Ingrid Lossius Falkum
Candidate for the University Board among permanent employees with teaching and research positions.
Ingrid Lossius Falkum, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, Faculty of Humanities.
- Sverre Stausland Johnsen, Professor, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, HF
- Ragnhild Eskeland, Associate Professor, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, MED
- Marte Blikstad-Balas, Professor, Department of Teacher Education and School Research, UV
- Aike Peter Rots, Associate Professor, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, HF
- Katerini Storeng, Associate Professor, Centre for Development and Environment
- Alexander Refsum Jensenius, Professor, RITMO Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion
- Heidi Østbø Haugen, Professor, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, HF
- Maja Janmyr, Professor, Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, JUS
- Imac Maria Zambrana, Associate Professor, Department of Special Needs Education, UV
- Hilde Kanli Galtung, Professor, Institute of Oral Biology, ODONT
- Are Skeie Hermansen, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, SV
- Franziska Köder, Researcher, Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan, HF
- Gry Oftedal, Researcher, Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, HF
- Kate Vivi Rasch, Lecturer, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, HF
- Jørgen Bølstad, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, SV
- Øystein Linnebo, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, HF
- Hilde Reinertsen, Researcher, TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, SV
The climate crisis poses challenges to our society’s technological, democratic, human and scientific capacities that can only be solved through interdisciplinary research efforts at a high international level. Political polarization, “fake news”, vaccine resistance and climate denial all challenge the position of science. While the social responsibility of our academic institutions is greater and more acutely significant than perhaps ever before, we can no longer take academic freedom for granted. In such a time, it makes sense to be involved in university politics.
I stand for election as a representative of the permanent academic staff because I wish to be a responsive, inclusive and pro-active spokesperson for the commitment that exists among UiO employees in areas such as these:
- Academic freedom: We must defend academic freedom proactively, as a prerequisite for scientific quality. The university democracy, including a democratically elected rector, is essential to ensuring the institution's autonomy and academic freedom. The finance and management system at UiO must support, not undermine, our core academic values and the scientific priorities of the underlying units.
- Interdisciplinary research and teaching: Interdisciplinarity should be more than a term used in celebratory speeches cast from the top-down. We must reduce organizational, administrative and financial barriers to this type of research and teaching in order to facilitate the growth of bottom-up, innovative interdisciplinary research.
- Inclusive HR policy and diverse recruitment: UiO shall pursue a predictable and non-discriminatory HR policy that gives academic staff equal access to career development, while at the same time ensuring open and international competition for permanent, combined positions. The HR policy shall ensure a diverse university, where the employees reflect the general population to a greater extent than today, and that the proportion of female professors is less out of step with the gender balance that exists at PhD level.
I have broad experience from working with research and university policy issues. As chair of the Young Academy of Norway (2020-2021), I have gained insight into national and international research policy issues and the everyday life of researchers and lecturers coming from various disciplines and institutions in Norway. As deputy chair of the local UiO branch of the Norwegian Association of Researchers (2020-2022), I work actively with issues related to UiO's HR policy. In the outgoing UiO board, I represented the fixed-term staff with research and teaching positions for two periods (2017-2019). This experience taught me how to work inclusively, proactively and efficiently as a board representative.
Through these positions of trust, I have been met with approval in important university policy issues. During my time on the UiO board, for instance, I took the initiative for the decision that fixed term employees in researcher positions should have a right to an extension of their employment contract in cases of parental leave, equally to fixed-term employees in postdoc and PhD positions. I got approval for the idea that female researchers, not just postdocs and associate professors, should have a right to participate in UiO's mentoring program for female staff, and for a revision of UiO's Personnel Regulations that ensures that scientific employees of both sexes are represented on hiring committees for director positions and other academic leadership positions that require professor competence.
I am an associate professor of linguistics and philosophy of communication, with a shared position between the Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies/MultiLing (ILN) and the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas (IFIKK) at HF. I am currently PI on the project DEVCOM, funded by an ERC Starting Grant, and the RCN-project Creativity and Convention in Pragmatic Development. I hold a PhD in linguistics from University College London, and have been a researcher and postdoctoral fellow associated with the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature (CSMN), a former CoE at IFIKK. I spent part of my postdoctoral period as a visiting researcher at Stanford University.
Most of my free time I spend with my three little boys aged four, seven and nine - a great privilege!
Detailed election platform
In order for UiO to be able to fulfill its social mission, the academic freedom of its scientific communities must be protected and not subjected to undue pressure, neither from politicians, bureaucrats, clients nor commercial interests.
