Category Archives: This week’s editorial

This weeks Editorial

The rearrangement of the NFR deadlines in combination with a new lockdown in Bergen and one of the coldest, but most beautiful winters I have experienced, certainly has brought a novel twist to 2021 thus far. While most of us come up for air after the NFR deadline, there are many more deadlines for funds, positions and positioning right around the corner, it’s a case of hold on to something tight and here we go! Firstly, I would like to highlight the possibility to apply for small research funds, which has a deadline of 14.02.21 and here are the application criteria:

  • Funding for researchers who do not have large funding.
  • You can apply for 15 000-150 000 NOK.
  • The funds have to be used within 2021 and cannot be transferred to 2021.
  • Recipient has to be an active researcher with a permanent position, prof II or 1.am. II
  • The recipient must have applied for external funding during the past years

Do not forget the application deadline for PhDs (9 positions) and Postdocs (2 positions) at the Medical faculty also with a deadline of 14.02.21.

Finally, 2 exciting application possibilities in conjunction with the Trond Mohn Foundation have been published. In collaboration with Haukeland hospital, the medical faculty will fund a new center of regenerative medicine. This center will build on the existing efforts of the Bergen Stem Cell Consortium (BSCC) and the new ex vivo clean room facility at the laboratory building of the culture of cells to be utilized for clinical trial. The center will be supported by the Trond Mohn Foundation over a 5-year period and the foundation has set off 20 MNOK to support 3-4 research project within the field of regenerative medicine. Additionally, the foundation has also put aside 5 MNOK funding for collaborative projects between a Bergen – and Oslo environment in core facilities for genetically modified cell therapies in Oslo. Application details can be found here:       https://www.uib.no/sites/w3.uib.no/files/attachments/crm_prequa.pdf

 

In another initiative, the Trond Mohn Foundation has in collaboration with the University of Bergen, Haukeland University Hospital and Stavanger University Hospital established the West Norwegian Center for Antimicrobial Resistance (CAMRIA). The center is led by Professor Nina Langeland at K2, University of Bergen. The centre aims to shed light on the spread of resistant bacteria in hospitals, by combining new and predictive mathematical approaches with advanced molecular biology. This intersection of disciplines will allow the unprecedented characterisation and prediction of AMR spread and outbreak dynamics and the identification of optimal control strategies using the paradigm of “precision medicine”. In parallel, new logistic, and policy research will provide a change in our ability to intervene in outbreaks. The center is now announcing funding for 3-4 projects that can help achieve the center’s objectives. For more details on this call and application templates please contact MEDforsk@uib.no. The deadline for this call is March 15th, 2021.

 

OSCE6: THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR THE EFFORT

The practical station exam OSCE8 for medical students should actually have been completed in June 2020, but this was postponed until February 2nd due to the corona pandemic. Although there was sufficient time to plan the exam, for many it was still a hectic rush last week.

There are several reasons for this. The ROSA analysis was delayed, there were new challenges in the infection situation, and there were personnel challenges partly due to many sick leaves at the study section K1 / K2 in the most critical phase, but also due to the need for extra reserve personnel if someone urgently had to be quarantined. Nevertheless, OSKE8 was carried out, and my impression is that it happened in a very good way, professionally, administratively, and in terms of infection control. It was just extremely impressive! And the students were very happy that the exam could be completed!

Many of you in a very short time lined up as extra markers, examiners, examiners and administrative people, and many worked day – and in fact night – to facilitate the exam. There is certainly a lot we can learn from this round and which we should probably address in the next round this spring when OSKE8 and OSKE12 will be held again, but I want to praise all of you who lined up, both electively and ad hoc, so that this became possible. THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH!!

Have a great weekend. Hope you have a surplus in your mental account for a ski trip or two J

Who deserves K2’s Teaching Award?

Teaching is one of our core activites and we want to stimulate GOOD teaching at K2!

This year, we focus on raising awareness about the requirement for teaching education, which now applies to all scientific staff both for novel employees and for applications for the renewal of temporary positions (20% positions). The decree demands 200 hours of courses (about 8 study points). We are working on sharing information regarding courses in teaching and learning, and on finding god solutions for how to facilitate the acquisition of the required education for those in need. “Enhet for læring” (the learning center) at the Faculty of Medicine offers a selection of courses that may be recommended.

Our institute wishes to honour a teacher or teaching environment who has demonstrated an extraordinary effort within the field of teaching or development of innovative teaching and learning programs, by forwarding the K2 Teaching Award (NOK 50’000). Think of a nominee an e-mail the name of your candidate and a brief explanation to mette.vesterhus@uib.no by March 15th.

RETHOS is active from 2022. All UGLE must revise descriptions within their fields accordingly, securing that they comply with the requirements in RETHOS as regards form and content. Contact Harald Wiker for help.

The K2 Teaching Award is awarded at the TEACHING DAY May 19th – save the date!

This weeks editorial

Hi everybody!

It is time for the allocation of small research funds (SMÅFORSK). The funds are a joint effort between NFR and UiB. The intention is that the funds should be given to research groups that have not received large grants so that they can start new projects. It can be applied to cover expenses for travel, seminars, courses, materials, technical-administrative assistance and other operating costs.

Requirements for application and criteria for allocation:

– The funds go to researchers who do not have large operating assets already.

– The size of the individual grants is between 15 000-150 000 NOK.

– The funds must be used by 2021  and cannot be transferred.

– Recipients must be active researchers in a permanent scientific position, Prof. II or 1.am. II.

– Recipients must have applied for external funds in recent years.

Since we have experienced that is does not work optimally to limit the application to research group leaders, as last year all permanent scientific employees (including scientific employees in 10-50% position) can apply. It is done via this link (https://skjemaker.app.uib.no/view.php?id=9742569). Deadline is 14.2.2021

Trond Mohn Research Foundation (TMS) has announced a new round of recruitment grants with a final deadline of March 8 2021. Since there is a limit to the number of nominated candidates each department can promote, we ask interested applicants to submit a 1-2 page sketch describing the candidate, project, research community and candidate’s CV (TMS wants a CV of up to three pages that includes the most important and relevant publications).

The internal deadline is February 1 2021. The sketch and CV can be sent to amra.grudic@uib.no and silke.appel@uib.no.

