She had her manuscipt stolen. What’s going on at the Research Council of Norway? Here’s this month’s news in English.

She had her manuscipt stolen. What’s going on at the Research Council of Norway? Here's this month's news in English.

Av Forskerforum

Publisert 10. juni 2022 kl. 13:18

Ingeborg Olsdatter Busterud Flagstad (pictured) was checking whether a year-old article of hers had recently been cited when she discovered that another manuscript had been stolen.

‘It was word for word the same, just the title had been altered slightly,’ she says, ‘I could have lost part of the work towards my doctorate.’

When the author of the stolen article finally replied admitting the theft, he absolved his co-authors of blame.

‘I think it’s terrifying that no co-authors raised the alarm about his manuscript, not even the last author, his supervisor,’ Flagstad says.

What’s going on at the Research Council of Norway?

On 12 May, Minister for Research and Higher Education Ola Borten Moe dismissed the entire board of the Research Council of Norway (RCN) on the grounds that the body is in a severe financial crisis. According to Moe, RCN ‘has promised more money than it has in the future, so things need to be straightened out’.

Reports state that RCN will post a deficit of 275 million kroner this year, with this growing to 1.9 billion kroner by the end of next year if nothing is done.

The government of Erna Solberg reduced RCN’s budget for several years in a row while requesting that it maintain the same level of activity, resulting in RCN using its budget reserves for new investments.

While there will be no immediate consequences regarding research funding, many fear significant cuts in the time ahead, among which the FRIPRO program and allocations for outstanding research may be affected.

What the wage settlement means for you

Unio has agreed a collective wage agreement with Akademikerne in this year’s wage settlement for state employees. We explain how it works with Fredrik, a fictional associate professor.

Fredrik has worked as associate professor for 3 years. He receives 1.1% seniority supplement every year for the next 7 years.

The framework for the wage increase is 3.84%, of which 2.2% is allocated to carry-over, slippage and joint provisions, leaving 1.64% as the remaining increase. This is increased to 2.46% to account for the increase taking effect from 1 May. If half of this is awarded as a general increase, Fredrik receives 8332 kroner.

In this example, the local union and employer agree on a 0.5% increase for all departmental engineers, leaving 0.76% for individual increases. To obtain this, Fredrik ought to send a wage claim to his union so that he is included in negotiations in the autumn.

‘It becomes difficult to plan your life’

Pilar Ayuda-Durán’s research career in Norway began in 2014 with a two-year Spanish research grant. When she was offered the chance to continue in Norway as a postdoc, she was very happy.

But then began her life as a temporary employee: from 2015 to 2019 she had 5 postdoc contracts, varying from 1 month to 2 years, all dependent upon how much money for projects there was.

‘Research risks losing many skilled people. I know many former research fellows who have taken company jobs where the positions are safe and permanent,’ Ayuda-Durán says.