Pursuing doctoral degrees in their own companies

The Research Council’s Industrial Ph.D. scheme is designed to promote competence-building in the Norwegian business sector. With a fellowship from the Research Council, employees in private companies can continue in their jobs while completing a doctoral degree at a university or university college.

“Highly-skilled, ambitious companies and employees are essential for an innovative business sector. The enterprises and individuals participating under the Industrial Ph.D. scheme have understood the significance of research for growth and development,” said Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske when he met with a number of Norwegian research fellows taking part in the scheme.

Ensuring Norwegian expertise

“The Industrial Ph.D. scheme enables talented employees to pursue a doctoral degree while remaining in their jobs and amassing research-related work experience. This boosts Norway’s overall expertise, promotes a research orientation in the companies and ensures that vital knowledge remains in Norway,” says Director General of the Research Council Arvid Hallén.

Many of Norway’s research fellows in technology subjects are recruited from abroad. Much of their expertise leaves with them when they return home after completing their degrees.

Win-win situation

The doctoral work being carried out enhances the international competitiveness of Norwegian companies, while giving research institutions valuable insight into the problems and opportunities that companies encounter.

Launched in 2008, the Industrial Ph.D. scheme has a budget of NOK 60 million for 2010. The scheme is financed by allocations from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Education and Research.

Broad thematic scope

The Industrial Ph.D. scheme is not targeted toward any specific branch of industry. Fellowship-holders conduct research on topics ranging from offshore wind energy to touchless human-machine interfaces – and pig feed.

Signe Lovise Thingnes is researching feed for hybrid sows bred from two races of swine. “The goal is to create a sort of instruction manual on how to feed cross-bred sows to ensure that they live and thrive as long as possible,” she explains. Thingnes is pursuing her doctoral degree at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science while continuing her employment at Norsvin, the Norwegian association of swine breeders.

“This scheme is important because it facilitates applied research that benefits Norwegian companies directly. Thingnes’s project will have major ramifications for our national and international customers alike,” asserts Project Manager Ann Helen Gaustad.

Source: The Research Council of Norway

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