It is seen as one of the basic requirements for good research. But the university’s representative for doctoral candidates and Doktorandkåren are cautioning for flaws in the admission system to the postgraduate studies.
“Meritocracy strikes a discordant note with a possible broiler culture in which certain people are appointed during the basic education and then bred into researchers”, says Aleksandra Popovic, Doktorandombudsman, representative for doctoral candidates.
Researchers should move about in new and unaccustomed environments. Then their ideas and perceptions are challenged and in the prolongation creates a more broad-minded seat of learning. That everyone agrees upon. Without mobility among students and personel over other seats of learning the quality of the research will suffer.
One prerequisite for mobility between seats of learning is that the positions at the universities are advertised properly. But today it is still a common occurrence that supervisors pluck doctoral candidates from among their students taking the basic education, and that in turn leads to more problems than just lower quality research. So Ellika Sevelin, chairman of Doktorandkåren, thinks.
“Doktorandkåren is actively working to get rid of the situation where the future supervisor recruits his doctoral candidates”
“Doctoral candidates are often in a clear state of dependence to their supervisor, both imagined and actual. I think that state of dependence risks getting worse if the doctoral candidate has been “chosen” by his or her supervisor or “been given” his or her spot by the supervisor”, she says.
Aleksandra Popovic is representative for doctoral candidates at Lund university. She agrees with Ellika Sevelin about the problem that occurs when certain institutes sometimes abandon the university’s rules for admission.
“That arrangement builds on the supervisor choosing the doctoral candidates. Should supervisors really be the ones to employ and decide what research to pursue? No, this is actually up to the university. The supervisor should never become the employer”, says Aleksandra Popovic.
One of the faculties with the most doctoral candidates from the basic education at Lund university is the Humanistic and theological faculty. The reason, however, is not an exaggerated recruitment according to Fredrik Lindström, pro-dean for the postgraduate research studies.
“I know that such things can occur elsewhere. I don’t want to sound self-righteous but I don’t think it is possible to recruit that way at our faculties. The supervisors can’t handpick doctoral candidates here. The order of precedence is accompanied by long written verdicts in order to guarantee legal certainty. In short it is very hard to get in through the back door so to speak”, he says.
Aleksandra Popovic is every now and then contacted by people that feel the recruitment for the doctoral candidate positions is not being conducted the right way. However, few want to fight for the positions.
“You don’t want to make a fuss before you’ve gotten in, so you rather wait until next year and hope to get in then”, she says.
Translation: Rasmus Edlund