PhD required duties

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At NTNU there are both three-year and four-year PhD positions. If you have a four-year PhD-position, required duties make up 25 per cent of your workload. We emphasize that you should have three years of net time to work on your PhD itself and the required duties should not delay your doctoral training. Your required duties are regulated by the Regulations for the required duties and employment conditions for PhD-candidates at NTNU (official version only available in Norwegian).

Content of the required duties

As far as possible, required duties outside the research activities should be relevant to your doctoral education. Generally, the required duties should provide you with relevant and varied experience for your future career, but at the same time, it will depend on the needs and possibilities within the department. Your responsibilities should be decided by your employer, in consultation with you and your supervisor. A separate plan should be set up and updated on a yearly basis. The department is responsible for making an overview and following up on your required duties.

Relevant required duties may include:

  • Contribute to teaching
  • Laboratory and practice teaching
  • Supervision and exam work within your areas of expertise
  • Provide training in the use and operation of research infrastructure
  • Participating in dissemination, exhibitions, and collection activities
  • Work associated with research administration in connection with the organization of academic conferences
  • Assistance in the preparation of applications for research projects
  • Courses in university teaching, training in health, safety, and the environment (HSE), and similar, which are regarded as necessary for carrying out the required duties
  • Statutory elected positions in the university’s board and councils, as well as mandatory committee work without remuneration. A maximum of three months’ required duties in total may be approved for such tasks.

Allocation of required duties

Your employer is responsible for ensuring that you are not given more than one work year of required duties during the four-year period. The last year of the PhD period should be dedicated to doctoral education. If you must carry out required duties, these should be limited to 10 per cent.

Your required duties are generally credited in accordance with actual work time spent or the norms for the faculty/department. For original lectures, PhD candidates are granted an additional 50% compared to the standardized for academic staff. After an individual assessment extra hours may also be granted for other especially time-consuming tasks.

Administrative tasks should be limited and should normally not exceed 10 per cent of the total annual working hours.

Right to extension due to statutory and contractual absence

PhD candidates, postdocs, and specialist candidates who have statutory or contractual absences are entitled to an extension of the employment period from the first day of absence. This also includes absence due to personal illness. There is no longer a requirement that the absence must constitute at least two consecutive weeks. The change only applies to absences that have occurred after 1 July 2023 (cf. repeal of § 2-3 (5) in the Regulations concerning terms and conditions for employment for posts of post-doctoral research fellows, research fellows, research assistants, and residents).

An extension can also be granted for absences of less than two weeks that took place before 1 July 2023, for example, absences due to pregnancy, leave at birth, or care tasks and which have not been granted an extension for earlier (cf. the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act § 6).

For questions about extensions, please contact local HR.

Some faculties and departments have created their own guidelines for required duties:

Faculty-specific regulations on required duties

Faculty of Humanities

  • One work year equals 1680 hours
  • The Head of the Department is responsible for planning the required duties, along with the supervisor and the PhD candidate. The Head of the Department may delegate the implementation of this, but is ultimately responsible. Required duties should be agreed upon in writing with the department beforehand, for the entire PhD period if possible.

Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology

  • One work year (25 per cent required duties) equals to 1680 hours.
  • Candidates with required duties should send in a plan for their required duties including the content and distribution of time every semester.
  • Required duties should be minimised in the seventh semester and should not occur at all in the eight semester, so that the candidate may prioritize their research and thesis.

Work for the department/faculty outside of required duties

Sometimes PhD candidates are asked to carry out work for the department outside of the required duties. This may also include PhD candidates who do not have required duties as part of their position. Generally, you have no obligation to accept such requests, and we recommend that you discuss with your supervisor whether doing so would be beneficial as related to your time frame, progress in your doctoral project, and your future career.

Leave of absence may be given to enter a short-term temporary teaching and research position, overseas fellowships, and the like as long as this does not delay your progress with more than six months. However, this is not an entitlement, statutory or contractually, and an application will be individually assessed by the appointing body. An application must include:

  • A confirmation from your supervisor that it is academically justifiable
  • An adjusted plan for completing your doctoral education
  • A confirmation from the Head of the Department that this is acceptable with regard to staffing and finances

Compensation for elected posts and committee work

According to the Regulations for duty work, elected posts in the university’s board and councils, as well as committee work without remuneration, may be approved as duty work or paid extension of time as long as the total time for meetings and preparation amounts to more than two weeks. Any extensions are to be funded by the level that has the position or committee work. If a specific fee is paid for the elected post or committee work, you are entitled to a leave of absence or an extension without pay. According to NTNU guidelines from 2023 (in Norwegian only), the main rule shall be paid extension of the work contract of at least 2 weeks. Particular compensation may be granted to board members of the interest organization of PhD candidates at NTNU (DION) and in Norway (SiN). (NTNU guidelines and national guidelines in Norwegian only).

Useful links for PhD-candidates with teaching duties