Category Archives: This week’s editorial

Editorial

Helse Vest’s Education Award for geriatric teaching

Helse Vest’s Education Award for 2022 this time went to the teaching group in geriatrics at the Department. A reception and award took place during the Education Cooperation Agency’s meeting at Clarion Hotel Bergen Airport the day before yesterday.

Geriatrics is a small but important specialist area and certainly in the present conferring the reports in the media last week!

The construction of the environment has a long history. Gudbrand Fossan and Olav Sletvold were pioneers in Bergen in the late 1980s, followed by a period of little activity. A collaboration between the Kavli Trust, Helse Vest and UiB meant that from 2008 Anette Hylen Ranhoff could be employed in a shared position between Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo and K2, UiB. She has systematically built up an enthusiastic group here in Bergen with a focus on clinical and interdisciplinary teaching, and with the use of innovative methods and great commitment. The teaching has very good feedback from the students.

In addition, Ranhoff has built up a research group with several doctorates in recent years.

K2 congratulates so much and is very proud of the group!

Pål R. Njølstad

From left: head of institute Pål R. Njølstad, and award winners Katinka Nordheim Alme, Elisabeth Skaar, Marit Stordal Bakken, Susanne Hernes and Anette Hylen Ranhoff. Photo: private

Editorial

Last week, the Government launched a new strategy for personalized medicine Strategi for persontilpasset medisin – regjeringen.no . The strategy underscores the need to integrate research and clinical work as personalized medicine becomes an integrated part of the health services.

One of the three thematic aims is of particular relevance to those of us who teach: Personalized medicine is an evolving field, necessitating life-long learning as well as a continuous process of  updating the curriculum and programmes in which we teach, in line with adjustments in RETHOS. E.g. molecular biology and microbiology and advanced decision making algorithms and analyses based on artificial intelligence are examples of fields in probable need of expansion and development.

Please remember the upcoming deadline – Monday February 6th – for nominations to the Faculty Awards for research and teaching. Information was published in a previous K2-nytt.

Mette Vesterhus
Head of Teaching

Editorial

By: Pål Njølstad

BOA record!

I am reporting some really good news: In 2022, K2 has set a record in terms of external funding with NOK 119.4 million. It is a fantastically great result, especially in these times of failing funding.

And it is significantly better than the other departments: IGS had 74 million, IBM 60 million, K1 50 million and IKO 40 million. This is also very good, but K2 is the strongest in terms of its competence to get external funds.

BOA is a very important source to keep the wheels turning when other funds are reduced. I would like to thank everyone who contributes, but also thank those who applied but did not make it. As is well known, those who do not apply get nothing. And with grant percentages that are very low, it can be random who gets it, at least if one is among the top 20-30%.

Ola Borten Moe wants a grant percentage threshold of 25 at NFR. It may make sense, and it will be exciting to see how this can be achieved without allocating more funds from the State. Personally, I hope that the solution will be that the allocated sum for the individual project will be smaller, and that the institutions will not decide who can apply.

Have a great weekend!

Editorial

Dear all!

Do you/your research group/research group know anyone who has excelled in 2022, either on the research front (publication, research environment, PhD work, dissemination), as an innovation environment or in terms of teaching? The Faculty of Medicine has announced a number of prizes for 2022, so now you have the chance to nominate colleagues/environment (or yourself!). The categories are

  1. Publication of the Year (NOK 100 000)
  2. Research environment of the year (NOK 150 000)
  3. PhD work of the year (NOK 75 000)
  4. Dissemination award (NOK 75 000)
  5. Innovation award (NOK 150 000)
  6. Education Award (up to three awards for outstanding initiatives in education, a main prize of NOK 150,000 and up to two more prizes of NOK 50,000 each!)

We from K2 can put forward one candidate in each category, so do not hesitate to submit proposals (with supplementary reasons) by Monday 6 February. More detailed information can be found here.

Proposal for Publication/PhD/Group/Dissemination/Innovation

Suggestions for Education Awards

Have a nice weekend!

Editorial

Sense of belonging

A college just shared a very interesting paper by Twitter focusing on sense of belonging in research groups. I think there is a lot for group leaders to learn from that paper, which is why I have extracted the central points here:

Sense of belonging is the experience of positive personal relationships with others in a given environment. It is an important predictor of well-being and retention. There are benefits associated with developing a strong sense of belonging including improvements in academic performance, mental health, self-esteem, sense of purpose, and connectedness. On the other hand, there are consequences of having a low sense of belonging such as increased risk of stress, anxiety, depression, health problems, feelings of loneliness, rejection, and low self-esteem. When we feel like we belong, we become positioned to do our best work. Creating and maintaining a strong sense of belonging thus benefits individuals and teams and improves the quality of science that your team produces. In the article, the authors draw from research on sense of belonging and educational psychology to inform best practices for fostering a sense of belonging in the lab suggesting ten rules:

Rule 1: Reflect on belonging (and repeat)
Self-reflection is an important first step in identifying what kind of culture and environment the group leader want to foster in your research group. She/he can begin the reflection process by thinking about a time during early career when she/he felt like you belonged.

