The Bjerknes PhD Forum

The Bjerknes PhD Forum in Bergen – the idea behind the Forum

The Bjerknes PhD Forum intends to create a community for international and Norwegian PhD students from different research areas during their time in Bergen.
Our aim is to facilitate exchange among new and advanced PhD students as well as to distribute and preserve knowledge about “the way things work”.
We meet about once a month to network and discuss different aspects of the academic career and/or life in Bergen. Visiting PhD students and interns are welcome to join our activities.

If you are interested to learn more about the Forum, or are interested to set up a similar PhD Forum in Oslo or Tromsø, please contact Vår Dundas <>.

Below some photos taken during organized events before the pandemic time.

   Photos: Sonja Wahl

Here is an event organized recently by the Forum for their members:

Journal Jungle – PhD Forum meeting Thursday 20.05.21

We noticed that there was some confusion amongst PhD students about what the tasks of publishers, reviewers, societies and editors were. This sparked many small discussions and we decided to make this. PhD Forum meeting topic. The idea was to talk about “common knowledge” that you don’t learn about in any course but that is normally acquired on the way while becoming a researcher. Specifically, we wanted to give PhDs in their early stage the opportunity to clarify some basic terms and procedures so that they would have the base to form their own opinions.
A nice collection of questions was gathered with a focus on:
• Identifying relevant publishers and journals for a manuscript
• The job of reviewers and editors
• Clarifying some widely used terms and myths
The collection of questions is accessible here:

The online Forum Meeting
20 PhD-candidates signed up and joined the meeting with Camille Li and Tor Eldevik. The format of the meeting quickly shaped into a pure Q&A session with Tor and Camille answering some questions with facts and definitions and elaborating on other questions based on their opinions.
The time was not enough to answer the full set of questions but we touched upon many topics and several of the participants had some “click” moments.

What remains
The outcome of the meeting was a general awareness for the many factettes of the topic and the realization, that in order to form opinions, you have to have the opportunity to talk to more advanced researchers.
For some PhDs, this seemed to be no obstacle and for them the PhD Forum meeting was merely a repetition of what they had discussed with their mentors before. Others welcomed the input from outside their, at times small, bubbles and those have now a starting point from which they can approach potential discussion partners.

I hope this PhD Forum meeting helped the participants to discover some “unknown unknowns” and that they take advantage of the next opportunity to discuss remaining open questions with group members and colleagues.

Thank you Camille and Tor for your time and valuable inputs!

Text: Sonja Wahl (previous forum board member)