued by the Board of Governors, the Director General is responsible for the overall management and organisation of the services, operational resources and technical and administrative staff of the University, as well as for performing the duties envisaged in the current regulations governing the management of the Public Administration and for achieving the established objectives.

Evaluation Group

Pursuant to art. 9 of the Statute, the Evaluation Group is the University body responsible for the evaluation of teaching, research and administrative activities. The Evaluation Group has the functions envisaged in the national regulations, as well as those specified in the Statute and the University regulations. This body evaluates the overall effectiveness of operations in terms of the quality of education and research, including the effectiveness of the improvement actions taken.
The Evaluation Group prepares guidelines and recommendations for improving the quality of education and research at the University, as well as an Annual Report on the progress made by the University in the area of Quality Assurance. The Committee coordinator for research informs the Evaluation Group periodically about the progress made on implementation of the quality assurance system in the context of research activities and the third mission.

University Quality Committee

The University Quality Committee promotes the culture and continuous improvement of quality at the University and supervises proper implementation of the Quality Assurance procedures. The Committee was established pursuant to Min. Decree 47/2013 and the ANVUR Document on the Self-assessment, Evaluation and Accreditation of the Italian University System.  The arm of the University Quality Committee dedicated to research (PQA-RIC):

  • checks that the SUA-RD of each Department contains constantly updated Quality Assurance information;
  • supervises and monitors the Research and Third Mission Quality Assurance processes in compliance with the activities planned and confirmed by each Department in sections A1, B2 and B3 of the SUA-RD;
  • advises Departments on the management of Quality Assurance processes and, in particular, on self-assessment matters, including the production of guidelines and operating instructions;
  • keeps the Academic bodies and the Evaluation Group informed about Research and Third Mission Quality Assurance matters;
  • promotes the continuous improvement of the quality of research and third mission activities.


Departments are responsible for planning their research and third mission objectives, applying strategies to achieve them and monitoring the effects of those strategies, including by carrying out periodic self-assessment. The Departments then summarise these activities on their SUA-RD forms. They are also responsible for participation in the national campaigns for the evaluation of research and third mission activities. Internally, they may establish “research and third mission quality groups”, to which the Director assigns various operational functions within the research QA system:

  • planning and checking the established research QA objectives, taking account of the related SUA-RD deadlines;
  • reviewing the departmental research activities, taking account of the related SUA-RD deadlines;
  • reporting to the Department Board, at least once every year, on the performance of the Self-Assessment System via the SUA-RD.

If a group is not established, the Director indicates in the policy document (section B2 of the SUA-RD) which committee, for example the research committee, or individuals are responsible for carrying out the above activities. The Department Board is responsible for approving the principal strategy, planning and self-assessment documents, which set out its research and third mission objectives, as well as the quality policy and the documents detailing the outcome of review activities. These documents, signed by the Directors, are then held on the document management system of the SUA-RD. In terms of internal communications, the Department Research Delegates maintain relations with the Vice Rector for research, the University Quality Committee and the general administration, to ensure that the management system works properly. Consistent with the ANVUR decision to make public the majority of the information reported in the SUAs of all Italian Universities and Departments, Departments may strengthen their external communications by publishing the sections they consider most significant on their websites. These might include, in particular, those relating to their management system, such as their research objectives, organisational structure, quality policies and third mission guidelines.