Rule 2: Be mindful of names, pronouns, and diverse identities
Do not underestimate the importance of knowing names and how to pronounce them correctly. It is likely that are people in every group from identity groups (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality) that are different from the group leaders.

Rule 3: Proactively engage with lab members
Many group leaders are busy; but when this happens, members are likely to feel unimportant to the leader. Active involvement allows the leader to witness practices and behaviors that can be proactively addressed to prevent major conflict.

Rule 4: Discuss, document, and embody research data
Discussing data will demonstrate to the lab that the group leader are interested in what group members value and how they want to shape the space. By documenting these, group leaders and other senior lab members can model them leading to active participation and shaping of the space more inviting and accessible for all group members.

Rule 5: Be transparent about expectations
When expectations lack transparency, students without knowledge of how the environment operates will feel left behind or left out. Be clear about rules and procedures. It is important to be clear about what is expected from each member. Transparent norms ensure everyone is on the same page.

Rule 6: Provide opportunities to learn about each other
Every group member is unique with their own cultural blend of traditions, values, and practices. Learning about each other provides opportunities to find connection among each other and to build a sense of belonging among all members. Examples are a website that has information about each member, storytelling, and take turns bringing food to meetings.

Rule 7: Foster connection outside of the environment
Fostering connection outside of the group provides members a chance to learn more about each other and strengthen social ties within the community. It is important to plan the events in an inclusive way.

Rule 8: Build in time for kudos
People feel valued when their work is recognized. Recognizing individuals for their contributions and accomplishments is a great way to grow a sense of belonging among group members.

Rule 9: Conduct equity checks
It is important to build in check-ins to gauge and sustain good performance. Equity checks provide an opportunity to embody values and establish an actionable expectation. Psychological safety is key when conducting meaningful equity checks.

Rule 10: Ask for feedback regularly
Asking for feedback is a common management and leadership practice and can make more effective leaders. It signals to group members that their experiences are valued and the leaders are interested in understanding them. Feeling valued by leadership is one way to increase the sense of belonging of members in the environment. Feedback can be gathered about different aspects of the research group through varied methods such as equity checks, surveys and informal check-ins.

Happy New Year!

Pål Rasmus Njølstad

Sense of belonging? Picture from a freezer in the lab of Professor Graeme I. Bell at the University of Chicago where I had a post doc 1998-99.

Editorial

Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!
Another year is almost over. For most of us, it is a busy autumn with application deadlines, congresses, meetings, and new cohorts of students. So now it is good to be able to look forward to a holiday with the opportunity for peace and reflection.

At the time of writing, the Covid-19 pandemic is a growing challenge, especially for the healthcare system, even if the new variants seem milder. Fortunately, strict hygienic measures such as social distancing, face masks, and frequent alcohol washing, as well as communication and teaching through digital media, are not necessary as the situation is now. But NIPH predicts a Christmas holiday with a large degree of intercurrent diseases in the population due to the coincidence of several epidemics with gastroenteritis, influenza and RS virus in addition to Covid-19.

For K2, 2022 has been characterized by new challenges linked to the economy. A series of cuts in funding from KD, UiB and the Faculty have turned the financial situation at the department upside down. Since over 90% of our economy is linked to positions, freezing vacancies is unfortunately what is needed some years to overcome the problem. In addition, we are working on how we can make better use of space and teaching; space efficiency and how to free up time for research through more efficient teaching, so that our scientific activity is not affected.

In this new situation, it is important that we have a common understanding of the challenge and that we must stand together in it. Then, as mentioned, there is also an opportunity to rethink and find new solutions that can nevertheless improve our primary tasks: research, teaching, innovation, and communication. K2 Retreat 2 on Solstrand went as planned despite the tight economy. The Retreat is a very important venue for strategy discussions and generation of new ideas. We therefore aim to carry out K2 Retreat 3 in 2024. We must not lose our hearts, we must manage to come out of the situation even stronger!

For many, Christmas is the highlight of the year, where family and friends gather for a holiday filled with traditions and a sense of belonging, followed by space Christmas, which can provide opportunities for other activities at home in Bergen, trips to the mountains or elsewhere.

What most of us take for granted is not necessarily so for everyone. Some have lost a loved one, or have no close friends or family gathering this year. And in the past year, we have received many refugees from the senseless events of the war in Ukraine. Are we able to think extra about these and perhaps include them in our own Christmas celebration?

In conclusion, I would like to thank each and every one of you for small and large contributions to our primary tasks and for creating a good place to be.

With wishes for a peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2022.

Editorial

The financial room for maneuver at the universities has been significantly reduced in the last year, and the Faculty of Medicine has had major cuts in its budgets. K2 is the largest department at the Faculty of Medicine and has received the largest reductions. The Rectorate has given the faculties a deadline of approx. 2 years to break even.

