NORWAY: Need to retain young researchers

Early stage researchers in Norway enjoy the highest starting salaries of all those in 34 countries. But a challenge facing the nation is how to retain researchers from abroad who are trained in Norway, said a special adviser to the Norwegian Research Council, Hans M Borchgrevink.

Speaking at an international seminar, Borchgrevink said the rate of increase in salaries of researchers and other academics was low. After 15 years the gross salary in Norway was EUR73,665 a year (US$98,220), placing Norway 12th among the same 34 countries.

Young researchers from other countries were initially attracted to Norway because at PhD level there were no tuition fees and salaries, currently EUR51,399*, were generally paid during training, as well as generous social security and welfare benefits and a good pension system.

In 2005-08, 25% of Norwegian university PhD degrees were taken by foreigners. But a decade after graduation two-thirds of those with a degree taken in Norway had left to work in other countries.

Borchgrevink said Norway should work harder to attract and retain excellent young researchers from abroad.

* CARSA Study on the remunerations of researchers in the public and private commercial sectors Annex 7 141106 for EC