Is there life after the doctoral degree?

More and more people are awarded doctoral degrees in the Nordic countries, but few of them have an open position to look forward to. At the same time we will be needing more researchers in the coming years as the current ones become pensioners. What about consistency in Nordic research policy?
From an article by Bjørg Dystvold Nilsson for NordForsk Magasin December 2006.

Norway is facing a new record in the number of awarded doctoral degrees in 2006, new numbers from the institute NIFU STEP show. During the first six months there were awarded 497 doctoral degrees at Norwegian universities. This is an increase compared to the record-breaking numbers of 2005. The same statistics also show that the other Nordic countries have seen steady increases in their doctoral degrees since 1990. In Sweden almost 3000 degrees were awarded in 2005, which is triple the amount of degrees awarded in 1990. Finland also sees the same development, even though they award less doctor degrees, with 1500 in 2005, and 500 in 1990. In Denmark and Norway the increase has been less sharp. However, the Danish government announced earlier this year that they intend to double the number of doctoral students, and a record-breaking number of applications were handed in to the Danish Agency for Science Technology and Innovation this year.

Investing in research has become a slogan in all the Nordic countries‘ political debates, and allocating means for doctoral students or post docs is seen as a way to commit to the promises. But now critical voices are emerging from doctoral students that receive their salaries but who do not have sufficient funding for their research. In addition, many are facing unemployment after the doctoral student period is over.

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