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Candidate to the University Board - Group C

Even Birkeland

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Make the invisible visible!

I am running for the technical and administrative staff representative in the university board election. To be a clear voice for a modernization of group C, and to be a voice for those who are rarely heard in committees and boards at UiB, namely the technical staff. Currently, I work as a Chief engineer at the Proteomics unit the University of Bergen (PROBE), at the Department of Biomedicine. I have a PhD degree from the Women's clinic on endometrial cancer, and as a researcher and postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Clinical Medicine I did my research on breast cancer. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in aquaculture.  

Group C is a heterogenous group that spans from floor to ceiling in the organization. The difference is also substantial in the level of education and salary. There is also a clear distinction of who is heard and who is merely visible. The technical employees are a large group at UiB who are notoriously overlooked when it comes to pay and the distribution of power.  Technical staff are rarely represented in the faculty boards, and seldom represented at the boards of the various union organizations associated with the UiB. I believe that this is detrimental. 

During the next ten years where employees from the post-war generation retire, large parts of group C will go from being low educated to highly educated. The leadership at the university and the several of the union boards have been aware of this for many years. However, positions from group C and especially the engineering positions have not been assessed for a long time.  

Employees in the engineering positions supervise, publish scientific papers at the same time as they take care of the traditional technical tasks such as ordering, maintenance and HSE. The engineers are scientific hybrids that UiB use whenever they find it appropriate.  

At a time when temporary positions are the norm, UiB does not see that group C is a carrier of continuity in research and teaching.  

It is impossible to run for election in 2021 without mentioning Covid19. The last year has been hard on everyone. However, this is not the time hold back. This is the time for the university to modernize, particularly group C.   

Goals for the next four years:  

  • Make a promotion ladder for group C. Based on education and seniority, comparable to one the teachers have in addition to local salary settlements.
  • The job titles research engineer and research manager should be thoroughly evaluated. These positions are already established at competing universities inland and abroad.
  • Evaluate if faculties and institutes should have a head of the technical staff, such as head of the administration where it is appropriate.  
  • Assess if group C should be divided in three, at the central, faculty and department level. Technical staff, engineering staff and administrative staff often have very different needs.  
  • Education must pay off even at UiB. Minimum salary for master's and PhD degree in group C.  
  • Reduce top-down communication.