International collaboration is becoming an increasingly important factor to reach excellence in research and higher education. The group working with internationalization of PhD studies is now looking for international envoys to share their contacts in other countries with the faculty’s teachers and students.
We have an idea that already established teachers and researchers should be able to share their international network and serve as envoys, says Elisabeth Axell, Head of the faculty’s International office, and David Gisselsson Nord, Vice Dean in charge of internationalisation and recruitment.
"There are already a great deal of exchange programs and conferences to attend, but the personal contact at a specific university is missing. We’re convinced that these contacts could benefit our students and teachers in many ways", says Elisabeth Axell.
The group working with internationalization of PhD studies has conducted a survey to investigate the importance of staying abroad for the faculty’s PhD students.
"We’ve started by looking at the needs for international connections for the faculty’s PhD students, but the envoys are meant to benefit teachers, undergraduate students and postdocs as well", says David Gisselsson Nord.
In the survey about 37 percent of the PhD students said that they had been abroad in connection with their PhD studies. Most of them had attended conferences or had shorter stays. Only 7 percent stayed abroad for more than one semester. More than 70 percent of the PhD students think it is important for their career to stay abroad and state one of the most important reasons not to, is lack of international contacts.
Those who have stayed abroad find that the network they have created, has had great impact on their current and future research.
The idea of the international envoys is that a student or teacher should be able to get in touch with that specific university where they can find the expertise they need.
"Sweden is a small country and through exchange with other countries you gain for example greater access to patient data, or knowledge about a certain disease that does not exist here", says David Gisselsson Nord.
There could also be private reasons that makes a connection to a specific university important.
"Perhaps your partner got a job abroad and you want to follow him or her", says David Gisselsson Nord.
The first step is to make the faculty’s teachers and researchers become interested to get involved as international envoys!
Are you a potential international envoy?
If you are willing to serve in such a role, please send an email to Elisabeth Axell, Head, International Office, with information about the university and your experience from collaboration or work at that university.
Employees who have been working at or have established collaboration with a foreign academic institution and who are willing to assist students and staff within the Faculty of Medicine with contacts to that institution, on a voluntary basis.
Serve as a contact point to students and staff who want to develop their international contacts and explore possibilities for activities such as research visits, teacher mobility, data collection or collaboration in teaching and research.
Text: Sofia B Liljedahl