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Faculty of Humanities

Procedural guidelines for advertising, evaluation and appointment of research fellowships positions at the Faculty of Humanities

Approved by the Faculty Board on 24 March 2015. Applicable from 1 April 2015.

Positions as research fellows are fixed-term appointments, and their goal is the completion of organised research training through a doctoral degree. The normal fixed-term appointment is for 4 years with 25 % mandatory duties. The term of employment will encompass 3 years of pure research and organised research training.

The formulation of the text announcing the fellowship

In addition to information about general terms of employment, the nature of the position and the application procedure, the text announcing the fellowship shall also include information about:

  • the subject area(s) in which the position is being advertised
  • the qualification requirements that are specified for appointment (Norwegian Master's degree or equivalent degree in a relevant subject area)
  • the enclosures that must be submitted with the application: a project description (up to 5 pages not including the bibliography), a work schedule for the project, a summary of the Master's thesis or second degree level thesis, a scanned copy of the diploma for examinations from the university or university college, and a list of any academic publications.

The applicants shall be informed that the education of applicants who do not have a Norwegian Master's degree shall be evaluated according to requirements from the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT). Documentation of foreign education may be submitted to NOKUT in order to evaluate whether this education is equivalent to a Norwegian Master's degree.

The applicant may be requested to state the name of a possible supervisor in the department. Information shall be furnished about whom the applicant may contact at the department in order to obtain further information about the position.

The applicants shall be informed that candidates who have previously held a doctoral fellowship at the University of Bergen may not apply.

The procedure for the evaluation of the applicants

The following documents form the basis for the evaluation of applicants for research fellowship positions:

  • "Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident"
  • "Regulations for appointments to academic posts and academic/administrative management positions" (The Appointment Regulations) (approved by the University of Bergen on 28 May 2014 and included in the University's Rules and Regulations).
  • The text of the advertisement

1. After a proposal from the department, the dean appoints an expert committee for evaluation of the applicants. The committee shall have at least two members. The department's research coordinator shall normally be the head of the committee. An attempt shall be made to ensure a broad representation of the department's subject areas in the expert committee. Both genders shall be represented in the committee unless it can be justified that such representation is not possible. The committee members must at least have expertise at the associate professor level. In special cases, a post-doctoral fellow with expertise in key areas of the relevant disciplines may be used. Post-doctoral fellows employed by the University of Bergen with no mandatory duties may not be used. If it is deemed to be appropriate, one of the committee members may come from outside the department.

In addition to the ordinary experts, one or more special experts may be appointed to evaluate part of the material submitted by the applicant. Special experts are appointed in the same way as the ordinary experts. Special experts may be appointed both before and after the ordinary expert committee has commenced its work. The special experts will submit individual evaluations as guidance for the ordinary experts. These evaluations shall be attached to the ongoing administrative procedure.

Questions about impartiality shall be clarified before the expert committee and any special experts are appointed. The Faculty Board's approved "Provisions on impartiality and confidence" are to be used for this purpose (http://www.uib.no/en/hf/45507/impartiality-and-confidence).

Note. In the appointment of a research fellow in connection with an externally funded project, exceptions can be made from the rules of the Norwegian Civil Service Act concerning advertising, recommendation and appointment. Cf. Section 7.3 of the Appointment Regulations.

2. Applications that clearly do not meet the formal requirements for the position as specified in the advertising may be rejected before the expert committee begins its work. Grounds for rejection may include insufficient documentation of qualifications, insufficient or irrelevant education, or a clearly insufficient project description (an applicant may be asked to submit supplemental material if that is deemed necessary). The rejection of clearly unsatisfactory applications is made by the head of the expert committee. The applicants must be informed of this decision.

The expert committee's members shall receive a complete list of all applicants.

3. The individual applicant is evaluated on the basis of the submitted application with enclosures and in accordance with the assessment criteria that are specified in greater detail later in these guidelines.

Insofar as there are enough qualified applicants, a number of applicants that clearly exceeds the number of fellowships shall be ranked out of consideration for the subsequent round of interviews and the need for reserves if any of the ranked applicants withdraw their applications.

