Election manifesto 2017-2021
The University of Bergen is characterised by proven and reliable European research traditions and is amongst the leading research and educational institutions. The university is founded upon the core values of academia: academic freedom, rationality and critical thinking. These are values that are currently being challenged and must therefore be emphasised and defended.
We will further develop UiB as a research-intensive, comprehensive and international university. The university’s seven faculties, broad fields of science, social sciences and humanities, and vocational programs comprise a wide range of knowledge. UiB has a special responsibility to encourage and sustain long-term, well grounded, free and curiosity-driven research. This important mandate should characterize the university in the coming years. High standards in a broad range of disciplines lay the foundation for multi- and interdisciplinary research of quality, societal relevance and innovation. We will further this profile through respect and commitment to the various disciplines and their needs.
In a changing institutional landscape, characterized by mergers of university colleges and universities, it will be crucial in the coming years to develop the institution’s uniqueness and clarify UiB’s profile. UiB’s strategy for the period 2016-2022 – “Ocean, life and society” – lays the foundation for further development of the institution’s profile while sustaining the core values of academia.
We will continue our efforts to implement the strategy in close cooperation with the university’s staff and students.
The education offered at UiB is research-based. UiB students will be taught by active researchers and encouraged to be involved in the research carried out at the institution. Students will acquire the principles that are rudimentary to research-based arguments and critical reflection. Independent thinking and robust theoretical knowledge will characterize students who are educated at UiB. This competence is more important than ever with regard to society and the labour market’s long-term demand for skilled and independent thinkers and citizens.
We pledge to be a leadership for the entire university. Maintaining democratic participation and academic freedom will be of great importance for us in the leadership team. We will continue the existing form of governance with elections for the position of rector.
Under the University and University College Act, the University of Bergen has a responsibility for long-term and well-grounded research. All disciplines at UiB should have curiosity-driven research. Academic staff at UiB should have uninterrupted time for research. This requires predictable structures, good working conditions and long-term planning. We will continue to implement the objectives of the strategy so that by 2022 UiB will have world class research environments and several research groups of high international standard at all faculties. We will facilitate initiatives for new outstanding research centres. We will also promote a culture of openness, creativity and also the determination to identify and develop unexpected and original ideas. The university’s considerable academic breadth is an advantage and a solid foundation for innovative multi- and interdisciplinary research of high quality and relevance to society. We will enable each discipline to maintain its own uniqueness. At the same time, the multi-disciplinary nature of the university offers unique opportunities to contribute to complex and global research questions that require collaboration across disciplines. We will advocate for several measures, and test new structures and mechanisms to achieve multi- and interdisciplinary cooperation.
The board of UiB has identified three strategic interdisciplinary areas to invest in: marine science, global social challenges and climate, and energy restructuring. All of these have a long history at UiB, span a number of disciplines and have research groups of outstanding international standard. These strategic areas contribute significantly to the university’s profile, and the research groups involved have great academic and political influence both nationally and internationally. We will contribute to realizing the strategy’s aims in the three priority areas by supporting academic groups engaged in pioneering research and able to attract talented students and researchers.
We will work to ensure that UiB’s participation in the European and national research programs is strengthened. We will investigate measures that would make UiB’s researchers more successful in attaining externally funded research, and seek to ensure that research programs also support independent and curiosity-driven research. We have high ambitions for our research education. We want more international cooperation on research training and will enhance candidates’ competence in ethics, university pedagogy and other areas. We will work to ensure that our young scientists and artists acquire a high international standard. We want to make a particular effort to support promising young researchers through developing talent programs and initiating various and systematic measures to develop young researchers’ potential.
Most who complete a PhD at UiB will not have a further career in the higher education sector. We therefore wish to promote and publicize career opportunities outside academia. Predictability for young researchers’ career needs is to be improved. We will be dedicated to decreasing the post-PhD unemployment period and providing good career development support.
“Open Science” includes both open publishing and open access to research data. We believe that publicly funded research should and must be shared, and we therefore support both international and national efforts to open publishing. UiB owns the research institutes Uni Research and CMR and subsidiaries, managing them on behalf of the state. We want to develop these institutes to become powerful centres for commissioned and applied research in Western Norway. Their undertakings should be completed in close and formalized cooperation with UiB.
