Pandemic Centre
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Strengthens pandemic understanding through PhD-course

PhD-students with different backgrounds are participating in the Pandemic Centre's interdisciplinary PhD-course this semester. The students hope the course will give them a broader understanding of the complex issues during a pandemic.

Studenter på PhD-kurs Pandemisenteret
INTERDICIPLINARY: Isil, Rita and Ping are three of the students taking part in the PhD-course at the Pandemic Centre. They all come from different countries and different academic backgrounds.
Paul André Sommerfeldt

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Since 2021, the pandemic center has organized a two-week course aimed at PhD students from all disciplines. The course covers both medical issues related to vaccines, experiences from pandemics in a historical perspective as well as social, legal and ethical dilemmas.

The course's instructors consist of various professionals from UiB, as well as other professionals who are invited from abroad. This year, among others, Apostolos Veizis, general manager of the organization InterSoS (Greece), is participating. 

Deeper understanding

One of those who have signed up for the course this semester, is Ping Ping Song from China. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics and is now doing a PhD where she is doing research on mathematical models related to the spread of covid-19.

«I hope that the course will give me a broader perspective from other research fields», says Song.

Her fellow student Ritha Willio has a Master's in health economics and is now a PhD student at BCEPS where she is doing research on priorities in health. In her work, she particularly looks at infectious diseases, which makes the PhD course at the Pandemic Center very relevant.

«It gives me the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of various issues related to covid and the pandemic», says Willio.

Isil from Turkey is a doctor and was a last year student during the first year of the pandemic. She says the course seemed interesting because she had many different experiences. 

«I want to be able to discuss both good and bad experiences from the pandemic», she says.

This year's PhD-group includes people from countries such as Chile, Jordan, Syria, Iran, Peru, Turkey, China and Malawi. 

«An important challenge»

Among the lecturers who participate, and who have participated in the past, are Henriette Sinding Aasen and Eirik Holmøyvik from the Pandemic Center.  

«It is always nice to teach on this PhD course, and to meet students with different backgrounds and from different academic disciplines. It is challenging in a short time to present legal principles in an understandable way, but as a researcher and teacher it is also an interesting and important challenge», says Sinding Aasen.

Her colleague Eirik Holmøyvik agrees. 

«It is rewarding to meet students from different countries and disciplines. They ask good questions. The pandemic affected all countries and all parts of society. The legal challenge, how we can handle a dangerous pandemic without abandoning the rule of law and human rights, was something we shared. That is why it is important to have arenas where we can meet to discuss these questions across backgrounds and subjects», says Holmøyvik.