Statement on PhDs’ help fund
Last night, the government and several political parties agreed to a DKK 18 million fund for PhD students to finance extensions for delayed researchers.
At the PhD Association Network of Denmark, although we welcome this development as a recognition of a larger problem, we believe the sum of DKK 18 million to be insufficient, as it pales in comparison to the financial burden this crisis puts on the eight Danish universities. More needs to be done politically, yet universities have made it extensively harder by not acknowledging the problem themselves.
Following similar results to our first survey in June, the analysis of our survey conducted this September with DM shows that:
• Most PhD students who answered our survey expect a delay. 51% of PhD students expect between 2- and 4-months delay. 12% report no delay and 12% answer that they are not aware of whether they are delayed or not.
• Of the respondents, more than 90% answer that they have not received funding for an extension
• Of the groups which either report a delay or do not know if they are delayed, 10% expect to receive a funded extension, while 51% answer that they do not expect so.
• 66% answer that they have had to make major or minor changes in their project, while 59% answer that the lockdown has had negative consequences on the quality of their PhD
This leads us to conclude that the problem is much larger than the approximately 150 three-month extensions this pool of funds can provide. In addition, the current highly decentralized process for seeking extensions due to Covid delays has meant that the universities or institutes that have money can extend PhDs while others cannot.
Therefore, PAND will attempt to ensure that this small sum of money gets distributed in the fairest manner possible, while still advocating for the need for a much bigger pool of resources to support the rest of the Danish PhD body.
From our point of view, albeit welcomed news, this latest development shows that PhDs continue to be largely disregarded and continue to be the most precarious form of employment in the Danish University system.
The PAND Leadership.