Below follows the general update sent out to member organisations in may 2021.
Crisis package for early career researchers
Without doubt one of the most pressing items on anyone’s agenda in the last months, has been the contract extensions for temporary researchers. Despite extensive lobbying by SiN, the Academy for Young Researchers and the labour unions, PhD fellows and postdocs have received compensation with varying degrees of success across Norway – a consequence of the decentralized institutional response and local financial and organisational realities affecting implementation of the extension policy at different universities and faculties. To ensure enough funding to extend every researcher on a fixed-term contract by at least 2-3 months, a grassroots initiative of PhD fellows from NIH, NTNU, UiA and UiB launched a petition to include a “crisis package for young researchers” in the national budget, to be presented at Stortinget next Tuesday.
The petition has already been signed by 600 people and counting. SiN has already supported this initiative in the media – if you’re local organisation would like to contribute to the call for crisis funding, please disseminate this widely among your members.
- Petition: https://www.opprop.net/krisepakke_for_yngre_forskere
- News article: https://www.forskerforum.no/vi-krever-krisepakke-til-den-mest-sarbare-gruppen-i-akademia/
Consultations from the Ministry of Education & Research and the Universities Council
This summer we will witness the culmination of several long-term processes that have investigated the current job structure and assessment for recruitment and promotion within Norwegian academia.
The ministry is working on its “long-term plan” (LTP) for research and higher education (2023-2032), for which it is asking multiple rounds of input through regional meetings and a national hearing with a deadline on 10 September. SiN will formulate a position based on the input of its member organisation; you will receive a request to contribute to this in due course. In the mean time, more information on this process can be found here, and SiN’s contribution to the first regional meeting (on 1 June) will be a topic for discussion at the next Quarterly Meeting.
Simultaneously, the Universities Council (UHR) is aiming to revise the “job structure” (stillingsstruktur) for academic positions in Norway, with major changes to the role of postdocs and promotion along different career paths. The report is open for commentary by all universities, and can be read here. While SiN has not been formally invited to respond to this consultation, we encourage all PhD and postdoc interest organisations to take a close look at the proposal and make the voices of your members heard by consulting with your university management, who will have to submit their response by 23 August.
This report is accompanied by a new “guide for the assessment of academic careers”, which proposes new principles for broader assessment and more diversity in academia, among others. The guide can be found here, and is open for comments by both institutions (including your universities!) and individual scientific staff before 1 June, so feel free to disseminate this to everyone who might be interested.
Parallel to this, the ministry has developed its own strategy for researcher recruitment and career development, based on the outcome of a report published by NIFU highlighting the difficulties of postdocs in getting a permanent position. The strategy has major implications for the use of PhD and postdoc positions in Norway and is subject to a formal consultation, to which everyone can reply, with a deadline of 16 June. In addition to any reply you may submit on your own organisation’s behalf, SiN will formulate a position on behalf of all its members, to be discussed at the next Quarterly Meeting.
Lastly, the ministry has opened a consultation on changes to the regulations for self-financing, making it easier for people (with work experience) to pay for their education alongside their part-time jobs. The consultation is open to all, and has a deadline of 27 July.
QUARTERLY MEETING #2 2021
The next quarterly meeting for leaders of member organisations will be held on thursday 27th of May, 2021. All member organisations have been invited.