In 2008, the Faculty of Science intensified its work to promote national and international exchange activities at the third-cycle level. This work will continue, but with some modifications.
‘The efforts have definitely been fruitful, and we think we can do even better in the future,’ says Ola Wetterberg.
Over the last five years, a considerable amount of funding has been earmarked for quality improvements at the third-cycle level. The money has been distributed among the Faculty’s five so-called thematic areas. Next year, a new model will be introduced, where the Departments will have a stronger say about the courses offered. This semester, the Faculty’s researchers have been invited to propose which third-cycle courses should be offered.
‘About 70 suggestions were submitted; these will be boiled down to about 50 courses,’ says Wetterberg, Deputy Dean and in charge of the Faculty’s third-cycle studies.
He emphasises that the model with thematic areas has worked very well, and that this justifies continued efforts. In a next step, the departments’ course catalogues will be reinforced.
‘We will keep some of the courses offered within the thematic areas. With the new allocation model, we’ll be able to better respond to the course needs communicated by departments and third-cycle students,’ he says.
Broader course offerings can help attract third-cycle students from other higher education institutions, which was an explicit goal of the model with thematic areas – that 25 per cent of the students and supervisors should be external. The proportion has varied between different courses; in some cases, half of the course participants have come from other faculties and higher education institutions.
The courses have enabled international researchers to come to the University of Gothenburg, and some field courses and seminars have been arranged abroad. The Faculty has also been able to collaborate with other national actors such as Lund University and AstraZeneca.
Kristina Sundbäck has been in charge of the thematic area Sustainable Marine Ecosystems, where the University of Maputo in Mozambique has been involved as a cooperation partner.
‘After a theoretical part in Sweden, the students have left for two weeks of fieldwork in Mozambique. This has been a tremendous opportunity for young Swedish researchers to broaden their knowledge and work with marine issues in East Africa. And right now we have two doctoral students in marine ecology from Mozambique,’ says Kristina Sundbäck, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.