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Focus on wellbeing among PhD students

A recently published report on the quality of the PhD process at Aarhus University shows that the PhD students at Aarhus BSS experience an increased level of satisfaction with the PhD process and the supervision. Aarhus BSS must continue to focus firmly on the PhD students’ working conditions, as some students still report stress-related symptoms and exhaustion.

2018.01.04 | Sinne B. Jakobsen

Photo: AU Foto

The survey ”Quality in the PhD Process” was conducted at the request of the heads of the four graduate school in the autumn of 2017 among PhD students at Aarhus University.  Among other things, the students were asked about their wellbeing, workload and supervision. 79 per cent of the PhD students at Aarhus BSS participated in the survey. As such, the survey provides valuable knowledge in relation to the further work to ensure the PhD students’ wellbeing.

Compared with the first PhD survey, which took place in 2013, the new survey shows that the PhD students at Aarhus BSS experience an increased level of satisfaction with the PhD process and the supervision they receive. There is also a positive development in the PhD students’ sense of being part of the research community and of the collegial spirit in the research environments.

Vice-dean for Research and Talent Development Per Baltzer Overgaard is pleased with the positive results, but stresses that there are still challenges that need to be addressed:

“The survey shows that we’ve come a long way in terms of ensuring that our PhD students are thriving with their project and in the academic environments. Even though a PhD programme is hard work, it is less than satisfactory that students on some of our PhD programmes are still reporting symptoms of stress and a feeling of being exhausted. These are problems we must address,” he says.

What happens next?

The results from the PhD survey will now form the basis for further discussions about which initiatives should be launched. The PhD committee will discuss the results and possible joint initiatives at the next meeting in January 2018. Over the course of the spring, the results will be discussed in the departments’ liaison committees.

Read more about the survey and see the reports.

Aarhus BSS
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