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Talent development is more than graduate schools

More support for young researchers and better job opportunities after their PhD studies will contribute to developing the talent which will ensure the university’s position internationally in future, says Dean Svend Hylleberg, whose interdisciplinary focus area is talent development.

2011.03.09 | Aarhus University

Dean Svend Hylleberg

– Talent development covers the whole process from when students start their PhD studies until they are appointed professors etc. This is the view of Dean Svend Hylleberg from Business and Social Sciences, who is head of the new interdisciplinary focus area for talent development.

Interdisciplinarity across the main academic areas will support young researchers during their PhD studies and also improve their job opportunities afterwards. At the same time, he believes that the focus can help attract and retain competent foreign researchers.

Stronger PhD programme

– We must improve our PhD programme within all areas. Things are much better now, but the programme is still more like an apprenticeship in several areas, and this is not good enough, says Svend Hylleberg.

– The students will sense the change in that those who want to pursue a career in research will be offered more help and a stricter career structure. At the same time, assistant professors must undergo further education and training within both research and education so that the students and thereby the research talents generally have better teachers, says Svend Hylleberg. He also emphasises the importance of looking after postdocs and assistant professors once they complete their PhD studies.

– In the past, we have been able to say to our assistant professors that, if they did an excellent job, they could be pretty certain to be offered tenure, but in future there is going to be no automatic promotion from assistant to associate professor. There must be competition for the jobs, says Svend Hylleberg, who stresses that it is important to quickly establish whether a persons stands a chance of permanent tenure or not.

– I feel that the model which some of the other faculties have favoured of offering people temporary employment for years without any prospects of permanent tenure is unreasonable, he says.

According to Svend Hylleberg, the success of the new focus on talent development will not just be measured in better job opportunities at Aarhus University, but also in students becoming more attractive in the international market.

– Our focus can be deemed to be a success if we can raise quality levels at this university, and if we are able to send our PhDs, postdocs and our assistant professors out into the global market to compete for employment at the best universities in the world, he says.

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