It is worth noting that this scholarship provides an opportunity to bring in external candidates, something both the Foundation and the Faculty of Medicine strongly encourage.

In addition, I want to inform you of the PhD and postdoc positions from the medical faculty for spring 2021. There will be 9 PhD positions (2 of those MNT positions, i.e. reserved for mathematics, natural sciences and technology, and 1 within odontology) and 2 postdoc positions. The ads will be available online and in BT today with an application deadline 14.2.2021.

Have a nice week-end!

Many application opportunities in 2021

We have received the results of last year’s applications to the Research Council, but there is no time to rest. The application deadline for groundbreaking research (FRIPRO) is already 10 February, so applicants must report to the department management so that a project economist can be assigned. It is also possible to get help from our research advisor. In addition to FRIPRO, there is also a call for young research talents, persons under the age of 40 years and between 2 and 7 years after PhD. A three-year research project with international mobility is a brilliant opportunity to work and gain experience abroad. In addition, funding is announced for the use of health data for sustainable health and welfare and global health that could suit some of K2’s research groups.

Of larger calls, we find Large interdisciplinary research project and a new call for K.G. Jebsen Centres in translational medical research. The latter has an application deadline in May and is a 2-step process. UiB and HUS have the opportunity to submit an application for 4 centers in this round.

The Norwegian Cancer Society also has an early application deadline this year, namely 10 March. The same date is also the deadline for Helse Vest’s announcement of innovation projects for 2021. You can apply for funding for new projects at your own company or idea transfer between the full companies.

Last but not least, there will be good opportunities to apply for EU funding this year. The new research program Horizon Europe starts this year with the first announcements this autumn. Many of the calls will suit K2’s researchers

We hope all the research groups at K2 will send applications this year.

 

Good luck

 

Eystein

Vice head, K2

Happy New Year!

Christmas and the holiday season at the end of the year are over. It has been a busy time – everything must be fixed and arranged for a few, intense days. However, for most people it has been a precious holiday with time together with the ones we love, as well as an opportunity for contemplation and reflection. It provides motivation and strength to embark on a new year with new opportunities.

We entered the new year with dramatic events. The landslide accident in Gjerdrum was a terrible event, and our thoughts go to relatives, friends and acquaintances of those who lost their lives or were affected in some other way. There are probably many of us who could not believe what we saw on TV on Wednesday where the riots in Washington DC were a failed attempt at a coup in a country that has been a guardian of democracy and a champion of individual freedom. And unfortunately, the coronavirus infection rates have increased significantly, which has necessitated more and stricter restrictions.

There is still reason to look at the new year with optimism! We have learned a lot of new things in the past year in terms of infection prevention and alternative forms of learning, so we are well on our way. A lot of activity will therefore be able to continue as it did in the autumn of 2020 when it comes to research and teaching.

Vaccination is now underway and hopefully the infection situation will be under control sometime this year. We have therefore decided that K2 Retreat, which we had planned for the spring of 2021, will be moved to the autumn while the teaching day (together with K1) will be in the spring, even though it may be digital.

We received good results on applications last year (EU, Helse Vest, Hjertefondet, Kreftforeningen, NFR, Novo Nordisk Fonden). There are a number of application deadlines already now in January and February, among others Novo Nordisk Fonden and NFR so it’s just a matter of getting around. Contact Amra for help and advice. There is the possibility of financial support for applications, especially for those who want to try their hand at ERC. The latter should be considered by more people, the one who dares nothing, nothing wins!

All the best for the new year!

Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!

“Just another year”? Because of Covid-19, 2020 will be a year for the history books. The pandemic has turned research and teaching upside down for most of us. Hygienic measures such as social distancing, face masks and antimicrobial sanitizing, as well as the reorganization of communication and teaching to digital media, have required a lot from the individual and the organizations, including K2. But it has been great for me as a leader to see how well you have coped with this upheaval with acceptance, constructive action and even enthusiasm. Thank you very, very much!

We have learned a lot in many areas. Within a few weeks, UiB became digitalized, including eg. The K2 Day! New forms of communication make distances trivial and new international contacts and networks have become possible. I think we will emerge stronger from the pandemic, although there are some things that have been delayed or made more difficult.

K2 has undergone a number of changes in 2020 in that the research groups have been partially reorganized and teaching groups have been established with teaching group leaders (UGLEs). I think this will improve the academic environment for research and teaching. Thanks for constructive processes and involvement.

Despite Covid-19, 2020 has been a good year for K2. Employees have published in the best journals and been awarded prizes. Professor Nina Langeland will lead a National Program Against Antibiotic Resistance, Professor Eva Gerdts a Center for Heart Disease in Women, and Professor Einar Klæboe Kristoffersen a Center for Regenerative Medicine. Congratulations to these environments!

We have so far not fully achieved our goal of external research funding for 2020, but we hope this year’s allocations in the Research Council of Norway, which will be announced next week, will rectify this. K2 coordinates two COE applications, is shared leader of two more and partner on another five. It is to hope that at least one of these will make it! Thanks to Silke and Emmet for being temporarily willing to move up!

Autumn is often perceived as hectic due to application deadlines, meetings, and new student courses. And the semester is relatively short compared to the spring semester. Hence, as the year is nearing its end, it is good to be able to look forward to a holiday with the opportunity for peace and reflection.

For many, Christmas and the holiday season is the highlight of the year where family and friends gather for a holiday full of traditions and a sense of belonging, followed by Christmas in space, which can provide opportunities for other activities at home in Bergen, trips to the mountains or elsewhere. Covid-19 unfortunately places restrictions on this this year, but then we get the opportunity to form even closer ties within our own family.

What most of us take for granted is not necessarily the case for everyone. Some have lost someone they loved or have no close friends or family gathered this year. Can we think extra about these and maybe include them in our own Christmas celebration?

With wishes for a peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2021.

Do University of Bergen and the health trusts cooperate well enough?

As an employee at the University of Bergen and Haukeland University Hospital for almost 25 years, I have been able to participate in and witness a fantastic research and competence building in our institutions. The many colleagues who are employed in so-called dual positions (both UiB and HUH) are in many ways the hubs of this collaboration and those who drive clinical research forward. Although the cooperation is good, there is also “debris in the machinery”.

