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Forest.

Supervision and well-being of postgraduate students in focus in natural sciences and forestry

The Faculty of Science and Forestry is currently home to 480 postgraduate students, and the faculty grants around 60 doctoral degrees every year.

The particular aim of a new project launched at the faculty is to enhance the supervision and well-being of postgraduate students, and to clarify the process experienced by postgraduate students. Another aim is to support smooth career development and to help students establish links to the world of work.

“The success of our faculty is strongly dependent on our research performance. Doctoral degrees are an important indicator of the state of our research. The past few years have witnessed a slight drop in the number of our doctoral graduates, but a strategic development project launched at the faculty has led to splendid results, with as many as 64 new doctorates awarded in 2020,” Dean Jukka Jurvelin says.

“We will continue our systematic development and strive for uniform good practices both in the supervision of doctoral students and in the operation of our doctoral programmes. Doctoral researchers need to gain good knowledge of their research subject, but they also need to be better prepared to pursue their desired career after graduation. In other words, our project aims at comprehensive development of postgraduate education while taking the needs of individual postgraduate students into consideration.” 

“We conducted a survey among our postgraduate students and received several suggestions on how to improve supervision. At best, supervision is a confidential process that genuinely supports the goals of a postgraduate student, encourages innovative thinking, and is interested in their research ideas,” says Kaisa Laitinen, Head of Academic Affairs.

“Supervision supports the career objectives of the postgraduate student and goes beyond the actual doctoral dissertation. For our part in the project, we support in finding such a method,” she says.

The development of doctoral education is rooted in the idea of a career path. Another aim is to strengthen support for the administrative process of doctoral education in order to achieve the objectives.

“Postgraduate students are welcome to participate in the project by sharing their ideas and views on the matter. This will enable us to develop the process to be more effective, accessible and flexible. The project team takes along three postgraduate students from the different doctoral programmes of the faculty.”

The goal is also to identify factors resulting from changes in the operational environment and culture, characteristically linked to traditional doctoral education.

“These include the skills needed in working life, the digitalisation of society, and issues related to open science and open data.”

For further information, please contact:
Head of Academic Affairs Kaisa Laitinen, tel. +358 50 341 7573, kaisa.laitinen (a) uef.fi