Education should be research-based. It should be apparent to students that they are studying at a researchintensive university. The education offered at UiB should be characterized by its high standard. We will follow up on the recent education act by working towards challenging and engaging studies, good study environments, clear and thorough curricular, and varied forms of assessment and teaching characterized by student participation. The work with digital learning tools and digital literacy should be continued through DigUiB. We will improve teachers’ pedagogical competence and work to ensure that classes are rewarding.
UiB will educate academically capable, independent and competent citizens and attractive candidates for a changing labour market. The relevance of the education to working life, and students’ connections with the labour market will be strengthened through cooperation and dialogue with the market. We will continue our efforts to provide academic mentoring as part of our programs. The recruitment of strong and committed students is also essential for high quality education. To improve the educational outcome we will, in cooperation and dialogue with the student union, clarify the demands placed on the students’ own learning efforts and work.
Both academia and the labour market are international. We will work systematically to increase the proportion of exchange students to and from UiB, and to offer more courses in English.
The Quality Reform led to more structured degrees and has contributed to more people having completed higher education. However, exibility has been reduced. In keeping with the ideals of the “liberal arts” traditions, we wish to investigate whether increased exibility can make education more relevant to a changing labour market and society. We will work towards improving opportunities for students to combine courses across faculties and institutions.
The number of high school teachers graduating from UiB falls short of current demands. At the same time, competent and committed teachers in secondary schools are a prerequisite for societal development and the recruitment of talented students. We believe that the organizing of teacher training should be reviewed in order to create a clearer profiling, an increased number of candidates, as well as a simplified organization and cooperation between the relevant faculties and external partners.
We will establish and investigate measures and structures to enable more multi- and interdisciplinary collaboration between faculties to ensure that the degrees we offer are complementary and innovative.
UiB still offers a relatively limited scope of professional development. At the same time the demand for universities’ contribution to lifelong learning is increasing. We want to increase professional development, both in terms of the courses offered and commissioned.
The University of Bergen has a long tradition as Western Norway’s largest and most significant institution for culture and knowledge dissemination. This task of dissemination is an essential aspect of our role in society.
The knowledge that we steward is enhanced through dialogue with the outside world. In order to have a broad engagement we need various channels of communication. UiB’s strategy states that we should be at the forefront of digital communication in Norway. We wish to investigate the possibility of a dedicated channel in cooperation with Media City Bergen.
The University Museum has played a central role in the dissemination of knowledge in relation to culture and nature since opening in 1825. We will work to ensure that when the University Museum reopens in 2018, it will have exhibitions that engage, challenge and educate. We will also support the University Library’s important role in knowledge dissemination.
There has been an increasing emphasis on research being developed in relation to policy. To this end the European Commission has established a so-called science “advice” mechanism. We wish to make provisions in order that our researchers can contribute to knowledge and advice in areas where UiB has high competence.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
We will bolster innovation and create opportunities for the entrepreneurship of students and staff throughout the university. In addition to focusing on traditional technology and product development, this entrepreneurship should contribute to the development of service and practice innovation. Bergen Technological Transfers (BTO) should be given a well-defined role as UiB’s most significant instrument both in the development of ideas with a view to commercialization and business development, and of user and service innovation projects for the private and public sectors.
We will develop courses in innovation and entrepreneurship. The university’s contribution to innovation and creativity will primarily be based on in-house research. The Norwegian Research Council’s support of the Centre for Research-based Innovation and the Research Centre for Environmentally-friendly Energy are examples of funding schemes supporting innovation within academia. We wish to increase the number of such centres at UiB, and to develop these in close partnership with the university research institutes. We believe that our knowledge clusters should contain incubators that facilitate innovation, especially for students.
Cooperation – National, Regional and Local
Knowledge clusters should, in line with the University’s strategy, be one of our main venues for interaction with other enterprises in the public and private sectors in the region. In addition to the shared utilization of infrastructure and meeting venues, such partnership covers all of the university’s four statutory responsibilities. The clusters will be a forum for innovation and study programs and have a clear grounding in society’s longterm needs. The knowledge clusters will also be one of several sites for further development of close cooperation with local authorities and NGOs.
We want to expand and formalize educational partnerships with regional institutions. We will also seek to develop strategic partnerships and bilateral agreements with educational institutions to strengthen and secure UiB’s profile as a research-intensive university. The university’s research institutes complement UiB in that they conduct applied and commissioned research. It is also vital that these activities rest on a foundation of wellgrounded research and knowledge. We believe that the collaboration between UiB and the research institutes must be improved and formalized, and that the work of the respective institutions is more closely integrated.