Different salary models in recruitment positions between those who are employed at UiB and the health trust are a source of a potential conflicts as people who have the same type of job and function can end up with very different salaries. The previously sought-after part-time positions at UiB are no longer so attractive. Colleagues experience that they get a lot more work and stress without the department facilitating research and teaching. If a part-time UiB-position lead to reduced workplan at the hospital, the recent salary increase to these postion is being “eaten up”. There are many who now ask themselves the question – do I want this?

I call for a better climate of cooperation. We should not be competitors – our opponents are the research and teaching environments in Oslo, Trondheim and Tromsø. We in Western Norway need to cooperate more and become more competitive on the national and international arena. Perhaps a working group can take a closer look at how cooperation can be improved in concrete terms.

Eystein

Vice head of K2

Dear all!

Now that Pål and Eystein are back as head and deputy head of K2, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the trust and support I have received during my time as acting head of department. Being the leader of so many enthusiastic and amazing employees has been an exciting experience for me!

You actually have the opportunity to see each other next week on Institute Day (Tuesday 1.12. 8:30 -10:30). Remember to sign up! (https://k2info.w.uib.no/2020/11/05/pamelding-til-instituttets-dag/)

On the program is amongst others

  1. Research on Covid-19: Rebecca Cox
  2. Celebration of pensionists and jubilees
  3. Presentation of the research group leaders and the UGLE (teaching group leaders)

As Mette wrote in the previous leader, we have had a meeting with all UGLEs at K2. All scientific employees shall belong to at least one UGLE, and we have sent out questionnaires which not everyone has answered yet (https://skjemaker.app.uib.no/view.php?id=9325840). Please answer that, so that the OWLS can get an overview of who they have in their group.

Wishing everyone a really good weekend!

UGLE-meeting

Rain, storm and weather warnings have characterized Western Norway over the last couple of days. Perhaps this is how everyday work life has felt sometimes for those of us who take care of teaching, exams and administration of this, in a semester characterized by digital conversion and adaption to variable rules for physical gathering or distancing. Luckily, it is in fact true that every cloud has a silver lining. Is it possible that we may have gained something on our way through the storm, like new ways of teaching?

It is time to share our experiences regarding this as well as regarding the implementation of the K2 teaching groups when the teaching group leaders (UGLE) meet virtually on Tuesday November 24th at 12-13. Link will be provided in a separate invitation to the UGLEs.

I would like to remind you of the short questionnaire that Julie sent to get an overview over the UNDERVISNINGSGRUPPENE. We would like to get the responses as soon as possible, in preparation for the UGLE meeting. It is swiftly done – please respond by Monday if you haven’t already done so! You will find the form here: https://skjemaker.app.uib.no/view.php?id=9325840

Wishing you a lovely wintery weekend.

Dear everyone!

It is Friday 13th and unfortunately, we are back in the Home Office after it almost felt like we were back to normal operation. The leadership team will thus also have limited presence, but one of us will be available every day. Fortunately, we were given an exemption from the mandatory home office for people who depend on being in the lab this time. It is the research group leaders who will keep track of the activities.

With increased digitalization and fewer meeting places, it is even more important than before to have good websites! We will be working on K2’s pages in the weeks ahead and I ask EVERYONE to update his or her person page (https://manual.uib.no/webmanual/personside/) and upload a photo. Besides, I ask all the research group leaders to take the initiative to improve their web pages, do not wait until the next K2 retreat (which hopefully comes!)

In addition, we are working to map the teaching groups. All scientific employees have received an email from Julie with a link to registration, and it is also included in this edition of K2nytt. All scientific employees shall belong to at least one teaching group!

Take care of each other and have a nice weekend!

Silke

Forewarned is forearmed: Why you need to know about SAP and Unit4

I am fully aware that new systems are the very last thing on your mind now that Erna and the City Council in Bergen are coming up with new restrictions, and we are facing a period of home office and digital teaching yet again. I therefore promise to keep it short and sweet.

The universities of Bergen, Oslo, Tromsø and Trondheim (BOTT) collaborate on joint procurement of new systems for finance, including orders and invoices, and HR / payroll. The systems that have been chosen for all 4 universities are called Unit4 (Unit 4 Business World) and SAP, for financial system and salary, respectively. UiB will have the pleasure of being the first university to try out the systems, and we will start using these new systems on 1st January 2021.

What does all this mean for you? Well, our economists are getting new systems to work in, and have already done an impressive clean-up job to close old projects in our existing systems. Unit4 will also be the new system for ordering and invoicing, which means that more of our technical employees and other people who place orders will receive training in and get acquainted with new ordering systems. For all of us who register holidays, working hours, disbursement reimbursements and more, everything that has previously gone through Pagaweb, we will now use SAP for. Separate websites have been set up at MED and here you will find more information about receiving the new systems: https://www.uib.no/med/137379/bott-%C3%B8konomi-ved-det-medisinske-fakultet

I have to be completely honest with you: I cannot rule out any childhood diseases in the new systems. Therefore, I would encourage you to order some extra consumables before Christmas, in case there should be a squeaks in January. As soon as there is more information about training, I will share it with you.

I reckon we will not see each other that much in the coming weeks, when home office again becomes the new norm. Digital meetings are becoming all the more important, and I hope many take the time to be “seen” on the Department’s day on Tuesday 1 December. Remember also the aids we have available at K2: Mouthpieces for use in public transport for those who can not work from home, and portable UIB-PCs for lending to (mainly) digital teaching for those who do not have a UIB-PC. And not least: Take very good care of yourself and stay safe and healthy. I don’t want any of you to fall ill.

All the best from Julie

This week’s editorial

With increased Covid-19 infection, we are back to recommending home office for those who may have it. Everyone else should talk to their leader about flexible working hours to avoid too many at the same time in rush hour traffic. All teaching that requires physical presence is carried out as usual, but I recommend that we switch to digital teaching wherever possible.

That brings me to side line jobs, and our duty to update them twice a year.

By side line jobs is meant job placement, job acquisition, assignments and assignments that an employee at UiB has outside his / her position at UiB, regardless of whether the work or job is paid or not. Work carried out for an enterprise or company wholly or partly owned by the employee is also regarded as a side line job.

