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Norway’s first postdoctoral fellowship programme

The faculty is now establishing the first structured career development programme for postdoctoral fellows in Norway. The faculty’s postdoctoral fellows and other researchers following a similar professional training path will receive individualized support for their career development.

Photo of Hilde I. Nebb

Hilde I. Nebb. Photo: UiO

New requirements for career development

If we were to list all the roles that a modern academic is expected to fill during his/her career – often within one working day – the list would be long.

So far, those of us engaged in research training in Norway have been content to focus on our main role – the researcher role. This is no longer enough. A new UHR Report (June 2015) on career policy states the following:

‘The institutions do not only need to recruit to their own units, but also to the global academic community and the rest of society.’

Therefore, we as a faculty have a responsibility to prepare our researchers in recruitment positions to fill a variety of roles in a complex knowledge society.

In our first dean period, we focused on rejuvenating the PhD programme by developing new courses and new procedures for quality assurance and appointing PhD coordinators at our three institutes to increase interaction between the faculty, institute and individual candidate. We have already achieved good results in this regard. We will now extend this initiative to the career development of researchers at postdoctoral level.

The postdoctoral fellowship programme at the faculty

We are now setting up the first structured career development programme for postdoctoral fellows in Norway. The aim of the new programme is to give the faculty’s postdoctoral fellows and researchers on a professional training path the individualized support they need to develop their careers.

Postdoctoral fellows currently comprise a large proportion of the faculty’s employees. Through the COFUND-funded programme Scientia Fellows, which started in 2014, the faculty will recruit a total of about 75 international postdoctoral fellows over a period of five years. In addition, the faculty currently has about 100 postdoctoral fellows who are funded from other sources. Other researchers at the faculty who need support for their career development can also take advantage of the postdoctoral fellowship programme.

The postdoctoral fellowship programme will include competence-enhancing measures in a number of areas such as career planning, innovation, supervision, research management, preparation of grant applications, research ethics and interdisciplinary collaboration. We will offer a wide range of courses, mentoring schemes, tailored careers advice and other relevant forms of support.

Courses in career development with a February start

The programme’s first module, Career and Leadership Course for Postdoctors at the Faculty of Medicine, will start in February. The course will focus on the following main topics:

  • Awareness of your own career and strategic career planning
  • Personal development and work/life balance

Understanding your own organization and workplace culture

The course will be led by Monika Janfelt, who has extensive experience in the career development of young researchers and has a background as a researcher with a PhD in history. In addition, several of the faculty's leading researchers and research directors will be involved in teaching the course.

A committed team

Professor Eivind Engebretsen is employed in a 50% position as the head of research at the faculty and has academic responsibility for the postdoctoral fellowship programme. He works with me as the dean of research and staff in the research administration department on developing the various programme modules. We will soon have an exciting, broad-based and effective career development programme for postdoctoral fellows.

By Hilde I. Nebb
Published June 8, 2016 10:40 AM - Last modified June 16, 2016 9:53 AM