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Guidelines concerning appointment to post doctoral and research posts at UiO

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide an overview in a single document of regulations governing the appointment process for post doctoral research fellows and research scholarship holders.

These guidelines are supplementary for UiO to Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow), stipendiat (research fellow), vitenskapelig assistent (research assistant) and spesialistkandidat (resident) and comprise general regulations, procedural stipulations and provisions providing the framework for UiO's implementation of the statute.

The provisions of the statute of the Ministry of Education and Research are reproduced below in italics under the various points of the document, but they can be read integrally at the link provided above.

Point 1: Extent and scope of action, and the Ministry's regulation concerning appointment to post doctoral research and research fellow positions

  1. The following guidelines are in force for appointment to research fellow and post doctoral research positions.

  2. The Ministry has made the following stipulations concerning appointment to the position of post doctoral research fellow:

    § 1-2 Postdoktor (Post-doctoral research fellow)

    1. The main objective of appointment as a postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow) is to qualify for work in senior academic posts. Appointees are required to hold doctoral degrees.

    2. Use of posts such as postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow) is restricted to institutions with the right to award doctoral degrees.

    3. When applying for a post-doctoral research fellowship, the applicant shall submit a project proposal for the qualifying work. This proposal shall include a progress plan. It is required that the applicant will be able to complete the project during the period of appointment.

    4. The fixed term of the appointment shall be from two to four years. In the case of an appointment for more than two years the employer shall decide whether the employee shall be assigned compulsory duties in the form of teaching and similar work and the scope of any such compulsory duties.

    5. A plan shall be prepared for the implementation of the project that constitutes the basis on which appointment to a post-doctoral research fellowship is made. This plan shall be included as part of, or as an annex to, the contract of employment for the fixed-term post and shall include a project description and progress plan.

    6. The scope of any compulsory duties must be set out in the plan.

    7. The plan must include information concerning the person(s) responsible for academic supervision of the employee . Both the supervisor and the employee are obliged to notify the employer of any failure to carry out the plan.

  3. The Ministry has made the following stipulations concerning appointment to the position of research fellow:

    § 1-3 Stipendiat (Research fellow)

    1. The objective of a research fellowship is completion of research training to the level of a doctoral degree.

    2. The objective of a research fellowship in the arts within the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowships Programme is an academic qualification at the level of associate professor.

    3. The normal fixed term of appointment is four years with 25 per cent compulsory duties. The period of appointment shall include three years of pure research training.

    4. The appointing authority shall decide the total length of the period in each case. Due consideration shall be paid to the scope of the compulsory duties, the necessary time frame and plan for completion of the project and the financial basis of the project.

    5. A shorter period of appointment may be decided when the research fellow has already completed parts of his or her research training programme or when the appointment is based on a previous qualifying post (research fellow, research assistant, or the like) in such a way that the total time used for research training amounts to three years.

    6. Within the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowships Programme the research fellowship period is stipulated to be three years.

    7. Should the employer decide in a specific case to grant an application for 50 per cent or more part-time employment during the whole or part of the period, the period of appointment may be extended in such a way that research training or artistic development work is equal to three years full-time equivalent.

    8. Admission to a doctoral degree programme is a condition for appointment as a research fellow. The final plan for research training shall be approved and regulated by contract at the latest three months after the appointment is taken up. The final date for admission to a doctoral degree programme must be stated in the contract of employment. The final date for submission of the final plan for the research training shall also be stated. The plan shall state the name of the person assigned the duty of supervising the research fellow. If an agreement concerning admission to a doctoral degree programme has not been concluded within the time limit stated in the contract of employment, this may give grounds for termination of the contract of employment by the employer.

    9. Transfer to another doctoral degree programme may only be carried out by agreement with the employer. Transfer to a doctoral degree programme other than that stipulated by the contract of employment except by agreement with the employer may give grounds for termination of the contract of employment.

    10. Admission by the board of the Programme for Research Fellowships in the Arts is a condition for appointment as a research fellow within the research fellowship programme for the arts.

    11. Each year, a report shall be submitted concerning the progress of the organized research training. The research fellow and supervisor are jointly responsible for the report.

    12. The distribution of duties between research training and compulsory duties shall be stated in the contract of employment. The content of the compulsory duties besides research training should also be specified, cf. section 1-3 (13) and (14). It shall be specified which doctoral degree programme the research fellow is attached to.

    13. Compulsory duties besides research should as far as possible be relevant to the doctoral programme. Administrative duties shall be limited and should not normally constitute more than ten per cent of the total annual working hours.