The principles for side line jobs can be found in UiB’s Regelsamling (Norwegian only) and apply to all UiB employees, irrespective of the category of job and the number of positions. They must protect our reputation and the trust and integrity of the employees. There should be openness about side line jobs that may have an impact on the work of the university. Everyone must report on their own side assignment on their own initiative.

The following need not be registered: Membership in external review committees, referee for professional journals, assignments as external examiner, professional assignments that accompany main position or individual minor assignments in teaching or dissemination at other institutions, or unpaid appointments of limited scope for non-profit institutions.

The following must be reported: Side line jobs that may be in competition with the University’s activities, are of a long or extensive nature, and may cast doubt on the employee’s loyalty, willingness or ability to carry out his work at the University in the manner indicated by the position and the University’s purpose, and persistently use of the university’s resources and infrastructure.

Applications for side line jobs are evaluated according to the University’s principles for side line jobs, see above. Both registration of page tasks that require approval, and those that are only to be registered, are done in Pagaweb. Information about the side line jobs is stored there and will be made publicly available.

The Department Head approves or rejects applications. Rejection of an application can be appealed to the Faculty Board or the University Director. Violation of the principles of side-tasks can lead to personnel consequences under the Civil Service Act and other reactions under the rules of default in the civil service.

As Pål wrote last year, this may seem negative but side assignments are actual positive as long as it does not hamper or slow down our regular work, can damage the university’s reputation, or mix its own and the university’s resources.

Have a great weekend and Happy Halloween!

Innovation consulting

Foto: UiB

You have probably noticed the construction at the top of the Laboratory building. The new building – whether it is called the Incubator or the Innovation Center – is UiB and MED’s most visible and concrete investment in innovation and commercialization of research results. Buildings are good, but activity is better: working with researchers who want to see their good ideas realized and making a difference. So in parallel with the physical construction we are also building a better support system with specialist competence. MED has – as the first faculty – a dedicated innovation advisor, and from 2021 we will get a second one. Together with the department Innovation leader (Emmet McCormack), we are the first helpers on the path towards sustainable company, IP license agreement or transformative social innovation.

But what does an Innovation advisor actually do? The short answer is that we try to help with whatever is needed. I have 12 years of experience from nanomaterial start-up and been through everything from EU applications (and reporting) to product development (and certification) to patent writing (and Office actions) to investor pitching (and business cases) to drafting cooperation agreements, navigating new EU directives and handling random audits from the tax authorities – but that last one I will not help you with.

Specifically I can help with focusing proposals (especially impact and exploitation), focusing and pitching business ideas, first assessment of patentability (including simple searches) and commercial potential/value proposition, submitting DOFIs, or advising on agreements (IPR, secrecy and exit clauses). I am also involved in teaching Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and am the faculty contact towards VIS (the TTO) and also a contact person towards UiB central research and innovation section (FIA) and the hospital innovation section.

Most of what I do is about evaluating ideas from more perspectives than the scientific one – most importantly user perspective and investor perspective, but also the ‘European perspective’ in Horizon Europe (launching 26.october!) and the strategic thoughts behind the increased focus on innovation/impact and cooperation in national and EU funding calls.

Do you have a good idea you want to grow to something? I’d love to talk with you about ways to make it happen.

Andreas Westermoen

Andreas.westermoen@uib.no

No OSKE12

Hei everyone!

The corona pandemic continues, and we must learn to adapt to the new everyday life. This also has consequences for our students. OSKE12 will not be carried out this autumn, but the faculty has now decided that it will be an oral-practical exam instead. For this, more questions are needed. Everyone involved in the teaching of medical students is therefore encouraged to post more multiple choice questions in the MCQ database(https://mcq.medisin.ntnu.no/).).

Finally, I want to remind everyone that the Faculty Day is on October 21st and will be conducted digitally (https://www.uib.no/med/138844/fakultetets-dag-2020).

Have a nice week-end!

Silke

«The show must go on!”

COVID-19 struck back just as we were starting to relax: The start of the semester coincided with a surge in the number of infected people, leading to justified worries and frustration. The order from the faculty was clear: teaching and learning activities were to be carried through in line with what was planned as far as possible, including clinical teaching. Samarbeidsutvalget for UoB and the hospitals agree that education must be prioritized, we cannot afford to lose a generation of students!

For those of us who engage in teaching or organizing of teaching and learning activities, the challenges have been plenty – but luckily so have the victories! Once again numerous lecturers and administrative staff have rolled up their sleeves and solved the task.

Julie has got hold of UoB laptops to lend out and upgrading of more rooms for zoom lectures is ongoing. We have managed to transform quite a lot of auditorium lectures to digital ones – often interactive and in real time using zoom, which is the preferred alternative. A substantial part of the group learning activities has been provided following adjustment of rooms and group sizes. Not least, we have been able to offer our students the clinical learning activities which is essential in order to turn them into good clinicians, despite all the worries springing from an ongoing pandemic.

In particular, I would like to thank the heads of teaching groups, UGLE, the heads of semester boards and semester coordinators, who are putting down a lot of work in evaluations regarding infectious control and adjustments, changes to the organizing of teaching and learning activities, and in answering a considerable amount of questions from students and staff. I would also like to thank all of the lecturers and clinicinans who read the information which is sent out and manage to implement the necessary adjustments and perhaps also find some good solutions. Some have even managed to produce research based on this – K2’s Geriatrics Group by Marit Stordal Bakken and Katinka Alme will present two posters on teaching in a European geriatrics congress: «The show must go on: Teaching Geriatric Medicine during Covid-19 lock-down».

From several angels, there is intense, ongoing activity to secure that exams, OSCE 12 in particular, can be carried through if at all possible given the state of the pandemic at the given time. OSCE general Rune Nielsen is making a tremendous effort in preparing solutions that are feasible given the need for infectious control – a difficult but important task. The show must go on!

A big thank you!

After almost one week as acting head of the department, I would first like to say a big thank you for all the trust and support I have received, and Julie has deserved an extra thank you. I hope all of you understand that there may be some delays regarding some processes, but I’m doing the best I can, and together with Emmet, Mette and Julie I am convinced we will manage. I have now a post shelf on the 8th floor, and I will be available at Pål’s office on the 8th floor every Tuesday. The other days I can be met in my office on the 5th floor of the lab building (5395).

