Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

CBS’ Dean of Research answers critique on bad working conditions for PhDs

CBS from outside

(Photo by Mette Koors)

While Dean of Research Søren Hvidkjær acknowledges a problem with stress among PhD students, he does not believe that CBS could have acted differently and let PhDs work on campus sooner during the Covid-19 lockdowns. That is his response to the critique voiced by the outgoing Chairman of the PhD Association of CBS.

News |   22. Mar 2022

Ida Eriksen

Journalist

Many PhD students are feeling the pressure of having to conduct high-quality research in working conditions that are constantly changing because of the corona pandemic, making field work abroad difficult or simply getting into campus during lockdown almost impossible.

This sad tendency is also a reality at CBS, where a new internal survey reveals that only 40 percent of PhDs “almost never experience stress”, meaning 60 percent of the students experience the opposite and must deal with stress.

This is not at all surprising to Thomas Skinnerup Philipsen, who until March was Chairman of the PhD Association of CBS. In a recent article by CBS WIRE, he criticizes CBS for not caring about PhD students’ welfare and for being too fixated on rules and regulations.

Now, CBS’ Dean of Research, Søren Hvidkjær, replies to the critique.

He acknowledges the results from the internal survey, which shows that many PhDs at CBS indeed suffer from feelings of stress.

“Unfortunately, many PhD students experience substantial stress. However, the survey does not tell us from where the stress comes. Therefore, we are currently working on a specific PhD survey to learn about this and what CBS as an institution can do further to help,” says Søren Hvidkjær.

In addition, several activities such as week-long mindfulness courses or sessions with coaches have been set up to help PhD students to get their projects back on track and to improve their well-being, he elaborates.

Disagrees that CBS has not helped PhDs during lockdowns

Besides condemning CBS’ handling of stress among PhDs, Thomas Skinnerup Philipsen also criticizes how the university tackled the lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During lockdown it was commonly known among fellows that at KU and DTU, fellows were allowed to work on campus in their offices and the labs, but at CBS we weren’t allowed to come in at all for a majority of the time. This unnecessarily deteriorated the work-life balance and overall working conditions for many of the PhD fellows,” he says.

But this is not something that Søren Hvidkjær recognizes. He believes that CBS has done everything it could to get students back on campus during the corona pandemic.

(Illustration by Ida Eriksen)

“CBS has followed the rules set out by the health authorities and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and we have opened campus as soon as the restrictions allowed it. The PhD students were in the priority group of those who were the first to be allowed back on campus. That being said, I fully understand that the pandemic has been a huge challenge for PhDs,” he says.

Sorry if students think it is a race against time

Another criticism from Thomas Skinnerup Philipsen on behalf of the students is CBS’ way of pushing PhD fellows to complete their studies within three years, instead of granting them more time, due to delays on field work abroad caused by Covid-19 regulations.

Again, Søren Hvidkjær disagrees and states that CBS gave full salary to and extended the contracts of 89 PhD students, equivalent to around one third of all PhD fellows to give them more time to finish their projects. He also states that it is actually possible for PhDs to study beyond the three years to a maximum of seven years.

“I am sorry to hear that some PhD students believe that CBS only cares about completion times. However, while progress in one’s studies is clearly important, that students complete within three years is actually not something of very high priority to us. In fact, the average completion time across CBS is more than 4 years,” he concludes.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CBS’ Dean of Research answers critique on bad working conditions for PhDsby

  • News

    CBS Associate Professor starts YouTube channel on compliance: “We must communicate research differently”

    For Associate Professor Kalle Johannes Rose, his YouTube channel about risk-based compliance serves many purposes. It is both a personal tool to help him structure and explain the material as well as an opportunity to reach out to people working with compliance and for them to ask questions before he finishes a new book. He believes that researchers should think differently about how they communicate their research, and that CBS could do a better job of helping them.

  • News

    Three emails revive old conflict between CBS and course company Aspiri

    Several students have received emails from the course company Aspiri asking for their Canvas password in return for free courses. The CBS legal department warns students against giving away their passwords – it compromises IT security and is illegal.

  • News

    Start-up founded in a CBS entrepreneurial class sells for millions

    What started as a business case in class - AI for solving GDPR issues - has turned into fulltime employment and a multi-million kroner deal for two former CBS students.

  • News

    Mental health issues? Where to get help

    If you have mental health issues or personal problems, CBS can help. If you have a chronic mental health problem, you can receive help through the SPS programme. For personal problems, you can team up with a mentor through the CBS mentor programme or talk to the campus pastor, who is happy to help regardless of religion.

  • Blog

    Winter blues and how I cope

  • News

    New alumni network on cybersecurity gives valuable insights

    A large number of unofficial alumni networks flourish at CBS. A new addition is the cybersecurity network that enables students and alumni to connect and talk about an industry where people otherwise keep their secrets closely guarded. The networks are a useful way for alumni to stay in touch with CBS while giving back as well as being updated on the newest research and post-graduate education.

  • Gif of the week
  • News

    CBS professor’s review of corona measures is happy news for democracy in Europe

    In the spring of 2020, political science associate professor Mads Dagnis Jensen, like many others, was celebrating the end of lockdown drinking a beer with some fellow political science researchers in Christianshavn. At a time when just about everyone was comparing different governments’ Covid-19 measures, you can bet that these comparative politics nerds also were. “Why don’t we write a book,” one of his colleagues suggested.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with Videnskab.dk

Stay connected

Close