PolForsk was established June 1st 2002 as a reorganization of an earlier partnership within the so-called "COS" (Center of Public Steering). The departments of political science from Danish universities wanted to focus their collaboration on Ph.D. educatios.
institutions behind the Political Science Research Program form a
network consisting of Denmark's most important research institutions
in the field of political science, i.e. within political theory,
comparative politics, public administration and international
relations. The institutions in the Polforsk network are: ..
- Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen
- Department of Political Science, University of Aarhus
- Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark
- Department for Society and Globalization, Roskilde University
- Department of Economics, Politics and Public Administration, Aalborg University
- Danish Institute for International Studies
Professor Asbjørn Sonne Nørgaard, Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark is Chairman of the Board. Professor Eva Sørensen, Department of Society and Globalization, Roskilde University, is head of the Research Program, whereas cand.polit. Flemming Bjerke is head of the secretariat.
The purpose of the Post-Graduate
School is to promote collaboration about the education of
Ph.D.-students in the entire field of political science in Denmark.
The aim is not to transfere the Ph.D. educations of the departments to Polforsk. On the contrary the goal is to strengthen these
educations through co-ordination between the departments. This is why
focus is on Ph.D. courses, but the purpose is not to benefit economically from supplying Ph.D. courses.
Providing Ph.D. courses is a task that typically involves addressing a larger number of Ph.D students than those appointed to one single department. It is therefore obvious and advantageous that the departments should collaborate about providing the Ph.D. courses. If the departments arrange their own courses within political science they will soon discover, that they have too few Ph.D. students to acquire a reasonable number of participants. Therefore, such courses has to very broad coveringgeneral political science, so that the students will benefit little in relation to their research field. Often courses in methodology and meta-theory is a common denominator for Ph.D. students at a department, and this is relevant, most courses will have topics in this field. Though Polforsk gives methodology and meta-theory high priority, the main challenge is to ensure the supply of strong courses on topics of political science proper (theories, research fields), that are particularly relevant to a group of Ph.D. students. Ultimately, any Ph.D. student should at least once during the course of her Ph.D. education attend a course that covers the subject/field, she is writing about, and where it is possible to discuss the state-of-the-art within the area of her thesis. This is difficult, though, since the degree of specialization among Ph.D. students is high, and few are happy to gather around a common topic.
In some cases, international collaboration about the provision of Ph.D. courses on the highest level is needed because their subject are sufficiently relevant for too few Danish Ph.D. students. Therefore, Polforsk is prompted to participate in international promotion of Ph.D. courses. For the same reason, it is important that Polforsk establishes connections to internationally strong research environments.
Polforsk has received funding from the Danish Research Council. Besides this the school is financed by the founding institutions. These finances enable running a secretariat that cares for short term tasks as well as the long range development of the research school. Additionally, there are funds to invite a few senior researchers from abroad to give Ph.D. courses and to improve the quality of the school. But apart from that, Polforsk does not posses the funds to finance Ph.D. education.
The funding of courses are normally provided from elsewhere. The institutions behind Polforsk fund and supply Ph.D. courses which Polforsk promote, nationally as well as internationally. But, Polforsk also engages co-ordinating the network institutions common supply of courses so that courses are funded by two or more institutions. However, funds for financing courses is also acquired through co-operation with institutions, centres, and projects that dispose over funds for Ph.D. events. The research school is first and foremost an infrastructure for communication between institutions educating Ph.D. students in the field of political science. Therefore the website (www.polforsk.dk) is an important part of the development of the Political Science Research Program.
The co-ordination work consists in meeting 2-4 times a year in the "educational board", that has as itsr primary task is to monitor and develop the total provision of courses. The educational board consists of .. The course program is continuously assessed as well as the need for new courses (which are normally given by one or a couple of institutions on their own expense; in some instances a guest professor from abroad may participate, whether this is financed by the research school or by the institution.). Besides, this co-ordination often takes place with regard to the proposed courses: if, for instance, three courses have overlapping subjects, one might be postponed, and the other two differentiated more clearly from each other or even merged into one single course.
Every course supplied by any of the participating institutions is open to Ph.D. students from all Danish departments.
Both Polforsk's board and
educational board handle other issues concerning the Ph.D. educations
as well, such as giving ECTS points, improving the quality of the
thesis supervision, homogenize the quality measures for thesis etc.
For the sake of the comparability, and to make it possibly for students from all over the country to join the courses, we operate primarily with intensive one week courses. (Given that they include preparation and deliverance of a paper these are typically credited with 5 ECTS points including preparation time. 1 ECTS=28 hours.)