To reverse the trend, K2 is introducing a number of measures. One of these is linked to the possibility of saving money through area efficiency, to slightly reduce the large amount of area that K2 uses. The faculty pays well over NOK 75 million in area rent. If K2 can reduce the areas somewhat, K2 will receive funds as compensation.

K2 has therefore set up an area committee led by Silke Appel to make a brief analysis of the current situation for the use of offices and laboratories in the Laboratory Building and outline a proposal for how approx. 358 square meters in the Laboratory Block, which are particularly expensive to rent from Helse Bergen, can be saved and which models, if any, can be used. This applies, for example, relocation of entire research groups, joint use of laboratory space and more open office space. The committee will look at the possibility of saving the areas by allowing the staff to work more closely or by using less expensive areas, e.g. in BBB.

The committee has delivered its analysis and identified approx. 355 square meters essentially divided into three areas and which can potentially be saved. The proposal will form part of a process with the Dean’s Office and UiB central regarding possible agreement with Helse Bergen on temporary takeover of these areas. Affected research groups will be involved in the process if Helse Bergen shows an interest in this.

It can be a demanding exercise, but it should be possible to use less space. When it comes to offices, most people today can get by with a PC and a screen, although some may have a greater need. People in reduced positions can e.g. share an office with a little planning. The laboratories are very important for translational research, but here too we have to think anew. Much of the research is done today via core facilities and on a computer today, and it is possible to share bench space with others.

Times are more demanding than before, but I believe it is temporary and that with a skipper roof we can get through the process. It is important that we stand together in this and that everyone, in different ways, gives a little extra now in terms of flexibility so that the institute as a whole will come out of the situation – even stronger. It is possible!

Enjoy the week end,

Pål

Editorial

Dear all,

2022 has been a particularly busy year for our PhD coordinator Irene Hjelmaas and Christina Flornes with a total of 41 PhDs originating from K2, which must be possibly record-breaking. In order to be able to carry out so many disputations, we are dependent on all associate professors and professors taking on the task as custos from time to time, and it is very nice to get help from our professors emeritus / emerita for it – it is almost impossible to beat the number of disputations Birgitta Åsjö has been custos for this year, thank you!

But back to the task as custos: Custos means guardian or orderly man in Latin, and as custos you are stand in for Dean Per Bakke and act on behalf of the faculty. You lead the way when the committee and the candidate march in and out of the auditorium in the prescribed order of trial lecture and public defence, that is, there is something very solemn about this task, especially when you are wearing your cloak for the defence. But it is a very nice task to lead the next generation of researchers through trial lecture and public defence and learn about what kind of research is taking place at K2.

It is of course also exciting to just listen to, and here everyone is welcome to join. We try to advertise all trial lectures and disputations from K2 in K2nytt, and a full overview from UiB can be found on the website (https://www.uib.no/nye-doktorgrader).

Have a great weekend!

Editorial

Teaching is a team sport

Recently, I was in a meeting at SUS with our teachers in Stavanger. A useful take-home message was that the distance to colleagues in the other campuses may feel long: one may feel left alone to solve the issues related to teaching. Conversations with colleagues in Haugesund confirmed this experience. However, some colleagues in Bergen in smaller fields have also reported feeling left alone regarding teaching responsibilities. Hence, the issue is not geography but communication.

If you want to go fast, walk alone – if you want to go far, walk together. All academic employees at K2 should belong to a teaching group led by a UGLE. The UGLE can facilitate contact with the coordinator who can give access to relevant information in MittUiB. If you know someone who may not know which UGLE they “belong” to, or you yourself need help to get in touch with your teaching group, please contact me at mette.vesterhus@uib.no .

My hope is that we learn to talk more about teaching in teaching groups spanning all relevant educational programmes and campuses. For Medicine, work is ongoing both in the project group for Vestlandslegen in Stavanger and in a working group making plans for changes for year 4-6 in Bergen. It should stay a goal that the students achieve the same learning objectives and that the quality of the exams and other forms of evaluation is the responsibility of the collective teaching staff within teaching groups across single teachers and campuses.

The UGLE are invited to a meeting on Tuesday November 29th at 11:30 (further info in email).

Editorial

What is happening on the research front at the Faculty of Medicine?

The K2 Leader Group asks scientic personnel for sketches on a maximum of one A4 page of research areas/projects that are relevant to focus on in the coming years and that are good starting points for collaboration across departments/faculties/institutions, see below. The proposals are sent to research advisor Susanna Pakkasmaa (Susanna.Pakkasmaa@uib.no) by Monday 28 November.

Background (information from Dean of Research Marit Bakke)
The faculty management, in consultation with the Department Heads at the Faculty of Medicine, has decided that they will map directions and central activities in research at the Faculty. The purpose is to identify areas for collaboration across Departments and other institutions so that we can better develop impactful projects that are competitive in relation to external funding and dissemination. It may be appropriate to separately promote prioritized initiatives for external funding sources.