Although I have taken over most of the obligations, Pål and I have agreed that the employee interviews are postponed until after he returns as leader. But all research group leaders are encouraged to continue with their employee interviews, remember that it now is required to actually have them, it is not enough to just offer employee interviews.

Another topic I would like to mention is the university’s increased focus on ERC applications. All scientific staff should at least consider applying. Amra will contact you with more information during the coming months.

And even though autumn has begun, I hope we will get some sun during the weekend!

Temporary changes in the K2 management

Dear all. The Dean’s office wants full focus on the CoE applications for the last 2 months, with the effect that the two coordinators at K2, Eystein Husebye and me, are given temporary leave from our positions in the K2 management. From 21/9 and for approx. 2 months, Slike Appel is promoted as acting Head of Department and Emmet McCormack as Head of Research plus Deputy Head of Department. All inquiries, emails, telephones etc. must thus go to these and not to Eystein or me at this time.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank both of you for your willingness to take on these positions. I am sure you will manage the positions in an excellent way and wish you luck!

NEW GUIDELINES FOR DISERTATIONS

The possibility for public attendence at the dissertations has been warranted as this is the day the candidates can show what they have been working on for so long. The Faculty has therefore developed a scheme that can hopefully address both the technical challenges of digital implementation of disputation and infection control considerations.

A solution is now in place where up to 20 people can be present in a suitable UiB room during a trial lecture and dissertation. This can only take place by agreement with the Department and provided that infection control rules are complied with. Candidates who want such a solution must contact Irene Hjelmaas (Irene.Hjelmaas@uib.no) as soon as possible. It is the candidate’s responsibility to submit lists of participants with a telephone number to the Department no later than 2 days before the public defense. If lists of participants are not registered, the public can not be allowed into the room.

By agreement on a physical dissertation, there must be an infection control guard present in the room during the entire event. This is responsible for access control up to the list of participants, disinfection of contact surfaces before and after use, and that everyone present follows the rules of keeping their distance before, during and after the public defense. The infection control guard can, for example, be one from the candidate’s research group.

During the doctoral exam, our PhD contact (organized by Irene Hjelmaas) will prioritize the digital event as this forms the basis for the assessment. PhD contact will therefore not be physically present, but will be available digitally and facilitate testing and implementation.

The following also applies:
– Full digital dissertations are still recommended. By fully digital is meant a solution where everyone involved, including the candidate, is disputing from their own home or office (with private or UiB equipment).
– Everyone who has an active role in the dissertation must participate in testing well in advance, with the equipment and in the room they will be staying at the disseration itself. Everyone who has an active role during the dissertation must become well acquainted with the equipment through testing.
– IT assistant will be physically present (as long as they do not have to be quarantined or similar). This is ordered via UiB Help.
– Zoom webinar is the recommended solution from UiB central.
– Unfortunately, it will not be possible to invite more than 20 people in total into the dissertation room, even if the size of the room should indicate that it is possible.

Note that when it comes to public access, there may be changes at short notice if the infection situation worsens.

Good luck!

Helse Vest’s reasearch and innovation awards

Helse Vest RHF annually awards two prizes: a research prize and an innovation prize. The prizes will be awarded at the annual Research Conference in the autumn, and we encourage the various research environments in K2 to apply.

Helse Vest’s research award

The award is given to a researcher, research environment or young researcher (under the age of 40) who, through his or her research, has contributed to strengthening a research field or a research-based health service offering. The research must be of a nature and standard of significance for the level of research and / or the service offer in the region. Candidates (researcher, research environment or young researcher) who have contributed to the development of either a) research area, b) research collaboration / environment or c) who through their research have improved clinical practice in Helse Vest can be proposed.

The following form (Norwegian only): Forslagsskjema 2020- forskingspris og innovasjonspris should be filled in by the proposer.

Helse Vest’s annual research prize consists of NOK 200,000 and a work of art. The prize amount will be used for further research.

Helse Vest’s innovation award

The innovation prize is awarded to one or more persons who, through their work, have contributed to the development of a new or improved product, service, production process or organizational form that constitutes a concept that can be reused in the health sector. The award can be given both on the basis of research-driven and demand-driven innovation. The development must be made visible through the idea / innovation project being either reported and / or further developed together with the regional office of Innovation Norway, InnoMed, the Research Council of Norway or one of the region’s two Technology Transfer Offices (TTO). Similarly, internal projects that have not been made visible through the mentioned actors will also be considered. In such cases, it will be important that the product, process or services have been used, and it can be demonstrated to what benefit the innovation has had for the hospital.

A separate form (Norwegian only): Forslagsskjema 2020- forskingspris og innovasjonspris has been prepared to be filled in by the proposer.

The innovation award consists of NOK 100,000 and a work of art. The prize amount will be used for further innovation work.

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Employee interviews

It is time for the annual employee interviews. These are a part of targeted management and employee development. Therefore, the annual, systematic and mutually prepared personal conversations are between an employee and the immediate superior. All employees who have a main position at UiB must have employee interviews. This also includes fellows. For employees with a 10-20% position, the manager can agree with the employee that it is not necessary.

New this year is that it is not enough that the employee interviews are offered – they must also be carried out. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, I think a phone call or digital meeting can be fine in cases where for various reasons it can be difficult to complete the call with physical attendance.

Employee interviews are an important arena for clarifying expectations for performance, providing mutual feedback, and insight into each other’s work situation and addressing the work environment and conditions at the workplace. The conversation will be linked to K2’s strategic plans and be a real and results-oriented management tool for achieving set goals.

Elements related to life phase can be addressed as a theme. The conversation will also be used to uncover competence needs, change and development. The content of the employee interview must be focused on matters the manager and employee can do something about.

It is important to communicate what you want to achieve in the employee interview and facilitate the confidentiality needed for the interview to have added value for both parties. This can be a gradual process that can take some time to develop.

For foreign employees, it is important to be aware of their need to understand overall strategies and goals for the university, the importance of a good and inclusive work environment, and the individual’s opportunities for contribution to the community. Relevant topics can also be their social network, trust vis-à-vis the manager and colleagues, experience of belonging, and in some cases facilitation and integration also outside the workplace.