Students and staff are the university’s main resource. We will work for a good recruitment policy, a comprehensive personnel policy, safe working conditions, and for a good learning environment. We want to offer competitive terms for our employees; including salaries, working environment, and career and professional development opportunities. The students enrich our communities and we will work to ensure that students are included in the university’s academic environment as early as possible in their studies. UiB employees should feel assured that the management of the departments actively contribute to career planning. High quality and international recruitment processes should ensure highly qualified academic staff.
We will work towards developing a strong administrative and competent research support. Technical and administrative staff should be given career opportunities and offered professional development according to institutional demands.
Diversification of the financing of university activities is important to maintain institutional autonomy and to implement the board’s strategy. Therefore, we wish to work for increased external funding of our research. The Norwegian Research Council’s various funding opportunities are important for UiB, and we will strive to increase our success rate in all of its categories. We will continue to work to increase our success rate for Horizon 2020 and ERC funding. We want to develop cooperation with the Bergen Research Foundation to further strengthen recruitment of young talented researchers at UiB.
In line with the national funding structure, each faculty’s funding base is comprised of a fixed base rate and a results based rate. We believe that this model should be continued. While the faculty’s responsibility is to fund education and independent research, the university’s is primarily to finance strategic and multidisciplinary undertakings that implicate the whole university. Centralised undertakings should be time-limited and phased out according to specified timetables. Thereby we avoid annual budget cuts. The budget processes should be transparent and long-term budgets should be agreed on to secure the implementation of priorities.
A modern research infrastructure is essential in order to achieve high quality research, education and innovation. Such infrastructure is also an important benet when recruiting, applying for external funding and establishing national and international research partnerships. We will work to comprehensively organize our research infrastructure, databases, archives and collections, and develop these in collaboration with our key partners.
Customized and future-oriented spaces are important for UiB. We will prepare an area plan for UiB which safeguards the long-term needs of the different disciplines and students. This plan will contribute to the development of faculties and clusters, and ensure that campus development occurs in cooperation with the surrounding city.
The University of Bergen is an international research university. This affects all aspects of our activities. We participate in many networks, foreign centres and international organizations in order to share knowledge, encourage collaboration and work together on research and education related issues. This gives us a good foundation for our work to provide staff and students with the optimum opportunities for international cooperation. At the same time, we are a leading national institution with a responsibility to safeguard the Norwegian language and history. UiB should strengthen its international student recruitment and ensure that employment procedures are effective and transparent for applicants with a foreign background.
In line with adopted strategies we will work to increase international student exchange. Foreign students and employees are to receive information in English and have access to Norwegian courses. We will continue to develop the English-language information on UiB’s online portal. We will investigate models for strengthening employees’ foreign language skills, including foreign languages other than English.
Management, Organization, and Democratic Participation
Management of academic institutions requires thorough knowledge of the university's academic activities and respect for the university’s core values. We will retain the existing governance structure with elections for the position of rector.
We will strengthen the academic leadership at UiB and work to achieve close cooperation between the administration and the academic leadership. UiB leaders should promote a positive and inclusive organizational culture and foster a productive working environment. We will promote an inclusive and committed leadership, transparent processes and develop a culture of respect for different roles, knowledge and experience. Committed staff and students are valuable. We believe that the University of Bergen should allow space for critical remarks, both internally and externally.
The recruitment process for advertised positions should be broad, diverse and international. We strive to ensure that managers at all levels have tools and support that will enable them to exercise good and appropriate management. We will develop programs to strengthen research and educational leadership, and seek to boost knowledge of the university’s organizational structure and democratic bodies.
We want an efficient and effective organization that is tailored to UiB’s core tasks. It will be characterized by high competence, an efficient workflow, mutual trust and the reduction of unnecessary reporting.
A positive and inclusive work environment is a prerequisite for wellbeing and positive results. Harassment and discrimination within the workplace will not be tolerated. We will promote gender equality in a broader sense, for an improved gender balance in academic programs and in scientific and technical-administrative positions. Managers at UiB should be familiar with gender equality challenges and work to address these.
We will work closely with safety representatives, student representatives, student associations and the trade unions of employees.