In this context, the Faculty asks the Departments to identify research areas/projects that are relevant to focus on in the coming years and which are good starting points for collaboration across Departments/Faculties/Institutions.

  1. Each Department must present a prioritized list of relevant research projects (up to five). Each initiative must be described in approx. an A4 page and sent together and signed by me as Head of Department to the Head of the Research Section, Tone Friis Hordvik, by 01.12.22.
  2. The prioritized initiatives from the Departmentswill be discussed collectively in extended research management and at Department Head Meetings under the auspices of the Faculty.
  3. The outcome of the discussions will govern how the initiatives are worked on in relation to e.g. development of cooperation and applications. The Dean’s Office can also decide (on the basis of the discussions) whether certain initiatives should be promoted specifically against selected funding sources.

Process at K2
The Department Management at K2 has discussed the matter and decided that we want an open process where all academic staff will have the opportunity to put forward proposals. Since we can only forward five proposals, it is important that the proposals include several researchers and preferably several environments and themes across research groups, Departmentys and possibly Faculties.

It is important that the proposals represent innovative top research that we shall focus on the next years.

Good luck with the process!

Pål Rasmus Njølstad
Head of Department

Editorial

Are you curious?

Or to rephrase, are you interested, inquisitive and questioning? Asking many questions, challenging established truths, finding alternative solutions, makes us smarter and better researchers. In Harvard Business Review you can read about the “Surprising Power of Questions” (https://hbr.org/2018/05/the-surprising-power-of-questions)

The authors summarize that asking questions is a unique tool for learning and exchanging ideas. It makes conversations more productive, gives innovation better results and it builds trust in the organization. It can also uncover unforeseen dangers and pitfalls. Despite this, many of us probably do not think that asking questions is an art that can be developed and improved. By asking questions you improve your emotional intelligence, which in turn makes us better questioners. The article gives tips on how different questions should be used – “not all questions are created equal”.

As researchers and teachers, we can also become better at asking questions, we can learn more and I believe our research will be better – what is the question you want answered when you do an experiment, and what is your lab neighbour doing?

I hope you will be inspired to become more questioning and curious.

Have a good weekend

Eystein Husebye

Vice head, K2

Editorial

The medical students have decentralized teaching at Helse Stavanger, Helse Fonna and Helse Førde. This arrangement is necessary to cope with such large student groups as we have now. It is also very good for the students in that the teaching is more practical than what we can offer in Bergen. Lecturers in Stavanger, Haugesund and Førde are also involved in research as an important part of their work.

It is a challenge to ensure a good and efficient connection to Bergen, and my impression is that this could be better.

All employees at K2 must belong to a research group and a teaching group. The administrative lines run through the research and teaching group leaders. It is therefore important to know which research and teaching groups the individual belongs to so that all employees ger the information sent through the research and teaching groups. If it is unclear which research and teaching group you belong to, contact Silke Appel (research) or Mette Vesterhus (teaching)

We have educational meetings with the decentral hospitals twice a year. My impression is that this is not enough for the decentral hospitals to feel they are involved in the activities here in Bergen, especially when it comes to research.

We have involved personnel at the decentral hospitals at K2 Retreat, but due to the cost, we have only had these meetings every two years. Would an extension of the teaching meetings with a block for research presentations be a possibility? We could have thematic meetings where there are presentations from both parties.

It is also possible to imagine digital meeting places with thematic presentations. In any case, we in Bergen should be better at remembering you at the decentral hospitals so that there is always a Teams link at the meetings here in Bergen that are relevant to you, and that you are invited – to the right email address! (we will arrange this).

Last year, K2 had 40 dissertations. This year, it looks like there will be at least the same number. One way to get in touch with the communities in Bergen, is for the academic staff to act as custos at defenses. I would like to take this opportunity to thank personnel in Stavanger in particular for volunteering several times!

I would also like to encourage the research and teaching group leaders to be more active regarding to think about and involve personnel from the decentral hospitals.

I think we have a lot to gain from a closer collaboration between the parent department and the decentral hospitals! Feel free to make suggestions!

Have a great weekend.
Pål

Editorial

Dear all!

The area committee is in the process of mapping the area use in the laboratory building. All research group leaders who are housed there have been sent an excel file and asked to fill in the forms for their groups so that the committee can begin the job of preparing suggestions for better utilization. Everyone is welcome to give your input!

And then I want to remind everyone that autumn is the time for personal development interviews. Mia is responsible for the employees in the administration. As Pål wrote a few weeks ago, he has the interviews with the research group leaders, while the research group leaders have been delegated the responsibility to have the personal development interviews with the members of their research groups. It is therefore important that all academic and technical employees belong to a research group! Let us know if you don’t know which group you belong to and we’ll figure it out.

Have a great weekend!

(Norsk) Ukens leder

Long-term strategy and career building

Good research requires strategy, not only academically, but also to have an infrastructure and finances to put the research plans into practice. This means that we must have both short-term and long-term goals. You don’t have to run after every “ball” and research opportunity, but you must focus on your “ball” and work strategically with research funding and competence building.

