New PhDs celebrate at Håkon’s Hall
Internationalisation and the research community were praised at what may have been the last ever doctor promotion event at Håkon’s Hall.
On Friday 30 January, the new doctors at the University of Bergen (UiB) were celebrated in Håkon’s Hall (Håkonshallen). The tradition of doctorates at UiB goes all the way back to 1949 and the first PhD graduate, Egil Alvsaker.
In 1964, Thora Hartveit became the first woman PhD graduate from UiB. Today there is equality among the genders, with 111 men and 107 women graduating at UiB in 2014.
Knowledge knows no borders
In his speech, Rector Dag Rune Olsen in particular emphasised the international PhDs graduating from UiB. In the last few years, around one third of all doctoral graduates have been international students and in 2014 the graduates were from 38 countries.
“Knowledge knows no borders. Only through research and collaboration can we hope to solve the world’s major challenges. Climate change and armed conflict, both between and within countries, are examples of why knowledge and science, in combination with good leadership, are crucial for solving our shared global challenges,” said Rector Olsen. “But this requires that we are always searching for answers to old as well as new questions.”
He added that although these large challenges can sometimes seem unassailable, the research performed in all corners of the world bring hope for a better future.
Always reach for the big ideas
Liv Eggset Falkenberg spoke on behalf of the new PhDs. She wrote her doctoral thesis on the brain’s chemistry and function in healthy and schizophrenic people.
She spoke about how her supervisor, Professor Kenneth Hugdahl, draws a distinction between ‘research’ and ‘science’.
“Everyone can investigate, or research, but to contribute to the progress of science requires so much more effort,” she said. “There is a fine line between genius and stupidity, and one should always try to reach for the big ideas.”
She also stressed how important it is to have a community of researchers to discuss with.
“Some get to conduct research, some get to teach, some get ‘real jobs’,” she said jokingly, earning chuckles from the gathered audience. “However, some young researchers end their PhD studies without a job in sight. I hope the university sees the usefulness in retaining more young researchers.”
From Håkon’s Hall to UiB’s new assembly hall
Håkon’s Hall served as the royal residence during Håkon Håkonsson’s reign in the thirteenth century. UiB has held its doctor promotion at Håkon’s Hall since August 1998.
The January 2015 event was probably the last to be arranged at this historical venue. Starting in autumn 2015, the new university assembly hall will be the venue of choice for events of the scale and importance of the doctor promotion.