As a natural part of the performance appraisal and clarification of expectations, conversation about salary conditions is included as part of the employee interview. It is then important to remember that we have established systems for wage negotiations.

As Head of Department, I am responsible for ensuring that all employees conduct annual employee interviews and am responsible for ensuring that the results of the interviews are included in K2’s plans and budget. It is not possible to carry this out for all K2’s employees, hence the conduct of the interviews is delegated. I have employee interviews with the research group leaders, while they in turn are responsible for their group members. When it comes to administrative staff, head of administration Julie Stavnes is responsible.

Time is short and suddenly it’s Christmas. It is therefore a good idea to start the employee interviews as soon as possible. Good luck!

Hi everyone!

The semester is already well underway with some different teaching in the Corona era. I encourage all instructors to join the Teams group “K2 digital teaching” which contains a lot of useful information and is a platform for experience exchange.

Also this year, UiB has announced infrastructure funding with a framework of NOK 15 million. The Faculty of Medicine can submit 3 applications. It is the dean of research, Marit Bakke, and research leaders from the institutes who rank the applications and choose the 3 to be sent to the university. The guidelines can be found here (Veileder Forskningsinfrastruktur 2021). In short, the following applies:

  1. Each application can be a maximum of 4 MNOK
  2. Own financing of at least 20% (of application sum) is required
  3. The faculty has set aside 1 MNOK to cover parts of this
  4. If two faculties join together, the application sum can be 8 million. Note that the application must be among the three applications submitted by both faculties.

The application form can be found here (Søknadsskjema). Applications from K2 are sent to me (silke.appel@uib.no) and ranked by the leader group. Application deadline is 7/9.

Welcome back to a new semester!

I hope everyone had a great holiday. Most people have probably vacationed here in Norway and perhaps seen with new eyes how beautiful and exciting our country is?

Corona virus
As you know, there is currently an increased spread of coronavirus and the government is now slowing down the reopening of our society. Dean Per Bakke has recently sent an email what this means for employees at the Faculty of Medicine. The use of home office is delegated to the department level (K2).

  • Who can have a home office?
    The main rule is that all employees must go to work. This especially applies to the laboratories.

Home office may be relevant for those who are in risk groups or to relieve public transport. This must be agreed with your closest leader (Research Group Leader or Julie Stavnes for administrative staff). It is assumed that the work tasks can actually be performed at home.
Risk groups: Elderly employees over the age of 65 years, employees with underlying chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, drug-induced immune deficiency, or chronic lung, liver, or kidney disease (https://www.fhi.no/en/id/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/).

  • How to behave when traveling in from abroad?
    Since we work in a hospital environment, we must follow Helse Bergen’s guidelines.

Red countries: You must be quarantined but testing for SARS-CoV-2 is not required. The exception is if special circumstances indicate that you must start work before the expiry of the quarantine period (then two negative tests are required at least 48 hours apart and the last test at least five days after income).

Yellow countries: If you have been in a yellow country for the last 10 days, you must test yourself. As a general rule, you should not go to work until a negative test result is obtained. If your closest leader still deems it necessary, you can – if you are healthy – go to work with a facemask until the test result is ready.

In both cases, you should inform your closest leader before returning to work.

  • Where can I test myself?
    Those who also have a position in Helse Bergen should test themselves in the parking garage at Haukeland hotel (open 08.30-11, tel. 55976160).

Those who only have a UiB affiliation are recommended using your GP (fastlege), the local emergency room (legevakt,) or contact Head of Administration Julie Savnes for information about UiB’s system (https://www.uib.no/en/ir/137267/testing-covid-19-employees-uib-coming-abroad).

The Olav Thon Foundation’s prizes and project funds in science and medicine 2021
The Olav Thon Foundation has announced up to three awards for outstanding teaching and a support scheme for student-active research projects in science and medicine for 2021

  • Award for excellent teaching
    The prize for outstanding teaching can be awarded to academic staff who teach at universities and colleges in Norway in combined positions. Persons with adjunct positions (bistilling) can also be proposed. The price is personal, and amounts to NOK 500,000. There is a requirement for student affiliation in the nomination.
  • Financial support for student-active research projects
    Support can be given to research projects in medicine and / or science that are actively brought into the education as an element in «student-active research. Amounts that can be awarded are up to NOK 830,000 per year for a maximum of three years.

Further information can be found in the appendix Thonpriser_undervisning_2020. Nominations must be sent to K2 by 19 August (mette.vesterhus@uib.no). We will pass on the nominations to the Faculty.

HAPPY SUMMER VACATION!

As of this writing, the university has just reopened after it was closed in emergency on March 12. Welcome back, but remember to keep your distance and practice the rules of infection carefully. The covid-19 disease is under control in Norway, but it can flare up again, and we do not want a new shutdown. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all your constructive efforts during the shutdown. It had major consequences for our everyday activities, especially when it comes to experimental research and teaching. Thanks for the positive attitude and constructive measures. We have also learned a lot, and digital meetings will probably be frequently used in the future.

We have recently submitted a budget proposal for 2021. This year too, we suggest an ambitious budget that takes into account the challenges we see in the coming year in terms of education, research, innovation and dissemination. The economy group are thanked for their solid work on the budget.

We just had a kick-off meeting for the new UGLEs in connection with a new teaching structure at K2. I perceived the new UGLEs as interested and engaged with many relevant questions and comments. I think this will be great. Thanks to everyone for a constructive process.

After an unusually cold spring, we have finally got to taste the heat. We are now preparing for the summer holidays. Spring has for most people been a busy time with applications, OSKE and all the endings at the end of the semester. Hence, it will be good to have a few weeks off to do completely different things. It is important to charge the batteries so that we can start the autumn with new energy and work desire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their great efforts this semester. Have a great summer vacation!

Ready for take-off

The new structure with teaching groups and teaching group leaders – UGLE – was adopted in January and is effectuated as of 1st August. Teaching is an important task for K2. We contribute heavily to teaching in the study programs for particular medicine, but also pharmacy, dentistry, nutrition and other educations. We hope that the new organization will highlight teaching as part of our mission in line with research, and contribute to a better overview of our teaching resources.

