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.

Read: Apply for a PhD in Digital Security (in Norwegian).

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The public entity is applying to the Research Council for funding for the project.
  4. 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

Messages at time of print 30 January 2023, 02:03 CET

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