PhD-Day 2021

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PhD Day at the beautiful Sentralen locale was a success with approximately 100 attendees. After a lengthy pandemic period, just seeing so many PhDs gathered together under one roof was refreshing! We started off the day with a speech from our Vice Rector, Per Martin Norheim-Martinsen and a round of info on the supports our kind folk over at the University Library Research team can provide, followed by a brief orientation on PhD-forum and what we do.

PhD forum leader Camilla Holm smiles and points at screen that reads: Have a great PhD day!
(Former) PhD-forum leader Camilla Holm kicked off the day.

Presenters held parallel sessions on a variety of topics from kappa and thesis writing, to how to handle aspects of writing for academic journals, to managing all the data we deal with on a day-to-day basis. We hope that all who attended found these sessions helpful. The aim of this event was to bring us PhDs, especially those who began their journey during the pandemic, up to speed. Parallel sessions, were one thing we hoped would contribute to this. Thank you to all the session holders who offered their advice and wisdom! You will find the compiled PowerPoint files at the end of this blog post.

In between breakout sessions, three recent graduates, Håvard Aaslund, Sissel Lea Heggernes, and Andreea Ioana Alecu, took part in a panel Q&A session led by Kristin Solli to share their experiences on thesis writing, focused primarily on what they wished they had known at the start of the PhD research. Several excellent questions were presented and learning from those more experienced than us proved quite enlightening.

Over the course of the day, much time was provided for mingling and networking over coffee, lunch, and dinner. This is an important aspect of the PhD experience that a lot of us have missed and we hope participants could make new connections across programs and fields!

We wish to thank everyone who contributed to and attended this event for making it such a success. And as always, we would love to hear your feedback and suggestions for how we might create needed events to set us all on the right track following a rather strange period in PhD-research history!

Slides from the presenters :

Using MOOCs to Advance Your Studies

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A young woman sits behind her computer wearing headphones while looking directly into the camera with a slight smile.

First, some of you may ask right off the bat: “What is a MOOC?” MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. They’re extensive online courses, often offered by renowned universities, and the best part: they’re free to enroll in. They also cover a vast variety of topics, from programming languages to philosophy. This can be your opportunity to learn a specialized skill that you may need for your research that isn’t offered at OsloMet, or to take a short course on a topic related to your research that is so niche that it isn’t offered anywhere else.

MOOCs sometimes get the reputation for being easy courses for the public, but that isn’t often actually the case. They’re intended as a supplement in this context and can be a great way to spark off new thinking on your research topic or learn about literature you may otherwise not have stumbled upon. And again, as previously mentioned, on the big MOOC sites, they are most often offered by highly respected universities, including some Norwegian ones! Some also offer certificate programs for a fee, while others offer a certificate for free to show that you’ve completed the course if needed.

Three of the more well-known MOOC websites are:

Future Learn: www.futurelearn.com

MOOC.org: www.mooc.org

and Coursera: www.coursera.com

One of the best things about MOOCs (in this PhD fellow’s opinion) is that some of them allow you to learn at your own pace, so you can pick up a lesson anytime you’re feeling less motivated and get inspired to dive into your project again.

Update on translation/language washing procedures for PhDs

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EDIT: Due to some unclear communication mishaps, we must inform that the following guidelines only apply to those employed under the SAM faculty. The others are still negotiating their agreements. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Recently, it has been brought to our attention that the current agreements in place for the use of translation and language washing services was less than ideal for PhD students, in particular, due to budgetary restrictions. We are pleased to announce that after the subject was brought to the attention of the administration, it was determined that the agreement with Allegro does not apply for academic articles or research-related texts. This means that those who require the translation or language washing of a research-related text can choose the service provider of their choice. The author should also not deliver the order via MinBestilling, but instead order the service directly with the service providers themselves (upon prior approval from your leader).

The text is then sent directly to the service provider. One must use service providers which can send an invoice for the order. The invoice should not be sent directly to you, but rather to OsloMet. If the service provider is Norwegian, then an electronic invoice (e-faktura) should be sent. If the service provider is not located in Norway, the invoice should be sent either in PDF-format as an attachment via e-mail to regnskap@oslomet.no or via regular mail (see below).

You must never pay with your own funds and seek reimbursement after the fact.

Invoices should also include an invoice reference (fakturareferanse).

OsloMet’s electronic invoice address (e-fakturaadresse or EHF): 997058925

Oslo Met’s address for surface mail-delivery of invoices:

OsloMet, Postboks 4 St. Olavs plass, 0130 Oslo Norway.

We hope this clears up any confusion about the process in the future!

Compensation (work contract extension) for PhDs 2021

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Dear fellow PhDs of OsloMet,

This is a short note to inform you that funds have been set aside centrally for those who are still facing problems with working normally. The coordinators/leaders of the different PhD programs at OsloMet have been notified about this.

During the first rounds of compensations in 2020, a bit more than ⅓ applied and got compensated, ranging from just a couple of days to 1 year! OsloMet prioritize our working conditions, and will continue to do so.

While 2020 has been a year of readjusting to new work conditions, it should in no way be seen as normal or regular conditions for working. We see it as completely normal that some will still be struggling, either substantially or just from working 97% instead of 100%. Over time, it adds up. Some might not have noticed it before now, that things are starting to add up a bit more than at first thought. Others are finding themselves at new stages of the PhD where it is suddenly harder to work under these conditions. In addition, for those starting their PhD under COVID-19, the important first year of being integrated and socialized into your academic milieu, might be going slow – too slow – and thus causing new types of delays. And for others it is the isolation, the uncertainty, the loneliness and the constant pressure taking its toll on mental health. It might be a combination of many very small issues combining into something that is noticeable.

Whatever the reason, whatever the cause(s), please know that it will be possible to apply for further compensation/extensions. 3 days, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months – it will undoubtedly vary from person to person of those who are still being affected.

However, for those that are not in the finishing months of their degree, we advise that it is best to wait until we approach a more normal situation again. This is beneficial to you as it secures that you only need to apply once, and not continuously throughout the year. In addition, creating and maintaining a plan together with your supervisor to ensure progress is also an important tool in both tracking your work and making visible those things that are externally affecting the project and connected to COVID-19.

If you already know now that you will later apply, it could be wise to send an e-mail to either your supervisor or your closest leader about it (Don’t worry, In the Norwegian work context this is quite normal to do.). Another option would for instance be to keep a diary of what affects your work throughout the next few months.

We are here for you, if you have any questions! Or if you just need some peer advice!

Signed,
PhD Forum OsloMet

March 17th: Panel discussion on The Pandemic effect on PhDs and Postdocs

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The University of Agder is hosting a panel discussion on the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on PhDs and Postdocs. According to the event website:

“UiAdoc is organizing a panel discussion on the topic of “The Pandemic effect on PhDs and Postdocs and Potential Solutions”. We have invited representatives from UiA, Forskeforbundet, Young Researchers Academy, and The Association of Doctoral Organisations (SiN) to be the panelists in this event and talk to us about how their organizations are managing this critical situation.”

The event takes place on Zoom and is open to PhDs and Postdocs from outside of the university.

You can register for the event here.