No, I don't expect you to make sense of the Swedish titles, but the vice chancellor at Blekinge Institute of Technology, Ursula Hass, and her second-in-command, Claes Wohlin, agreed to meet with us in the Doctoral Candidate Council (of which I am the current chair person) for an informal dinner yesterday evening to discuss PhD issues. The main discussion topic was whether it was possible to create and maintain support functions for PhD students, where the students, their supervisors and possibly the heads of the different schools could find information and help. The situation for PhD students varies considerably today depending on where the student is active, and we're hoping that the new support system would ensure information that is easily accessible which would lead to a more transparent and perhaps also more equal situation for the PhD students. Both the vice chancellor and the pro vice chancellor seemed positive to the idea and they said that although this kind of support system already exists it might not yet be as active as it should be.
Other issues that were raised concerned the situation for international PhD students who often run into problems when they need to renew their visas every year. We also talked about the new large project at the university, ProVision, which Claes Wohlin is in charge of. The PhD students will become involved in the planning and building of a new research school centering on the intersection between three large areas: software engineering, sustainability and innovation.
We are grateful to the vice chancellor and the pro vice chancellor for taking the time to answer all our questions and would like to thank them for a very interesting discussion.