    14. The institutions shall lay down their own guidelines for the content of the compulsory duties and for the distribution of duties during the period of appointment. The employer must ensure that such duties do not exceed the specified limit.

      With reference to Section 1-3 (1) of the Regulations, the Ministry of Education and Research has confirmed that a person who has obtained a doctor's degree in a specific field cannot be appointed again to a position aimed at carrying out a doctoral programme in the same field.

  4. For both post doctoral research fellow and research fellow, the following shall apply:

    • § 2-1 Appointment for a fixed term

      1. No-one may be employed for more than one fixed term in the same category of post at the same institution.

      2. A contract of employment for a fixed-term post may not include provisions concerning severance pay.

    • § 2-2 Working hours 

      Employees shall be covered by the statutes and agreements concerning working hours, holiday and sick leave that apply at any time.
  5. The following supplementary stipulations are in force for the University of Oslo: 

Point 2: Public announcement of vacant post doctoral research and research fellowship positions

Vacant positions shall normally be announced publicly.

Public announcements of vacant post doctoral research and research fellow positions are to be disseminated internationally.

Announcements of vacant research fellow and post doctoral research positions shall be made by authorities responsible for appointments.

Information to be comprised in the public announcement are found in UiO's templates for public announcements for postdoctoral research fellow positions andresearch fellow positions including:

  • standard information concerning the basic academic unit, field of study/applicable subject areas, work duties, qualification criteria and period of employment, salary for the position, required enclosures to the application and the individuals to whom application is to be submitted.

  • standard wordings (invitation to women to apply when women are underrepresented in the targeted position group, referral to UiO's agreement of acceptance, etc.)

As expressed in the announcement template, applicants may initially be invited to send in only a brief application, preferably in digital form, including the grounds for applying and a project proposal and CV, along with a list of publications. This alternative procedure may be expedient whenever there are a large number of applicants, and particularly for the position of post doctoral research fellow. See Point 3 concerning the use of a sorting committee.

The requirement put forth in the announcement to submit a project description and progress schedule shall not apply for those applying for defined research project positions in which the project description itself provides the basis of the public announcement.

The listing of the types of information the public announcement shall contain takes into account appointments made both with and without expert assessment, and must be adjusted to suit the individual appointment in question.

Deadline for application is a minimum of three weeks' time. It should be assessed in each case whether to extend the announced deadline in order to give applicants sufficient time to develop a project description and to facilitate recruitment of candidates in foreign countries.

Division into position groups for quota-based allocation in compliance with UiO's affirmative action agreement under the State Master Agreement (§ 21) comprises 1) scientific educational positions, 2) scientific intermediate group positions and 3) scientific leadership positions. The individual institute shall normally be the basis for quota-based allocation, but if special circumstances warrant, the faculty or field of study can be the basis for quota-based allocation.

In the event advisory or appointing authorities wish to depart from the qualification requirements put forth in the public announcement on any particular point, or any error has been made that can be construed as having an impact on applications made, the position shall normally be publicly announced once again.

The position may be re-announced if an inordinate amount of time has passed since the initial public announcement or if circumstances have changed appreciably; likewise, re-announcement may be made if it is found that a sufficient number of qualified applicants have not applied and it is reasonable to expect that a new public announcement may reverse this.

Point 3: Requirements for composition of committees in the assessment process

In the assessment process it may be expedient to use one or more of the committees mentioned below.

Criteria for appointment to a committee:

  1. Composed in accordance with the requirements for the position disseminated in the public announcement.

  2. At least three members

  3. At least two should be competent at the level of the position in question

  4. Both genders shall be represented

Point 4: Use of a sorting committee

Whenever there are many applicants for a position, it may be practical to use a sorting committee, particularly for post doctoral research positions.

The sorting committee may, if need be, merge with a nominating committee or equivalent by conducting an initial selection for further consideration: see description below.

  1. The tasks of the sorting committee

    Prior to consideration by an appointed panel of experts or by a nominating committee or the equivalent (See point 4), the applications can be reviewed, as an alternative, by a sorting committee, who can invite from five to ten of the most attractive applicants to submit a complete application, includings a submitted sample of publications.

    The sorting committee has two choices:

    1. They may conclude that there are too few or no qualified applicants, that the position vacancy should be re-announced, or that it should not be re-announced at the present time.

    2. They may issue a brief, reasoned proposal to the expert panel (if such a panel has been appointed) or to the nominating committee/nomnating organ stating which applicants they find most attractive and warrant being retained for consideration, without conducting any form of ranking. A brief explanation shall be given for why rejected applicants have been found unsuitable for further assessment.

