The Faculty of Medicine at Lund University and the Graduate School of Medicine at Nagoya University offer a double PhD degree programme, an invaluable international research experience that provides students the opportunity to participate in joint research in a structured and strategic way.
Every academic year, the programme gives up to two PhD candidates from each University the chance to study in Lund and Nagoya. PhD candidates who study at more than one institution have access to the resources and expertise of different departments, benefiting from access to learning resources in both locations. This programme is also a unique opportunity to make professional and personal contacts that can help future career opportunities.
We talked with Cecilia Lundberg, Vice-Dean with special responsibility for first- and second-cycle education and internationalization, about the context in which this collaboration started, and the purposes of this programme.
When did the collaboration with Nagoya University start, and why with Nagoya University in particular?
– We have had a long research and educational exchange with Nagoya University. When they proposed to establish a double PhD programme, we thought it was interesting.
Why did you decide to start a double PhD programme?
– We wanted to offer researchers and students at our faculty the possibility to have a novel, international research experience in a structured and strategic manner. This programme is also a unique opportunity to strengthen the existing research collaborations with Nagoya University, and to make them sustainable.
Do the programme prioritize any research area? If so, how were these areas chosen?
– At the start, Nagoya University identified some research areas of interest at Lund University: cancer, orthopaedics, and neuroscience. We are starting our collaboration from these selected areas.
What is the main purpose of this cooperation?
– With this programme, we aim to strengthen and widen the collaboration between our institutions. Through the programme, we want to build a sustainable partnership.
David Gisselsson Nord, Professor at the Division of Clinical Genetics, is going to supervise a PhD candidate from Nagoya, Hiroaki Yasui. We interviewed him about his experience and talked about how the programme will contribute to the Division’s research and to the students’ academic development.
How are you involved in the double PhD programme and why did you decide to take part in it?
– I was asked by the Faculty of Medicine to represent cancer research, which is one of the selected areas for collaboration. Nagoya University made a very good impression on us; they conduct high quality research and are a very reliable partner. It is a great opportunity: NU will finance the salary of the PhD student while we finance experiments. We are of course very interested in the data that the PhD candidate will be collecting in the interface between an NU project on tumour microenvironment and our project on the evolution of cancer cells.
Also, I have always been very interested in Japanese culture. All in all, it was an opportunity I could not decline.
What made you decide to supervise a PhD candidate from Nagoya University?
– I was particularly interested in the fact that the PhD candidate is a clinician. He is an excellent fit for our future research plans.
How does this choice affect your research?
– We carry out very good research in cancer genetics, but we do not focus on the effects of the microenvironment on cancer growth. Having a PhD student with this expertise is a great opportunity. He will actually be of strategic value, as we would otherwise not have had the resources and staff necessary for this project.
Did you notice differences in the research environment and in the culture between Lund University and Nagoya University?
– Unsurprisingly, at Nagoya University the culture is more hierarchical and formal. But when you get used to that, which you do very easily if you know what to expect, you realize that they are very warm people. They also have certain strengths we lack. For example, they have more clinicians carrying out research in their laboratories. I believe we can benefit a lot from collaborating.
What opportunities for PhD candidates do you see in the double PhD programme?
– Undertaking this programme, PhD candidates will have the opportunity to access many more learning resources and facilities. For example, at Nagoya they have a fantastic microscopy imaging facility. On the other side, the genetic and omics branch is not as well developed as in Lund.
Can academic career of PhD candidates and supervisors benefit from the connections that they can make both in Asia and Europe?
– Yes, absolutely. Scientific research benefits from synergies and access to others’ expertise. Relatively few foreigners work in our department. I really look forward to work with someone who has a different background.
If you are interested in hosting a PhD student from Nagoya University, or would like to have more information about the double PhD programme, please contact Anette Saltin (email@example.com), research studies coordinator.
If you are a PhD candidate interested in undertaking the double PhD you can also contact Anette Saltin for more information.