4. The head of the committee prepares a statement, which contains a justified ranking of the best applicants. The committee's evaluation of the individual applicants on the assessment form, “Individual evaluation of applicants for a university fellowship,” accompanies this statement as an enclosure, together with any statements from special experts. If any of the ranked applicants have previously had recruitment positions where the person in question has worked on the same or related issues, this must be noted in the statement. It ought to be clearly stated in the evaluation if male or female applicants are given approximately equal evaluations. The committee must not express an opinion on issues of equality, personal suitability, or other conditions that do not concern the applicants’ overall documented academic qualifications.

This statement is sent to the faculty and head of department. The committee's statement shall normally be ready within three months after the committee has received all application documents.

The assessment form is sent to the individual applicant together with the expert committee’s statement. Only errors in the administrative procedure can give grounds for comments from the applicant.

5. The head of department decides which of the ranked applicants shall be called in for an interview and appoints an interview committee. Members of the expert committee may serve on the interview committee. The committee will be chaired by the head of department or by an appointed chair of an alternate department. On the basis of the interviews held in conjunction with the expert committee's statement together with the advertising text, information about the applications and any references, the head of department formulates a final recommendation with a ranking of the applicants. This recommendation is sent to the Appointments Board at the Faculty of Humanities, which makes the appointment(s).

Criteria for the evaluation of the applicants

In the evaluation of the applicants, it shall be evaluated whether their projects lie within the subject areas that are indicated in the advertising text. In the further evaluation, emphasis shall be given to the following criteria:

1. Previous education
In order to qualify for a fellowship, the applicants must have a Norwegian Master’s degree in accordance with Section 3 of the Regulations concerning requirements for a Master’s degree (https://lovdata.no/dokument/SF/forskrift/2005-12-01-1392), or an equivalent education. That entails that the applicant must have an education with a scope of 300 ECTS credits, of which the Master's programme comprises 120 ECTS credits and includes independent work of between 30 and 60 ECTS credits.

In the evaluation of the previous education, particular emphasis shall be given to the nature of the Master's thesis and the overall mark for the Master's examination. Emphasis shall be given to whether the Master's examination is taken in the prescribed time frame for completion, with corrections for any leave. The evaluation shall also take into consideration any additional education that is relevant to the project.

2. Project quality
The project's academic quality is a key and decisive criterion in the evaluation of the application. The project description shall be evaluated for clarity in the description of the issues, familiarity with the source material that is relevant to the project, awareness of relevant methodology, theoretical orientation and familiarity with previous research. Emphasis shall be given to the extent to which the project is original and will make an independent contribution to existing knowledge. Consideration shall also be given to plans for dissemination and other application of the research results.

The evaluation of the project's quality shall also consider its feasibility. Emphasis shall be given to whether a reasonable schedule for completion of the project has been drawn up. Whether the applicant possesses the prerequisite academic knowledge that the project requires shall also be assessed.

3. Other academic qualifications
The committee shall take into consideration other academic qualifications in addition to the Master's examination in the form of academic publications and job experience that is relevant to the project. In connection with this, consideration shall also be given to the time elapsed after the Master's examination was taken, corrected for documented leave.
 
4. Supporting environment
The department's capacity for guidance and the various forms of supporting environment that the department can otherwise offer with regard to the project shall be evaluated. This includes related research activity at the department, relevant organised research training programmes and groups of researchers, possibilities of participation in national and international networks, expertise in other departments and the infrastructure in the department.

5. Ethical considerations
The committee shall assess whether the project is in accordance with relevant research ethical guidelines (https://www.etikkom.no/en/; http://www.nsd.uib.no/nsd/english/index.html).

A short text shall be drawn up that discusses the project and provides a justification for the assessment. This shall be sent to the applicants.

In the committee's internal work on the assessment of the individual applicant, the enclosed form "Individual evaluation of applicants for a university fellowship" may be used. Each of the criteria 1-3 is given a rating on a scale with three levels: 1 = weak, 2 = good, 3 = very good (0 shall not be given). In the comprehensive assessment, the individual criteria are weighted by means of the following multiplication factors: previous education 2, project quality 3, and other academic qualifications 1.