Sunday, June 23, 2024

A big part of Denmark’s success

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An analysis of the current composition of scientific staff at eight Danish universities shows that 43% of the 17,963 people are people with non-Danish citizenship, and in three universities they outnumber locals. Why does the Danish research system encourage such a healthy proportion of international talent?

Analysis based on numbers obtained by Forsker ForumAmong postdocs and adjuncts, the proportion of foreign-born academics is even higher, at 62% and 69%, respectively.

Doctoral and doctoral students together make up 8,674 researchers, of whom 54% are foreigners. This figure takes into account the introduction of tenure-track positions (a system for hiring some foreign academics) into the Danish University Act in 2019, which means that the majority of Danish scientific staff will be foreigners. This suggests that it is only a matter of time.

According to Forsker Forum According to the data, Copenhagen IT University has 65% of its scientific staff from abroad, followed by the Danish Technical University with 59% and Copenhagen Business School with 52%. Roskilde University has the lowest proportion of foreign staff at 17%.

tenure track

according to Forsker Forum, the high number of young researchers in postdoctoral and adjunct positions, which are recognized as internationally hired positions, may be due to the tenure-track career path that has been adopted since 2020. For part-time positions, tenure track allows you to: You will be promoted to lecturer within a maximum of 6 years.

While this adjunct position was originally intended to be used to promote talented teachers, the latest staffing numbers indicate that the position is also being used for international recruitment.

For example, the University of Copenhagen has 1,843 foreign nationals out of 3,004 staff at adjunct, postdoctoral, and PhD level, has a tenure-track program, and these positions are, in principle, advertised internationally.

According to information on the university’s website, the scholar will join the tenure-track program as an assistant professor. If successful, candidates will be promoted to Associate Professor by the end of the program.

“As a program aimed at open-term appointments, successful applicants will initially be given a contract as an assistant professor for a six-year term, and assistant professors are expected to earn the qualification of associate professor.

“At the end of the six-year term, an associate professor will be promoted to associate professor if an expert review confirms that the associate professor has achieved the international level of academic excellence that is the hallmark of an associate professorship. “Further promotion to full professor is conditional on open recruitment for a vacancy as full professor,” the website states.

What is not discussed in Forsker Forumbut as university world news has reported in the past on the fact that Danish universities, and in particular the University of Copenhagen, are among the best performing universities in the Horizon 2020-Horizon Europe program.

Roberta Sinatra, Professor of Social Data Science at the University of Copenhagen, is originally from Italy and is the recipient of a 2023 European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant. Her research is at the forefront of network science, data science, and computational social. Science.

Sinatra also holds joint appointments with the IT University of Copenhagen, ISI (Turin, Italy), and CSH (Vienna, Austria).

When she was promoted to full professor in 2020, she wrote on her homepage: I’m from Southern Europe. I’m female. I was raised by my mother alone with my two younger sisters from the age of 13. I am the second in her family to earn a college degree, the first to earn a degree in natural sciences, and the first to earn a Ph.D. I’m a mother. And despite all the adversity, today I am a full professor of social data science at one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe. ”

Foreign recruitment

Sinatra said. university world news She believed that hiring from abroad was “fundamental” to making research projects successful.

“In my personal experience, a Ph.D. [position]around four-fifths of applicants are from overseas, and even considering only the most qualified shortlisted candidates, around three-quarters are from overseas.

“When it comes to postdoc calls, there were zero applicants from Denmark. In summary, in my experience, running a large project like ERC relies heavily on international recruitment. Without it, we wouldn’t have enough qualified people to continue the research,” Sinatra said.

Professor Jesper Qualmann Svejstrup, two-time ERC Advanced Grant winner at the University of Copenhagen and vice-chairman of the ERC Scientific Council, said he was encouraged by the strengthening and internationalization of Danish research. Forsker Forum numbers.

“Science has always had a great tradition of going and training and researching wherever your questions lead you, in the countries of the world where the greatest scholars in your field of interest are.” It’s great to see the strengthening and internationalization of Japan reflected in such numbers.

“Over the past decades, Denmark has become a center of research and innovation, and the diversity of Denmark’s scientific culture helps us secure a competitive advantage,” Svejstrup said.

“It is worth mentioning that throughout Europe, for many years at least 35% of ERC grants have been awarded to applicants who do not work in their home country. Furthermore, the ERC only awards grants to the EU and associated countries. Over the years, we have funded research leaders from over 80 different nationalities.

“This is an important fundamental principle of the ERC Charter. We fund excellent research and do not discriminate on the basis of nationality, gender, religion or anything else conceivable. We support Europe’s best science “I’m just supporting it,” he explained.

Good news for quality

Emeritus Professor Jens Oderschede, former rector of the University of Southern Denmark and former chair of the Danish Research and Innovation Policy Council, said: university world news The growing interest in employment at Danish universities is good news for the quality of Danish research and higher education.

“Diversity and increased competition for tenure-track positions will make universities more attractive and internationally visible. This development has been going on for some time among graduate students and postdocs, especially in the STEM sciences. “This is especially true in the areas of ,” he said.

He explained that the new tenure-track system now also applies to assistant professors, adding: “This development is facilitated by the ERC’s grant system. Therefore, this trend is making our universities more international and making them more This is a great example of the consequences of Europe’s desire to become more competitive in the global university market.

Continuing efforts

Birgitte Beck-Pristed, vice-president of the Danish Young Academy, said that the internationalization of Danish universities “did not happen overnight” with the introduction of new tenure-track positions, but that it would take at least 10 to 20 years. He said it had been going on for years.

“Internationalization is essential for the pursuit of excellence in research, but young researchers overseas have limited access to things like unemployment insurance and internal networks at universities, making them extremely unstable between temporary jobs.” We often find ourselves in situations,” Priested said.

“At the Danish Young Academy (DYA), we are committed to creating a better research environment for young academics, regardless of their background. In 2022, ITU Group Networks, Data and Society (NERDS) will be joining the DYA Awarded the Research Environment of the Year Award, the selection committee emphasized that NERDS actively promotes a diverse mix across gender, ethnicity, academic background, and approach to research activities. does not take it as a given.

“Diversity in research cannot be achieved simply by having a group of young researchers from different national, ethnic, gender, and disciplinary backgrounds work under a Danish professor. “This will not happen without challenging ourselves to achieve a more balanced representation of researchers from diverse backgrounds at administrative levels and on the boards of universities and research foundations,” she explained.

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