Application writing is a long process. The longer you spend, the better. Of course, larger projects and applications need more time. Positioning begins several years before the actual application: what do you need on your CV to be a competitive applicant. Concept development: about a year before the deadline; and ideally use 6 months for the refinement and the actual writing

The research group leaders must help the younger ones forward. Those who will eventually become group leaders must obtain senior authorship and “co-PI” positions in applications. They can apply for smaller funds that are easier to get, join networks and practice critical senses by being a reviewers or help their group leader to review. Future group leaders must be helped into career programs and build up their teaching portifolio, and UiB has many career building opportunities for younger researchers (for example UiB Ferd https://www.uib.no/ferd), use them!

New calls in Horizon Europe have been published and several of the calls in the work program 2023-24 will suit K2’s groups well. Contact Susanna Pakkasmaa if you plan to apply – that way you can get started early and write a competitive grant application.

Next week is the EU Research & Innovation Days (https://ec.europa.eu/research-and-innovation/en/events/upcoming-events/research-innovation-days). If you want to become wiser about what is happening in Europe, follow this digital conference.

Have a great weekend when the time comes
Eystein and Susanna

Editorial

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

New from last year is that it is not enough that the personal development interviews are offered – they must also be carried out. These interviews are an important arena for clarifying expectations for performance, giving mutual feedback and insight into each other’s working situation and addressing the working environment and conditions at the workplace. The conversation must be linked to K2’s strategic plans and be a real and results-oriented management tool to achieve set goals.

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

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

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

As a natural part of the performance assessment and the clarification of expectations, the contractual conversation about pay matters is included as part of the personal development interview. It is therefore important to remember that we have established systems for salary negotiations. As you know, salary negotiations are ongoing this autumn.

As Head of Department, I am responsible for ensuring that all employees carry out annual personal development interviews and am responsible for the results of the interviews being included in K2’s plans and budget. It is not possible to carry out this for all K2’s employees, so carrying out the conversations is delegated. I have staff meetings with the research group leaders, while they in turn have responsibility for their group members. When it comes to administrative staff, head of administration Maria Holmaas is responsible.

Most of the time, I think time goes terribly fast in the autumn, and suddenly it’s Christmas. It is therefore advisable to start the employee interviews as soon as possible. Good luck!

Editorial

New opportunities in Horizon Europe

While we wait for feedback from the Research Council on the applications sent this spring, it might be an idea to study the draft of the calls under the area ​​Health in Horizon Europe. There are many calls that are relevant to K2’s researchers. The various so-called destinations in the program are:

Destination 1 – Staying healthy in a rapidly changing society

Destination 2. Living and working in a health-promoting environment

Destination 3. Tackling diseases and reducing disease burden

Destination 4. Ensuring access to innovative, sustainable and high-quality health care

Destination 5. Unlocking the full potential of new tools, technologies and digital solutions for a healthy society and reducing disease burden

You will find calls that suit your area of ​​research. Several announcements under Destination 1 are aimed at personalized medicine. Under destination 5, it is possible to apply for projects that integrate artificial intelligence and health, including the development of new tools both for healthcare personnel and patients for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

The call has not yet been published, but you can access the draft by contacting our research advisor Susanna Pakkasmaa. She and the Research Department can be helpful with advice and guidance for those who are interested. Susanne is otherwise interested in meeting the institute’s research group leaders to get acquainted with the ongoing research.

Consider applying for EU funds both as a partner and coordinator

Good luck with your future applications

Eystein Husebye
Vice head of institute

Editorial

Start of the semester – new possibilities

The start of the semester always seems filled with a special energy. The students seem particularly motivated this year. Hopefully your batteries are full after the summer vacation. Maybe this is the time to try out some new teaching techniques?

The first group of “Vestlandslege students” counting 200 students are now entering into clinical courses. MED3 and MED4 have been revised to handle increased student numbers and to improve teaching and learning. Change is never completely smooth, and I hope we will all work together to provide the best possible teaching and overall experience for the students. Then we may adjust the plans along the way.

K2 wishes to put together a working group to look into possibilities for developing postgraduate educational courses as a means of income to help turn the economy around. Please tell us if you have any good ideas!

The deadline for nominations to the Helse Vest Teaching Award 2022 is September 20th: : Kven er din kandidat til Utdanningsprisen i Helse Vest? – Helse Vest RHF (helse-vest.no) .

Mette Vesterhus
Head of Teaching

Editorial

Welcome to the new semester!

Then it’s on again! Hope everyone had a nice holiday and recharged their batteries.

At the time of writing, the students have already started, and many K2 employees are busy again with teaching. It is often in a hurry to get started after the holidays. Transitioning from holiday to hectic university life can be a bit brutal and takes time. New cohorts of students entail additional work at the start. Research never takes a vacation. Although many have picked their e-mails and got rid of the most urgent, for most it has piled up with tasks that now have to be sorted out.