    If there is doubt within the sorting committee as to whether an applicant is suitable for consideration, the applicant shall always be included in further assessment. All applications, however, are sent to the panel of experts/nominating committee or equivalent, who are then free to assess more applications than the sorting committee found worthy of further consideration.

    The sorting committee shall conduct their work bearing in mind UiO's goal to recruit more women to scientific positions.

  2. Appointment

    The sorting committee is appointed by the nominating organ or its authorized proxy and is the preliminary organ for the nominating authority.

Point 5: Appointment of the (nominating) committee with responsibility for assessing applicants

In accordance with the Act relating to universities and university colleges Section 6-3 (3), the requirement stipulating assessment by a panel of experts may be departed from for teaching and research positions that are not senior positions or professorships.

The procedure without the use of an expert committee: In order to simplify the nominating process, the nominating authority or its authorized proxy may appoint a nominating committee comprised of three to five persons to assess the academic qualifications and personal suitability of candidates for a given position. The group shall conduct an interview and solicit references and shall reach a consensus for recommendation to the nominating authority. See requirements concerning composition of the committee in Point 3.

Point 6: Assessment of applicants

In the evaluation of applicants for post doctoral positions, weight shall be given to documented, academic qualifications, the project description (whenever this is required in the call for applicants), the quality of the project and personal suitability of the candidate.

In the evaluation of applicants for research fellow (PhD position), weight shall be given to their aptitude to be able to complete the research training programme. The evaluation is based primarily on documented, academic qualifications, the project description (whenever this is required in the call for applicants, see Point 2), the quality of the project and personal suitability of the candidate.

As a general rule, an interview shall be conducted during the appointment process.

In its statement, the nominating committee normally shall maximally rank the three best suited applicants.

Point 7: Impartiality

It should be established to the greatest extent possible that those who shall assess the applicants do not have any close relationship to any of the applicants or may derive any benefit or disadvantage by virtue of assessing any of them. Simple acquaintance with a candidate, however, does not entail impartiality. Members of the nominating organ and panel of experts have an obligation to assess their own impartiality and, upon appointment, to divulge any circumstances that may entail impartiality.

Point 8: Nominating authority

The nominating organ pursuant to the rules for administrative organs (Normal rules for faculties and Normal rules for institutes, regulations for museums, administrative regulations for the faculties and the rules for centres).

Point 9: Nomination

  1. Assessment of applicants

    Assessment of applicants is conducted in accordance with Pt. 4 and Pt. 5 above.

  2. Ranking

    Normally three applicants shall be nominated and ranked in order of priority whenever there are several qualified applicants for the position. A rationale explaining the applicants' ranking by priority shall be submitted.

    Ranking of applicants shall comply with UiO's rules for quota allocation, see Pt. 10.

    Should there be any dissent within the nominating organ, the differing points of view shall be accounted for and a voting protocol shall be included in the case documents.

    A written recommendation for nomination shall be submitted on the basis of

    • the text of the vacancy announcement and description of the position.

    • an expert assessment, when included

    • a proposal from the nominating committee, when included

    • reports of interviews and references obtained concerning personal suitability for the position

  3. Exemption from public access, right of access and information to applicants

    Applicants requesting it may be given access pursuant to regulations of the Public Administration Act Ch. 5 concerning access by parties in cases pertaining to civil service employment. It is important to provide good information about progress in the casework in order to cater to the interests of applicants during the employment process.

Point 10: Appointing authority

The appointing organ pursuant to the rules for administrative organs (Normal rules for faculties and Normal rules for institutes, regler for fakulteter og Normalregler for institutter, regulations for museums, administrative regulations for the faculties and the rules for centres).

Appointment to a position as post doctoral research fellow and research fellow is made on the basis of the nomination.

Extension of leave of absence on the basis of legal and tariff-regulated leaves of absence can be decided by the administration.

Point 11: Appointment

In the event the appointing authority finds that several applicants are approximately equally suitable for the position, the applicants of the gender that is underrepresented in the position group in question shall be ranked ahead of the others, pursuant to the rules of UiO's affirmative action agreement.

When the appointing organ has made its decision concerning the applicant to be appointed, a project plan, in addition to the contract of employment, is to be prepared for post doctoral positions and a research training plan for research fellowship positions.

It is a requirement that post doctoral candidates who are appointed for a four-year period acquire basic teaching competence during the employment period. An exception applies for those who do not have teaching responsibilities in the position or who do not have a command of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language. See Rules for the practice of the requirement for basic teaching competence at UiO.

