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Pojke bakifrån sittandes med hörlurar och dator i skolmiljö

Schools and digitalization is one of the area that 25 doctoral and licentiate students are studying. 

- It’s incredibly fun. The multi-year efforts to develop work integrated learning (WIL) as a featured aspect of the university are now bearing additional fruit. We’re one of the leading universities in the world in terms of expertise in WIL, and word is getting around, says Lars Svensson, deputy vice-chancellor of research and research education at University West.

Kristina Lindh, director of research education at University West agrees and adds:

- We’re right on cue here, and we meet a societal need by focusing on an ever-changing learning process. This field seems to be interesting to a lot of people.

But both Lars and Kristina point out that growth must occur wisely and at a reasonable pace.

- For example, it’s important that we can ensure that the doctoral and licentiate students we admit have skilled supervisors, which in turn means the university must actively work with initiatives for allowing staff to obtain credentials and update expertise and for recruiting new staff, says Kristina.

Ten students in external organisations

WIL is an interdisciplinary field and different aspects of learning can be studied, such as teaching and learning, psychology, health sciences, sociology, informatics, or business administration. An example of a question that can be researched within the framework of the new research education programme is what happens to learning conditions when organisations, professions and professional roles change. Other areas involve the development of work integrated learning through new tools, such as information technology.

- Doctoral and licentiate students study a broad range of themes and research is conducted in close collaboration with external parties. Ten of these students are also third-party students that have positions with external organisations, explains Kristina.

Working with third-party doctoral and licentiate students is an intentional choice that fits well with the university’s strong emphasis on collaboration.

- This means we’re trying to create new knowledge together with others to enhance the impact and impression we make on society, says Lars.

Aiming to increase internationalisation

The doctoral and licentiate students have positions within the NU Hospital Group, Närhälsan and Campus Västervik, while some of them are shared with other higher education institutions, such as the Swedish Defence University. University West is also collaborating with higher education institutions outside of Sweden, including two such partnerships at the Central University of Technology in South Africa.

- We want to increase international collaboration moving forward. This also means increasing mobility for our Swedish doctoral and licentiate students – and increasing exchanges with other countries and international networks, says Lars.

He says this is necessary, given the global societal challenges we are facing.

- Our ambition must be to provide our doctoral and licentiate students with the biggest international network possible and for their daily work to take place in a global context. For example, I would like to see University West running an international WIL graduate school in the future.

About the research education programme in WIL

Lars Svensson, Deputy vice-chancellor of research and research education, University West, +46 (0)733-97 51 33

Kristina Lindh, Director of research education, University West, +46 (0)739-01 33 72