UiO's guidelines on extension for doctoral and post-doctoral research fellows due to closure of the university and the corona situation
Adopted by the University Director on 6 April, 2020, revised 27 July 2020.
On 12 March, 2020, the Norwegian Directorate of Health decided to close kindergartens, schools and educational institutions, including the country's universities. UiO employees was at that point working from home unless they had been specifically requested to come to work at campus. This also applied to our Doctoral Research Fellows.
Doctoral Research Fellows are a particularly vulnerable group in that they work within a separate framework of employment for research training. The employer is responsible for making sure that fellows carry out their work from home to the greatest possible extent. UiO fellows take part in different forms of research training, and we welcome their suggestions on how they may adapt to the current situation within the boundaries set for their positions. Nevertheless, fellows may still be delayed in their work, and UiO wants to make use of opportunities in today´s employment framework to consider extensions for fellows who find that their work is being delayed by lack of access to UiO´s buildings.
It is pointed out that a fellow's right to extension in accordance with statutory and tariff regulations will be in addition to the guidelines for extensions on the basis of individual assessment described in this memorandum. If, for example, fellows have caregiver responsibilities for children that prevent them working from home because of closed kindergartens and schools, these will be granted an extension when the total absence amounts to ten or more working days. During this period, UiO will not require the absence to be continuous.
After closer assessment, UiO has come to the conclusion that the guidelines for extension of research fellows must also be applied to post-doctoral fellows.
Doctoral and post-doctoral fellows should be granted extensions if they have been effectively prevented in their research progression as a result of the corona situation. Since employees in these two groups have different research tasks and find themselves at different stages of their research education, extensions must be considered after a concrete and individual treatment.
In this specific situation, doctoral and post-doctoral fellows may be granted extensions on the basis of Section 2-3 (6) of the regulations, if there are special circumstances that have hindered the progression of the researcher´s education. Such circumstances could be about extensive caregiver responsibilities and unforeseen impediments of a work nature that cannot be blamed on the fellows. In such instances, it must be substantiated that the research progress has been hampered by the corona situation.
Extensions will be considered on the basis of an individual, concrete, factual and comprehensive assessment of whether the doctoral/post-doctoral fellow has in fact been delayed in his/her research education. The appointing body decides on an extension (at faculty/institute or equivalent level) according to the rules for governing bodies, upon application by the fellows.
The appointing authority is asked to use the following as a basis for deciding on extensions:
- The degree to which doctoral/post-doctoral fellows have in fact been delayed in their work as a result of the corona situation.
- The significance of the delay for the completion of the doctorate/project and the imminence of the final date for the research position.
- The nature of the research education/project, and whether the research education is theoretically directed, empirically directed, and/or experimentally oriented. What access is required to labs, fields, premises and equipment, etc.
- Other special circumstances that cause significant delay and which are beyond the employee's responsibility and control, such as that the supervisor (s) are delayed in providing necessary feedback.