Despite a new name, the content is not radically new: this structure is largely a formalization of an informal, existing structure. We have partially “stolen” the UGLE name and structure from IGS, who has worked extensively with the development of its teaching and brought home several awards in pedagogy as a result. Maybe we can give them stronger competition?

The purpose of the organization is to establish a clear contact person for questions and clarifications related to teaching in the department’s disciplines (teaching groups). UGLE, head of a teaching group, has delegated responsibility to distribute teaching among the members of its teaching group and acts as contact person in the work of exam planning. In addition, UGLE is the central link between the teaching group and the semester boards, clinical departments and department management. It is right and important that there is a person who is close to and knows the academic environment that ensures that the teaching tasks are distributed in the best possible way, so that our students benefit accordingly.

The responsibility as a UGLE provides a good opportunity to influence the form and content of the teaching. Equally important is the good cooperation in the teaching groups between everyone who contributes to the teaching, so that together we can work fruitfully to renew, coordinate and improve the teaching.

I would like to extend a warm thanks to our recently departing head of education, Jone Trovik, who put a lot of effort into putting the UGLE structure in place. I am fortunate to be able to take over the baton as head of teaching as we slip into the “charm stage” – it will be exciting when we now words into action together! To get started, all UGLE are invited to a kick-off seminar on Tuesday 16 June.

Furthermore, I would like to mention that the faculty is now announcing the merit scheme for outstanding educators, see separate case in K2Nytt – will K2 have its first “Outstanding educator”?

The Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents is 70 years!

This year, it is 70 years since the children got their own clinic at Haukeland University Hospital, and yesterday this was highlighted at the hospital. The Department of Pediatrics was a liberation gift from Sweden after the war. When the building was inaugurated by Crown Princess Märta on May 31, 1950, it was the first and largest children’s clinic in the country. Bergen has the second largest children’s clinic in Norway. The Department accepts annually around 4,000 patients aged 0 to 18. The original building was demolished two years ago, and by 2023 the Glass Blocks will be finished. Meanwhile, the Pediatrics and Adolescents is located in Marie Joys’ House.

Did you know that the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents has always been closely linked to the University of Bergen, in fact before any of these two institutions were built? Before the University of Bergen was established, it was important with special departments to “sell” the idea of a university. Pioneers like Dr. med. Carl August Looft and Consultant Physician Nils Backer-Grøndahl were driving forces for plans for both a children’s clinic and a medical faculty in Bergen. The gift from Sweden with the establishment of a children’s clinic after the war became an important piece in the final phase of the fight for a university in Bergen that was finally adopted by Stortinget in 1946.

The first leader of the Department of Pediatrics was Professor Alfred Sundal, who was a professorship candidate upon accession and thus already an important professional person for developing the university clinic at Haukeland.

In the 1960s, Norway’s first chromosome laboratory was established at the Department of Pediatrics by Consultant Physician Ole K. Harlem. Professor Dagfinn Aarskog, who in 1970 took over the management of the Department of Pediatrics after Sundal, – much after a research stay at Johns Hopkins University in the United States – got a great interest in genetics and then headed the chromosome laboratory for many years. He saw early the enormous potential in molecular genetics and became a key driver for the establishment of the Department of Medical Genetics and initiator of the establishment of the Center for Clinical Molecular Medicine.

The research laboratory at the Department of Pediatrics was further developed by Aarskog, Professor Lage Aksnes and later the diabetes group to become a powerful research environment with experimental and clinical research with clear clinical utility – modern translational research. An experimental laboratory physically inside a clinical ward was unusual and very innovative.

In addition, under the leadership of professors Robert Bjerknes and Britt Skadberg, powerful research environments in heart and lung research were established as well as the follow-up of extremely premature children. These groups have been very important to the environment in the university part of stage 1 of the new Children and Youth Center in the Glass Blocks.

The Department of Pediatrics have not only incubated premature children – but also pediatricians – to pursue an academic career. In addition to those mentioned, former and current professors Per Erik Waaler, Oddmund Søvik, Gjermund Fluge, Trond Markestad, Gottfried Greve, Kristian Sommerfelt, Ansgar Berg, Thomas Halvorsen, Helge Ræder and the undersigned have been central to research, teaching, and not at least research management at the Department of Clinical Science, the Faculty of Medicine, and the University of Bergen centrally.

What will be the next 70 years of challenges and opportunities? Larger student numbers, more individual, and more digitized teaching are likely to be central and are already underway. In research, large and real-world data sets, bioinformatics, and precision medicine are likely to be very important. User participation is expected to be part of the research, and the demand for relevance and benefit is probably increasing, while basic research will have an increased focus. And women! Of the 18 mentioned above, only one is female. Here, we have a job to do the next years!

As most people know, I am a pediatrician and have had the privilege of receiving my education at the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents, and later experienced a stimulating environment for a university career up to the position of Professor and Head of the Center for Diabetes Research. I would like to thank you personally for this.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents´ leadership and the around 300 staff for being so positive about integrating the university’s core areas of research and teaching, innovation and communication with clinical practice. Access to clinical records and samples, and clinical questions, are crucial for our research. Education of health professionals is our main task. I am proud and delighted with the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescents, and believe that together we can make a difference – for our children – when it comes to translational and clinical research, and the education of top health and university staff.

Without the children´s clinic, no university – and without the university, no children’s university clinic.

Happy Birthday!

How has K2 experienced the corona shut down so far?

Department of Clinical Science shut down March 12. Staff and students lost access to their workplace and campus, leaving them to find new solutions to keep the wheels running. The K2 leader group recently made a survey to map how the corona crises has been handled. Here follows an excerpt of the answers and comments.

Thanks to good IT solutions, many have been able to work effectively at home. Researchers have spent time working on applications and writing papers. Meetings have been held using Zoom, Teams or similar platforms. Still, there are many critical voices that the shutdown has been too extensive and rigid, without local adaptions. Helse Bergen staff have been able to work more or less as before applying infection control measures, while UiB employees have not had access to the laboratories. Shutdown of the core facilities is another point that has been criticized. They could have been operated more or less uninhibited with necessary infection control measures. In particular, the shutdown and slaughter of valuable laboratory animals at the animal facility has been met with harsh criticism. PhD students and postdoctoral fellows have been particularly affected, and many ask for extension of their grant period. After seeing that Norway and especially Vestland has controlled the pandemic effectively, the UiB leadership is criticized for the slowness in reopening activities.