This autumn, K2 must focus on finances. As previously mentioned, for various reasons we now have a large deficit – a development that we must reverse. If we stand together, we will be able to get through this, hopefully even stronger. It is often in adversity that one becomes innovative and completely new ideas are created. So I repeat the call before the summer: Help us figure out how we can manage with slightly fewer areas, slightly fewer people and slightly less funds via K2, and how we can create more income that shows up in K2’s budgets.

Good luck with a new term!

Editorial

HAVE A NICE SUMMER!

As of this writing, we are submitting a draft budget for 2023. This year, too, there is an ambitious budget given the framework and which takes into account the challenges we see in the coming year when it comes to finances. The main focus in the last six months has been the economy due to the Ministry of Education’s proposals for cuts in the basic allocation to all universities related to pensions, efficiency, travel, and more. Reference is made to Dean Per Bakke’s e-mail today. The Faculty of Medicine has drawn up a budget for 2022 with a deficit of NOK 30 million, while K2 has a deficit of NOK 12 million. This makes our operations difficult. But as Per Bakke says, if we stand together in this, we will be able to get through this period. My goal is that we will even emerge stronger from it. It is often in adversity that one becomes innovative and completely new ideas are created. So here’s a challenge for all of you: Help us figure out how we can manage with a little less space, a little less people and a little less funds via K2, and how we can create more income that are visible in K2’s budgets. This can help us to remove the current requirements from the Faculty, that we are not allowed to advertise new positions for the time being and with some exceptions. It’s a bad situation we have to get out of as fast as possible!

After a cold and wet June, today we have finally got to taste the heat. We are now preparing for the summer holidays. For most, spring has been a busy time with applications, OSCE and all the endings at the end of the semester. So it will be good to get 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 a desire to work. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their great efforts this semester.

Have a really good summer vacation!

Pål

Editorial

Teaching prize and summer thoughts
The annual Teaching Day was successfully conducted on May 18th in collaboration between K2 and K1, with good attendance. I want to thanlk all of you who contributed to making this into a great day!

The K2 Teaching Prize was awarded to professor Jone Trovik. She was awarded the prize for developing an elective course in gynecological ultrasound for medical students.

Do you need basic training in teaching? Summer is low season for teaching – perhaps it should be high season for booking courses in teaching or documenting your teaching skills and experience.

Perhaps you have creative ideas regarding teaching or the organization of teaching and learning? The recent UGLE meeting discussed how we should start thinking through what we should or could teach, and how we teach, when student numbers increase.

Good luck with your last efforts before end-of-term and summer vacation!

Mette Vesterhus
Head of Teaching

Editorial K2 News week 23 2022

As of this writing, the OSKE12 exam is just finished. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your great efforts in planning and implementing this. Many have been involved, and I would especially like to highlight all administrative staff who have participated in time-consuming preparations and implementation of the day. As in previous years, I participated as an examiner in pediatrics. In addition to the fact that it is exciting to see how the students solve the assignments, it is inspiring to learn that they like this form of exam. Furthermore, it is fun to be part of such an event. You also get to meet staff at the faculty across departments and employment relationships in an exciting setting. Lunch and plenty of coffee help to keep the conversation going and the atmosphere is nice. However, it is a resource-intensive form of examination and with the challenges we now have financially, I doubt that we can spend more resources on this form of examination.

Summer holidays are approaching, and I would like to remind you that everyone must register their holiday wishes in the self-service portal. The deadline was May 1 and there are still many who have not registered the holidays for 2022. In addition to the fact that this is something we as an employer should have an overview of, there is another reason why we stress this. If you do not register the holiday, it will affect our finances. Unfinished vacation will be a debt to the employees at the turn of the year and increase the deficit in our budget. This may mean that we must freeze positions or something else in order to achieve budget balance. SO RUN AND REGISTER YOUR HOLIDAY NOW !!!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Pål
Head of Department

Editorial

Dear all of you!

These are difficult economic times, and the political game around the Research Council is worrying. We have to look for alternatives when it comes to research funding, and it was therefore very nice to see that K2 was well represented at the workshops on “Horizon Europe and Beyond” organized by the FIA. We received many practical tips on how to proceed, and worked a little with a tool created by Hiwa Målen from the FIA that makes it easier for researchers to find suitable calls for proposals. Do not hesitate to contact our research advisor Susanna Pakkasmaa if you need help.

At K2 we also have several good examples of successful external research funding from alternative channels: Eva Gerdts and her Centre for Research on Heart Disease in Women  recently received support from Godvik Sanitetsforeningen, Bjørn Tore Gjertsen was awarded funding for CD37 CAR T cell therapy from the regional health enterprise program KLINBEFORSK, and Nina Langeland sitt Vestnorsk research centre for antibiotic resistance (CAMRIA – Combatting Anti-Microbial Resistance with Interdisciplinary Approaches) supported by the Trond Mohn Foundation had a grand opening this week with the Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol present, where Randi Bertelsen is one of the PI that receives support (https://mohnfoundation.no/vestnorsk-samling-om-forskning-pa-antibiotikaresistens/). Congratulations to everyone involved!

