Sorrow and gladness oft journey together
“Sorrow and gladness oft journey together” is the name of an old hymn. That’s how it is in our faculty as well. Fortunately it’s mostly gladness, mainly because of a whole-hearted effort by our skilful employees and students. We would like to thank all of them for everything they have done for the Faculty this year, and we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
There is much to be happy about. The introduction of Oslo2014 is proceeding according to plan. Planning and implementing a new medicine curriculum is a very demanding exercise and could not have been carried out without a great, enthusiastic effort by the project management and professors.
Many professors have had to shoulder extra work in order to teach both the old and new curricula during the same semester. We are very proud of the new curriculum. The final stage in the transition will be completed next year. After that, we will start work on a revision of the Master’s Degree programmes.
Scientia Fellows and career development
The Scientia Fellow (SF) programme is one of our “flagships”. The programme was fully implemented this year by recruiting the last 42 of a total of 82 post-doctoral research fellows. The feedback from these post-doc fellows and from the research groups where they work has been very positive. Thanks to performance-based funding from the Ministry of Education and Research, which we received because of the SF programme, we have also been able to establish a career development programme for young researchers (“the post-doctoral research fellow programme”).
In addition to courses and a mentoring scheme, the post-doctoral fellows are offered specialization in research management and research supervision, along with training in filling out applications for more national and international research funding. The final stage of the programme is the School of Health Innovation, which has been established in cooperation with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Royal Caroline Institute (Karolinska instituttet). Next year, we will apply to the EU for funding of a new SF programme.
The struggle for external funding
Many of our research groups have been successful in the extremely tough competition for external research funding. In recent weeks, many of the research groups, have, for example, been granted support from the Norwegian Cancer Society and from the Research Council of Norway’s Fripro programme. The fact that the Faculty has no less than five out of a total of seven candidates nationally in the field of health in the Research Council’s final round of the competition for new Centres of Excellence indicates our world-class level of research. It has also been gratifying that the Faculty was awarded one of the two new Jebsen Centres for Medical Research, and two of our Jebsen Centres were awarded an additional two-year extension.
With more than 1,800 published items annually, more than 600 research projects and nearly 1,500 PhD students, it is unavoidable that there will at times be problems. The Faculty is working hard to reduce the risk of any deviations.
Together with Oslo University Hospital (OUS), we have developed an online training course in data protection and information security for research, PIFF. This gives everyone who is involved in research necessary information for conducting research in keeping with laws and regulations.
Since special requirements have been set for managers and heads of research groups, we will also conduct a training programme aimed at these leaders.
The good results achieved by our Faculty would not have been possible without particularly dedicated and devoted administrative and scientific leaders at all levels. Skilled leaders who are capable of developing the skills of their employees are extremely important for a well-functioning organization. At times, the administrative work may be extremely challenging, but it is precisely in difficult situations that we need clear and decisive leadership. We only succeed as leaders when our employees also succeed.
UiO faces substantial challenges with the maintenance of many old buildings. Together with an increased need for investment in digital support systems for research and education and training and requirements from the authorities to improve efficiency by 0.8%, this has resulted in sizeable budget cuts for the faculties. Together with increased rental costs for externally leased premises, this has confronted us with a budgetary shortfall of about NOK 35 million next year.
We hope the new budget model, where the departments are allowed to keep all of the earnings they gain from operating more efficiently, will help us resolve these budgeting challenges. In order to prevent the entire bill for the cuts from being sent to the departments and academic institutes, the Faculty Management – and the administration – will assume more than its share of the cuts.
Major demands will be made of all of us in any case, but if we work together, we will prevail. We have no other choice.