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Delayed PhD Fellows to get financial helping hand

Illustration of Copenhagen Business School

(Illustration by Emil Friis)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has created a DKK 18 million fund for PhD Fellows who have been delayed because of the coronavirus. The Chair of the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs says “it’s like quenching your thirst with a drop”.  The PhD Association at CBS, PAC, says this is a step in the right direction.

News |   04. Nov 2020

Anne Thora Lykkegaard


On average, PhD Fellows have been delayed by two to three months, according to a survey conducted by the PhD Association Network of Denmark (PAND) and the Danish Association for Masters and PhDs (Dansk Magisterforening), and now the delayed PhDs are receiving a financial helping hand.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has allocated DKK 18 million that PhD Fellows can apply for to fund studies that have been delayed due to Covid-19.

The money, which may be used to cover contract extensions, is part of the ministry’s DKK 8.2 billion in financial aid packages for cultural life and the business community.

Camilla Gregersen, Chair of the Danish Association for Masters and PhDs says to the university paper at the University of Copenhagen that the money will not go a long way.

“The money far from covers the need. It’s like quenching your thirst with a drop. Most of the PhDs are still left on the platform if help does not arrive.”

The PhD Association at CBS, PAC, welcomes the DKK 18 million, but as DM points out, the money will not stretch far.

“The 18 million is to cover all of Denmark. CBS, with its 200 PhDs, will receive only a small portion of this amount. Thus the fund is very small compared to the actual cost of the delays PhDs are facing. As Dansk Magisterforening has explained, valuable research will be lost as PhDs cannot alone bear the costs of delays. However, it is a step in the right direction towards acknowledging there is a cost to research that is a public issue,” PAC writes in a statement to CBS WIRE.

PAC explains in an email to CBS WIRE that the challenges PhDs are facing partially involve the on-going uncertainty, which no financial or other measures can mitigate.

“However, finances play a vital role in securing PhDs in employment and allowing them to ride out the storm and complete their PhDs according to a delayed timeframe. This, however, is not an inexpensive endeavor, which means some PhDs are likely to leave their role for other paid employment,” they write.

Lost knowledge

Federico Jensen, PhD Fellow at the Department of Organization and Co-chair of PAND explained to CBS WIRE in September that granting extensions to all PhD Fellows in need in Denmark would cost about DKK 600 million. That amount would cover the PhD Fellows’ wages until they have finished and handed in their dissertations.

He argued at the time that PhD dissertations were at risk of not being submitted.

19 percent of the 2,067 PhDs in the survey had considered not finishing their studies because of coronavirus.

“That’s quite a number. If you can’t finish your PhD, a lot of valuable knowledge will be lost, unless people decide to work for free, which is not a very Danish approach,” said Federico Jensen.

According to the agreement, it is up to the universities to decide which delayed PhD Fellows can have their contract extended with money from the fund.

“We would add that in order for this small amount of money to be put to good use, we hope to see that the criteria and process for its allocation are transparent across CBS and allow equal opportunity for all PhDs. The hope would be that we can distribute it to those who are most in need,” PAC writes.


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