Many public defences of doctoral thesis have been held digitally, but the experiences have been divided. In particular, it was pointed out that IT support has been deficient. When it was allowed for 50 people to meet, UiB did not follow up, but adhere to the rule of a maximum of 5 people, why?

The technical staff is the group that has had the least benefit from home office, and has not had enough tasks to fill their time. The administrative staff, on the other hand, have mostly been able to work as usual. Digital solutions and meetings have mostly worked well, but the social community and the collegiate community has been sorely missed.

In summary, experience shows that local adaptations and considerations must be used in the prevention measures. In addition to a quick shut down, one must also be quick to open up when the situation allows. In the event of a new infection peak, we hope for a slightly more forward-leaning and dynamic UiB management that can better coordinate initiatives with Helse-Bergen, which we share work places with.

Thanks to all who responded to the survey.

Eystein and Julie

The covid-19 epidemic has changed our way of working. How is this affecting female versus male researchers?

Early analyses discussed in a recent article in Nature (10.1038/d41586-020-01294-9) suggest that female academics are posting fewer preprints and starting fewer research projects than their male peers.

COVID-19 is changing the way research is done. World-wide lockdowns mean that, overnight, many households worldwide have become an intersection of work, school, and home life. The new mechanisms of accelerated peer review, the increased quantity and speed of available data, and the distribution of funding across sectors are changing the equilibria of the academic world. We therefore need to pay attention to the effects this has on disparities. What happens when a couple is at home? Is it exacerbating gender inequality? In a commentary in Nature (doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-01135-9) very early during the pandemic, Alessandra Minello suggested it is disproportionately affecting the productivity of female academics, because they often do more caregiving than men.

Megan Frederickson, an ecologist at the University of Toronto being COVID-19-quarantined herself, looked at preprint servers to investigate whether women were posting fewer studies than they were before lockdowns began (https://github.com/drfreder/pandemic-pub-bias/blob/master/README.md). Peer review takes time, it is still too soon to see COVID-19’s effects on the numbers of journal articles published by female versus male academics. However, a growing number of academics make their submitted or in-progress manuscripts available on preprint servers, meaning it might be possible to measure the pandemic’s effect on preprint submissions in real time. She looked at arXiv (physical sciences), and bioRxiv (life sciences) to determine the gender of studies posted between March 15 and April 15 in 2019 and in 2020. The number of women who authored preprints at arXiv increased by 2.7% from 2019 to 2020 — but the number of male authors grew by 6.4% over the same period. The numbers for bioRxiv were 24.2% vs. 26%. A similar trend was found in a separate study including nine popular preprint servers (https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/decline-women-scientist-research-publishing-production-coronavirus-pandemic). Thus, women’s publishing rate has fallen relative to men’s amid the pandemic.

In another study by the information scientist Cassidy Sugimoto at Indiana University Bloomington on three registered-report repositories including ClinicalTrial.gov, there was a decrease in the proportion of submissions by female principal investigators from March and April of 2019 to the same months in 2020, when lockdowns started. Hence, women are registering a smaller proportion of new research projects than before the pandemic.

What are the likely causes for this effect? Increased household labor and childcare responsibility are probably the major reasons. Also, women more often take care of ailing relatives. The sudden shift to online teaching might mean more work for women as they in average probably have more teaching commitments than men, while the shutdown of the universities might free more time for men to write papers as they more often have non-research commitments.

What can be done to mitigate this effect? Our scientific environment requires the participation of all members of the population; a crisis requires that we draw from the intellect of the full population. As the effects and the pandemic are likely to linger, we must consider how our evaluation systems and resource allocation mechanisms take into account the inequities in labor distribution for women. We need to create infrastructures to allow for all populations to participate, and to acknowledge systematic differences in their ability to do so.

Enjoy your week-end!

This week’s leader

While both our work and personal lives have had to make major adaptions with COVID-19, it has also resulted in unprecedented innovation. Both directly and indirectly COVID-19 has changed all aspects of our lives, from the way we communicate, interact and socialise to our impact upon the planet. As a result of these changes, technology has had to advance, opening up novel solutions and more importantly perhaps, new opportunities. Ironically, and despite our current focus on social distancing, we have learned to come together to accelerate development e.g. upscaling of a new diagnostic tests at NTNU in one month or new hospitals built in a week in China. With the opening of the new incubator already this autumn, and NFR application deadlines just around the corner – there has never been a better time to jump on the wave of innovation.

Finally, the latest memo from Dean Per Bakke suggests that we are now moving in the right direction towards resuming normal lab activities. In order to reintegrate into our normal working lives it is critical that everyone take the “e-learning-course-protective-measures”. So I guess this 17th of May we have more reason than most years to celebrate. Gratulerer med Dagen!

The corona virus epidemics – a new phase

Up till now, the government has had a strategy to knock down the corona virus. The spread of the infection is now under control, and yesterday the government announced that they are now switching to a control strategy. The goal is still the same as before, that our health service should have the capacity to help everyone who needs it, those with coronary illness and those with other illnesses. This means that businesses and activities must still take infection control measures when they open up.

In recent weeks, K2 has opened something up – from only allowing exceptions for critical functions to exceptions essential for those completing a degree in 2020 or to generate preliminary data for research applications or particularly costly or critical experiments. At the time of writing, we do not know how much of our activity K2 can open in the next few weeks. The government proposes that distance education should continue to be the norm after May 11, and those in need of collective travel to work should still have a home office. Presently, we do not know whether there will be new reliefs for the laboratories. When we have received new guidance from the Faculty, we will announce the new guidelines through the research group leaders.

Of course, there is great eagerness to get back to normal life at K2. I’m very happy about that. But it is important to remember that the ongoing opening up can give the impression that the outbreak of the virus is about to go over. Unfortunately, it is not. As we gradually reduce the restrictions, it requires that we still keep control of the infection. At K2, we must continue with the simple measures that we know is working and have few negative consequences: be careful about hand washing and cough hygiene, keep at least one meter distance, and stay home when you are sick.

Enjoy the (hopefully corona-free) weekend!