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Organisational dialogue 2020 “Equal opportunities, sustainable development and the doctoral student perspective”

Here you can read a compilation of the outcome of the organisational dialogue about equal opportunities, sustainable development and the doctoral student’s perspective. The dialogue was held in September 2020 between representatives of the faculty, the departments and the doctoral students.

This year’s evaluations focused on the three assessment areas of equal opportunities, sustainable development and the doctoral student perspective, and covered all the faculty’s third cycle study programmes. Two of the assessment areas – equal opportunities and sustainable development – were also included in the review of first and second cycle study programmes.

External review of the equal opportunities assessment area

Liisa Husu of Örebro University was appointed as the external expert entrusted with reviewing the quality of the faculty’s study programmes in the assessment area of equal opportunities. Her report has been delayed, in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic (more information to follow).

Development plans and specific development projects

Due to the delay of the external review, this year’s development plans at the departments are entirely based on self-evaluations and the feedback received from the faculty and the doctoral students.

Equal opportunities

All the departments proposed measures to develop the study programmes in the area of equal opportunities. Among other things, the dialogues revealed a need for better expertise in this area among employees. Part of this need is met by the course in teaching and learning in higher education entitled “Education for Scientific Literacy – Sustainability, Equality and Ethics” but as yet not all employees have had the opportunity to attend the course. Read more about the course on the website on training in higher education teaching and learning.

In collaboration with the faculty’s committee for gender equality and equal opportunities, the faculty’s research programmes board has also started a twin project to investigate whether the structure of third cycle studies impacts women leaving academia after their doctoral degree to a greater extent than men and, if so, how this could be addressed. Johanna Stadmark has been appointed as investigator and project manager.

Liisa Husu’s report may indicate the need for additional measures.

Sustainable development

With regard to sustainable development, there is a great diversity among the subjects at the faculty. There is no established common introduction to the global goals, so the faculty has undertaken to investigate the conditions for establishing one.

The doctoral student perspective

The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted certain challenges with regard to the work environment part of the doctoral student perspective. The following emerged:

  • Shortcomings in the information on the Occupational Health Service and other existing forms of support
  • Difficulties in reaching the doctoral students with information on the rules for extension of the period of study finance
  • Isolation and other psychosocial challenges, which seem to have affected international doctoral students particularly severely

The research programmes board has planned several projects to address these challenges, such as:

  • A common project with the science students’ union LUNA and the doctoral science students’ council NDR to manage worry and stress.
  • A programme interface in the Canvas learning platform aiming to enable direct communication with the doctoral students.

With regard to doctoral student influence, unfortunately the extensive internationalisation of the faculty’s third cycle education has entailed a challenge in finding doctoral student candidates for the positions on the University’s preparatory and decision-making bodies requiring knowledge of Swedish, an issue which the faculty will work on and follow up in connection with the organisational dialogues.

Establishment and discontinuation of study programmes and courses

In connection with the organisational dialogues, no needs emerged to discuss the establishment or discontinuation of third cycle programmes and courses.

Follow-up of the implementation of the development plans and the specific development projects

To be reported in October 2021.


Aleksandra Popovic
Education coordinator, third cycle education
Contact information for Aleksandra Popovic –