Public Sector PhD scheme
Employers in the public sector can apply for the Public Sector PhD scheme (OFFPHD) on support for an employee to complete a doctoral project.
The project must be relevant to the entity's area of responsibility and build knowledge and expertise that is relevant and applicable to the public sector body.
Who is eligible to apply?
The public sector body is the formal applicant and Project Owner for a Public Sector PhD project. Candidates must be permanently employed by the public sector body, and the doctoral degree must be completed over three or four years.
Three parties must work together
A Public Sector PhD project is a collaboration between three parties: the public body, a degree-conferring university or university college and the candidate.
The public entity is the owner of the project and is responsible for ensuring that the research question is rooted in the needs of the enterprise. The company must set aside time to support and follow up the project vis-à-vis the candidate and the degree-conferring institution. The public body, together with the candidate, is responsible for disseminating the results and knowledge from the project and benefiting the company.
The candidate is the researcher in the project and will acquire research competence and knowledge within key issues in the public sector. The candidate will have the opportunity to go in depth on relevant issues and contribute to further developing the public body.
The degree-conferring institution is responsible for quality assurance of the academic content of the doctoral project upon admission to the doctoral programme, and the Research Council does not make a scientific assessment of the project in its application processing. The scheme presupposes that the projects meet the same requirements for scientific level as other doctoral projects that are taken up at the institution, and comply with the institution's regulations for doctoral education with regard to admission, implementation and assessment.
At least one collaborative meeting per semester: Good cooperation between the three parties is the most important prerequisite for a successful project. It is the responsibility of all parties to facilitate such cooperation. The parties shall hold a collaborative meeting at least once a semester to discuss the project's development, results and the way forward. The purpose of the meeting is to strengthen cooperation and establish a common understanding of the project. At the meetings, at least the following must participate: main supervisor from the degree-conferring institution, candidate, project manager and internal mentor / supervisor from the public entity.
Process description: from idea to doctoral project
- The public entity defines competence needs and outlines the research question for a doctoral project. It is important that the project is anchored in the company's needs. We also recommend that the project is closely linked to the company's line activity/core activities. This will make it easier for the company to make use of the knowledge and results from the project. The company and the candidate are further developing the outline of the doctoral project in collaboration.
- The public entity/candidate establishes contact with a relevant doctoral programme at a degree-conferring institution. The project is further developed in collaboration between the degree-conferring institution and the company/candidate.
- The public entity is applying to the Research Council for funding for the project.
- The candidate prepares the project description and applies for admission to the PhD programme.
The application processes in points 3 and 4 will often take place in parallel. NB! We cannot award funding for doctoral degrees initiated under this scheme. It is therefore important that the application is sent to us before the candidate formally starts the doctoral project.
Good tips for a well-executed project
It is important that the project is firmly rooted in the company's needs and in the company's management. Internal communication and dissemination of results from the project along the way are important for maintaining interest among colleagues throughout the project period. This also helps the company to make the most of the results and competence enhancement that the project contributes to. It will also help solve challenges that may arise in projects.
Specific tip: Create meeting places where the candidate and/or project manager can communicate research results and involve colleagues in the project. Experiences and useful information from the research project can also be communicated via simple newsletters to colleagues and stakeholders.
A doctoral project is a collaborative project between three parties: the Project Owner (company), the candidate and the degree-conferring institution. As a candidate, you have one foot in several camps, and the expectations from the employer will not necessarily match the expectations of the degree-conferring institution. Therefore, it is crucial to have close cooperation between the company, the degree-conferring institution and the candidate throughout the project period. 3-4 years is a long period, and challenges may arise along the way. Good communication and close cooperation between the employer and the university/university college are therefore necessary.
Specific tip: Clarify the parties' expectations of the project both in advance and along the way. Organise regular meetings, at least once a semester, between the degree-conferring institution, the company and the candidate where you discuss the project's development, results and further progress. The purpose of the meeting is to strengthen cooperation and establish a common understanding of the project.
The Industrial PhD was evaluated in 2013. The results showed that one of the most important success criteria for the project was that the candidate was well integrated into the academic environment at the university/university college. This is central to ensuring the academic quality, and the background for the requirement that the candidate must stay at least one year at the degree-conferring institution.
Specific tip: Participate actively and in relevant academic environments at the degree-conferring institution. Keep track of relevant events, and participate in seminars, breakfast meetings and other activities that are relevant to your professional circle.
Messages at time of print 25 September 2023, 01:05 CEST