And last but not least: we at K2 are actually very good at educating the next generation of researchers with a total of 21 public defences in the first half of 2022! There is some research funding aimed at younger researchers, so just contact Susanna if you need advice.

Have a nice Pentecost!

Editorial

Research for the students

The students at the faculty want to have more contact with researchers and academic life. A portal where students can get in touch with us researchers at the departments is therefore being established at the faculty. It is important that more researchers, from PhD-level up to professor, sign up for this portal so that we can reach out to many students. I encourage everyone to participate, see more details about this here.

Enjoy the weekend!

Pål R. Njølstad

More about research funding

We have previously written that the Faculty and the departments must cut costs. Now it’s The Research Council’s turn. In Khrono (khrono.no), Nobel Prize winners Moser and Moser warn for the effects of funding cuts. They are shocked and they are not alone. Khrono writes: In order to save NOK 842 million this year and next year, it is proposed, among other things, to reduce the allocations this year by 20 per cent, not to announce funds for ground breaking research (Fripro) next year and postpone the start of new Centers of excellence”. In addition, there are proposals to postpone the funding of research infrastructure.

How should we handle this as a department? I think it is important to apply for funding from the Research Council even if the “eye of the needle” is even narrower than before. Furthermore, we must look for alternative sources of funding. Here, Horizon Europe stands out as a great opportunity. While Norway cuts research funding, the EU will invest 95.5 billion Euros in Horizon Europe (2021-2027)!

The research department arranged an information day on 13 May where the application possibilities were explained, and they are many and organized in 3 pillars

  1. Excellent science (ERC scholarship, Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility program)
  2. Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, where, among other things, Health is one of the programs
  3. Innovative Europe

Horizon Europe has a special focus on adaptation to climate change, cancer, climate-neutral smart cities, healthy seas and lakes, soil health and food

Here are opportunities to apply that we pursue. The Research Department at UiB and our research advisers are ready to help.

I’ll make Nike’s slogan my own: just do it!

 

Eystein Husebye

Vice Head, K2

Editorial

Dear all of you!

I will use this week’s leader to remind you of two things: RETTE and the teaching day.

I am responsible to follow-up projects at K2 in RETTE, therefore I just have to ask everyone to check that all the necessary information has been transferred from REK (and as of today there are some projects that require change in RETTE). When you log in to the system (https://rette.app.uib.no/), you will have the opportunity to fill in more information about the project and answer some questions and then confirm the project. It is the project managers who are responsible for doing this.

RETTE was established by UiB to comply with GDPR and to ensure that key legislation is followed. UiB shall have an overview and control of all research projects and student assignments that process personal data. Medical/health research projects need approval from REK. Some projects have a consulting duty with the data protection officer, and NSD (Norwegian Centre for Research Data) can help to assess privacy. After assessment or approval, information from NSD and REK is transferred to RETTE.

Finally, I want to remind all of you of The Teaching Day 18 May at 12-15:15 which I hope many will attend. The program for the day can be found in K2nytt today. Remember to sign up:

UNDERVISNINGSDAG FOR K1 OG K2 18 MAI 2022 /TEACHING DAY FOR K1 AND K2 18 MAY (uib.no)

Have a nice weekend!

New application opportunities

 

Susanna Pakkasmaa, our new research advisor is in place and ready to assist, as is our team of economists. Do not hesitate to get in touch, have a chat, or invite Susanna to group meeting.

The Norwegian Cancer Society’s call for researcher projects is open with an application deadline on Tuesday 31 May at 1 pm. Read more https://nettsoknad.kreftforeningen.no/#home. If you plan to apply, contact Linn Iversen (finance) and Susanna Pakkasmaa (research advise)

For cancer researchers, there are also new announcements within the EU’s Mission Cancer, which opens on 24 May. EU Missions address some of the greatest challenges facing our society. The European Commission has identified five Missions that they want concrete and ambitious solutions to by 2030. One of these is cancer, another is soil health and food that may be of relevance to nutritionists and others. Read more about missions on the Research Council’s website https://www.forskningsradet.no/eus-rammeprogram/horisont-europa/missions/ (in Norwegian) and

European Commission website https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/funding/funding-opportunities/funding-programmes-and-open-calls/horizon-europe/eu-missions-horizon-europe/cancer_en

It is K2’s clear ambition to strengthen the portfolio of EU projects. Therefore, see if you can prioritize UiB’s workshop on Horizon Europe, which will be held on 13 May at Scandic Ørnen. This all-day event is for all UiB researchers. More information Horizon Europe Inspiration Workshop | Research and Innovation Department | UiB

