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PhD students and other non-tenured research positions

DM is pushing for an agreement to be made on an actual aid package for the research area. Learn more about what is already happening in the field.

The reopening of the universities
The closure of the knowledge institutions has affected both tenured and non-tenured researchers and teachers and we know that working from home is very burdensome for many. Therefore, DM  wrote to the spokespersons on research that the Government should look at letting universities provide access to the offices of staff and to partially resume face-to-face education at the universities where this is safe from a health perspective.

On Friday 16 April, it was agreed that research laboratories at Danish universities may be reopened.

This happened after DM having been in close dialogue with the Ministry of Higher Education and Science on this, amongst others.

We hope for an early solution for both libraries, archives, etc., for which we have also called for a reopening.

Possibility of extending terms of employment and appraisal deadlines
Read the joint announcement on appraisal deadlines and length of employment in educational positions and fixed-term research positions, which allow a number of research and educational institutions to extend terms of employment and postpone appraisal periods in cases where furloughs or other derived effects of the corona crisis have led to delays.

It has succeeded in landing an agreement with the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and the Employee and Competence Agency, which allows universities, university colleges and other higher research and educational institutions to extend employment in educational positions and fixed-term research positions for staff who are delayed in their employment process due to the closure and the derived effects of COVID-19.

Who is covered by the agreement?
The agreement covers staff in fixed-term educational positions (PhD fellows and assistant professors/researchers), as well as other fixed-term research positions (postdoc and scientific assistant) at universities, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, the Aarhus School of Architecture, Design School Kolding and sector research institutions.

The agreement also covers lecturers employed at university colleges, business academies, the Danish School of Media and Journalism, and maritime educational institutions.

Delays are equated with delays due to absence because of illness
Today, a number of executive orders, agreements and memos exist to postpone appraisal deadlines and extend temporary employment in the case of long-term illness.

The agreement has achieved consensus that delay as a result of the corona crisis must immediately be equated with, for example, a delay as a result of illness or otherwise which the staff member in the educational position or the fixed-term research position is without fault. The agreement thus allows employers to extend employment and defer deadlines for a period corresponding to the furlough and, in special cases, longer if there is a demonstrably longer delay.

Local application procedure
This is an agreement that must, to a large extent, be filled in and implemented locally at the individual institutions.

Therefore, it will be up to the individual institutions to provide a framework, procedures and criteria for extensions. Moreover, it will most likely be an application procedure, after which the individual staff member must apply for an extension themself.

DM recommends:

That you write down the consequences that the corona situation has had for your research and your remaining term of employment. You will likely be required to apply for an extension that you can prove that it is the corona situation that has delayed you, especially if you are applying for a longer extension than the furlough lasted. Here you will need to demonstrate and document that the background for a longer delay period is due to the corona situation.

That you are in close dialogue with both your employer and your union representative about the challenges you are experiencing and that you ask what procedures to follow if you are going to apply for an extension.

If you are a PhD student, we encourage you to be in close dialogue with your supervisor, who can help with an opinion on the status of your project in light of the delays caused by the corona crisis. It can also be a help to you in relation to any revision of your PhD plan and the mid-year evaluations.

Please contact DM for further advice.

DM pushes for a financial aid package
Although authority is created to extend employment periods, etc., it is necessary that the Ministry of Finance and the political parties prioritise a financial aid package for the research area. This is important to ensure that the costs of the extension is not taken from research and teaching in the next years.

Therefore, DM continues to push for an agreement to be concluded on an actual aid package for the research area.

DM focuses on the issues for PhD students, where we work towards it being possible to extend PhD positions with salary, thus creating security for both private financial positions as well as research. This also applies to lecturers and researchers in non-tenured educational positions as well as other non-tenured employees in research positions, postdocs amongst others.

DM has approached all spokespersons for research as well as the Minister and has pointed to a number of measures that will create security for the individual researchers. The measures to which we point must, of course, help the individual researcher; however, it must also ensure that Denmark does bungle valuable research. The proposed measures include:

  • Extending PhD fellowships and other educational positions.
  • Establishing a pool for postdocs and other non-tenured staff.
  • Establishing a special aid package for industrial PhDs.
  • Clarifying copyright guidelines for digital education.
  • Plan for further reopening of research institutions, including all laboratories, archives, and libraries.

Read the agreement