Point 12: Fixed-term period

The normal fixed-term period is three years for post doctoral research fellow and four years for research fellow. See Point 13 concerning work duties within the fixed-term period.

Point 13: Work duties (compulsory work)

Work duties assigned shall be ancillary to the position's objective in accordance with Sections 1-2 and 1-3 of the regulation.

For postdoctoral research fellow:
The employer can require the employee to carry out competence-giving compulsory work in the form of teaching or corresponding tasks.

In order to avoid hampering the research process, the compulsory work shall be limited to 25 per cent of the position when the period of employment exceeds three years. When the period is more than two years and up until and including three years, the compulsory work shall be limited to 10 per cent of the posilton. As an exception, up to 25 per cent clinical work can be assigned in cases where there is a need to maintain clinical competence in the post doctoral position in view of subsequent employment.

For research fellow:

  1. The normal fixed-term period is four years with 25 per cent compulsory work duties.. The period of employment shall comprise three years of pure research training. Reference is made to the Ministry's regulation, Section 1-3.

  2. Compulsory work should yield relevant and varied competence for a future career in academia, social and business life. Examples of relevant compulsory work:

    • Assist in teaching, laboratory and practicum supervision, counselling and exam work

    • Assist in collecting and adapting materials for teaching

    • Provide training in the use and operation of the research infrastructure

    • Assist other researchers or research groups in various types of research

    • Participate in other qualifying work at the institute/unit, such as dissemination, exhibition and collection tasks, library, consultancy and reporting tasks

    • Clinical activities

Point 14: Extension of employment and leaves of absence

  1. The Ministry has made the following stipulations concerning appointment to positions such as post doctoral research fellow and research fellow:

    § 2-3 Leave and extension of the period of appointment

    (1) With the exception of research assistants, leave to which employees are entitled pursuant to statutes or collective agreements shall not be taken into account in connection with the calculation of the period of appointment. The same shall apply to leading representatives in national organizations for these posts.

    (2) Extension shall be granted for reduced working hours owing to care of children and close family pursuant to section 10-2, fourth paragraph, of the Working Environment Act.

    (3) Leave may be granted to take up short-term temporary teaching and research posts, overseas fellowships and the like when this may be done without delaying the progress of the post-doctoral research fellowship project, doctoral degree course, artistic development work or specialist training by more than half a year. In such cases, the period of appointment may be extended correspondingly.

    (4) Decisions concerning extension of the period of appointment shall be taken by the appointing body.

    (5) In order to give grounds for extension, absence must amount to at least two continuous weeks.

    (6) In the case of research fellows, the appointing body may in specific cases grant extension of the period of appointment owing to circumstances that have precluded the progression of the research training. Such circumstances may be special care burdens or unforeseen obstacles of a work nature for which the research fellow cannot be held responsible. When such circumstances result in delays, extension of the period of appointment may be granted, provided that the research fellow will be able to complete the research training before the expiry of the extension period.

    (7) In the case of sick leave of less than two weeks’ duration for post-doctoral research fellows and research fellows with compulsory duties, such leave should be distributed proportionately between the research work and the compulsory duties.

    (8) In the case of research fellows with compulsory duties, two or more short legitimate absences of less than two weeks may give grounds for the exclusive reduction of the compulsory duties part when deemed necessary in order that the research fellow shall be able to complete the research training within the period of appointment.

  2. Addendum and clarification applying to the University of Oslo:

    For leaves of absence employees are entitled to according to law or collective agreements, cf. Regulation § 2-3, extension of employment is granted for holidays after e.g. parental leave or prolonged sick leave. Extension is not granted for holidays taken in connection with the leave of absence, but the extension is calculated on the basis of the length of the leave of absence.

    The framework for leaves of absence and ordinary absence pursuant to the General Collective Agreement is found in the Norwegian State Personnel Handbook. For example, additional leave of absence beyond the established nine months for breastfeeding mothers requires certification from a doctor or public health centre. Employers must be notified within more precisely defined deadlines for paid leaves of absence for pregnancy, maternity, adoption and breastfeeding.

    Cf. Regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at UiO, Section 5-3, for the maximum duration of doctoral degree programmes.

§ 2-3 nr. 6: A period of employment may be extended beyond the legal and tariff-regulated period of leave of absence if special circumstances warrant. In such cases it must be shown that research progress has been hampered to a significant degree.

Published Aug. 10, 2010 8:43 AM - Last modified Apr. 23, 2021 2:21 PM