The institutions should be able to decide for themselves whether they want an internal or external chairperson of the board. I am a principled supporter of the university democracy and that elections are held for important positions. An elected rector as chairperson of the board provides a clear academic leadership of the institution and an institutional anchoring in the employees. This also supports the institution's autonomy and academic freedom.
Internally at UiO, academic freedom puts limits on how the leadership, administration and colleagues can act towards the individual employee in academic matters. During the previous board period, academic freedom came under strong pressure in the matter concerning the decision on the organization and running of the “student clinics” at the Department of Psychology. As a representative of the fixed-term employees, I participated in working out the university board decision which ensured the participation of students and employees in this matter. Ensuring academic freedom is a leadership responsibility. This should be included as a topic in UiO’s management courses.
Priority to scientific considerations
To ensure that scientific considerations are given weight in important decisions, academic staff must be adequately represented on boards at all levels of the organization. I believe that young researchers, who are often represented by fixed-term employees in short-term board positions, should have a stronger voice in the UiO leadership. Young and outstanding researchers from other institutions should be able to be appointed as external board members at UiO, providing an alternative to today’s practice of appointing representatives from the business sector.
UiO's financial system for the distribution of funding between the basic units must be used to promote academic freedom, and must not work against or across this as the financial system to some extent does today. There should be a better connection between UiO's strategic goals and the financial and budget system so that these pull in the same direction. This also applies to the management of the University of Oslo's properties and buildings, which must be based on and adapted to the scientific activities that take place there.
Interdisciplinary research and teaching
Interdisciplinarity is central to my own research, and increased interdisciplinary research activity is a strategically important goal for UiO, which I am passionate about. However, we know that interdisciplinary research can be difficult to achieve in practice because UiO's organizational and financial model and administrative systems are not adapted to such activity. In addition, few permanent positions are advertised within interdisciplinary research fields.
The outgoing board has identified many of the challenges associated with interdisciplinary activity. In the coming board period, I will work to ensure that the UiO board adopts and implements measures to help reduce organizational, administrative and financial obstacles to this type of research and teaching. This will be particularly important in the further development of UiO:LifeScience and its interaction with other disciplines within the natural sciences, as well as the humanities and social sciences.
Promoting free and curiosity-driven research
UiO shall defend free, curiosity-driven basic research. In my opinion, large, top-down research initiatives must be used with caution. High-quality academic environments are often a result of the bottom-up, free and curiosity-driven scientific activities of the researchers themselves. For the ambition to develop more leading international research environments to become a reality, we need additional, and more predictable measures than the few that exist today, which are mainly the Norwegian Centre of Excellence scheme and the ERC. How UiO should work to bring out more internationally leading research environments, including how this should be reflected in financial priorities, will be an important debate for the new board.
I would like to work for a greater participation from academic environments at UiO in Horizon Europe. The increased expectations that our research should solve important societal challenges do not necessarily stand in opposition to free and curiosity-driven research. Rather, the challenge is perhaps more for us researchers to become better at seeing and using our relevance where it exists.
Furthermore, it must be possible to conduct high-quality research at UiO without being dependent on external funding.
We need a stronger link between research and education, including the facilitation of more student-centered "investigative learning processes" that stimulate critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving abilities. Inviting students to become research assistants on projects is one of several ways to do this. In a time of increasing polarization, democracy under pressure and the emergence of new ethical issues related to public health, climate and migration, a strong ex.phil is also more important than ever.
Diversity and equality
We must ensure a greater diversity at UiO, including recruiting more Norwegian-born descendants of immigrants to academic positions. The still too low proportion of women in professor and academic leadership positions at UiO shows that the recently adopted action plan for diversity, gender equality and inclusion (2020-2023) must be followed up with concrete measures and improvements. In addition, we must make better use of the cognitive diversity that already exists at UiO, represented inter alia by our many international researchers. More diversity and a better gender balance in academia will contribute to greater diversity in research questions and approaches and thereby increase the research quality.
The quality of the university suffers when not everyone is given equal opportunities to assert themselves. It should be a matter of course that all employees, regardless of gender and background, have an equal right to an inclusive and safe working environment.
Recruitment and career development
UiO must discontinue the practices that discriminate against fixed-term academic staff. As an employer, UiO is responsible for pursuing an inclusive, predictable and non-discriminatory HR policy in which academic staff have equal opportunities to qualify for permanent, combined positions through teaching and research. This applies to PhD students, postdocs, researchers and lecturers. Such an HR policy does not stand in opposition to an open and international competition for positions. Recruitment processes for permanent, combined positions, including assessments of academic career paths, are also an area where I believe we need a more general discussion across UiO.
We must use the postdoctoral position as a real qualifying position, which gives young, talented researchers the opportunity to acquire the necessary competence to compete for permanent positions in Norway as well as abroad.