It is also possible to influence the research profile of Horizon Europe by participating in one of the Research Council’s reference groups that are now recruiting new members. There are 10 reference groups, including health, research infrastructure and digitization. The members should have a good knowledge of the framework program, and competence to provide relevant professional input. They are not representatives of the institution, but must have a good dialogue with institutions and companies in their respective areas. This is a great opportunity to influence and gain insider insight into Horizon Europe. The nomination deadline is 6 May and we must receive the proposals by Monday 2 May at 12 o’clock. Read more here:

https://www.forskningsradet.no/nyheter/2022/vi-soker-nye-medlemmer-til-referansegruppene-for-horisont-europa/ (in Norwegian)

Regards,

Susanna Pakkasmaa                                                      Eystein Husebye

Research adviser                                                            Acting head of department

Springtime for teaching & learning

At K2, we take pride in providing excellent education. The teaching and learning activities that we contribute to are important for the educational programmes for Medicine, Pharmacy, Odontology, Nutrition and some others. In order to enable continuation of the excellence in education for which we are known, we need good teachers with up-to-date knowledge within their field – but also within the field of teaching and learning. Therefore, we wish to see as many as possible of you at the Teaching Day on Wednesday May 18th at Auditorium AHH (half-day from lunch). Register and meet up for lunch with good colleagues, inspirational talks and discussion about teaching and learning – and meet the winner of the K2 Teaching Award!

It is time for rotation of the UGLE positions. All teaching groups should propose their UGLE and vice UGLE by the UGLE meeting Tuesday May 3rd at 08-09 am. UGLEs will be invited by email.

UiB will support projects intended to strengthen research and education associated with digitalization by 1 million NOK. Project proposals must be signed by Eystein Husebye and delivered to MED by April 27th.

Eystein at the helm

Dear K2 employee

This week I took over as head of department after Pål, but only for a short period – Pål has a short leave until 10 May and I will try to provide the same good service as him in the meantime. Now that it is time for Easter, it is appropriate to thank all K2 employees for their efforts so far this year. Research and teaching are taking place at a high pace, even though resources are scarce. Falch’s Junior Prize will be awarded and the research group leaders are asked to promote candidates, see announcement in this issue of K2-news.

A special thank you to Maria Holmaas and the rest of the administration who are making a formidable effort to keep the wheels turning. K2 is a fantastic workplace and has an enormous potential for good research and teaching. Carry on and do what is good better.

I hope all of you all take the opportunity to enjoy some days off over Easter, and recharge your batteries with both physical and perhaps spiritual food. The war in Ukraine is a strong reminder that we cannot take freedom and democracy for granted.

 

Easter greetings,

 

Eystein Husebye

 

Budget realities – the K2 leadership takes action

Head of Department Njølstad has explained K2’s finances, which entail major cuts in our budgets. This means that we must take radical action to obtain balance. Therefore, the we propose that the salaries of all K2 employees be cut by 5%, with the exception of those in the leadership. After all, we are heavily burdened by doing so. Furthermore, all operating funds for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows will be confiscated. You can apply to the Head of department for a refund of up to half of your operating budget for particularly important tasks. Furthermore, all PhD students or their research group must pay for the assessment of the PhD dissertations. Finally, all KG-Jebsen and Trond Mohn centers at K2 will be charged an extra “tax” to cover the deficit, approximately 250,000 per year.

We regret that we have to take such radical steps to get the budget in balance, but we see no other options. You can read about the detailed cuts by click on this link.

Good weekend, when the time comes

On behalf of the leadership group

 

 

Peer review

Peer review guides the journal’s editorial staff in making publication decisions and identifying substandard manuscripts that should not be published. It also provides authors with the opportunity to improve the quality and clarity of their manuscripts. The purpose of peer review is not to demonstrate the reviewer’s proficiency in identifying flaws; negative critiques are not obligated. Reviewers should identify strengths and provide constructive comments to help authors resolve weaknesses in the work.

 

Because the number of scientific articles published each year continues to grow, the quality of the peer-review process and the quality of the editorial board are cited as primary influences on a journal’s reputation, Journal Impact Factor, and standing in the field. Scientific journals publishing peer-reviewed articles depend heavily on the scientific referees or reviewers who typically volunteer their time and expertise. In addition to fairness in judgment and expertise in the field, reviewers have significant responsibilities toward authors, editors, and readers. Reviewers also have ethical responsibilities, such as confidentiality, be constructive in the critique, have necessary competence, be impartial and hold integrity.

Published biomedical papers may have a direct impact on clinical practice and inform policy. Therefore, it is crucial to have the peer review system and that peer reviewer reports are of the highest quality possible to inform editors’ decision on the fate of the manuscript. It is crucial that we spend time on peer reviews for the journals. As reviewers, will also learn from the process and it is way to stay informed about how the field is moving before the research is in print.

Professor emeritus Jan Erik Nordrehaug at K2 has performed peer reviews for a number of journals in a lifetime including the Norwegian Journal of the Medical Association. For this, he will now have the Journal´s award “The Reviewer of 2021”. The Scientific Director, Siri Lunde Strømme, says “We have benefited greatly from an impressive number of, and always solid, reviews from Nordrehaug over the years, so also in 2021”. Congratulations!!!

Have a nice week-end,
Pål.