NTNU recruits about 40% of its doctoral candidates abroad. Internally financed PhD candidate positions are very well remunerated by international standards, but their number is limited. It is also possible to undertake doctoral studies based on external funding, e.g. industrial and commercial fellowship, external scholarship, private donations, etc. When a PhD candidate is paid from external Norwegian sources, he must be remunerated at least at the same level as NTNU-financed candidates. However, foreign candidates with foreign financing are not subject to this obligation.
For these potential self-financed candidates, it is the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) which dictates the minimum income necessary for residency in Norway. This minimum income is currently set to 91 000 NOK/year. While some candidates are highly qualified, their low incomes in Norwegian standards create problems once they establish themselves in the country. Many quickly realize they cannot live by the local lifestyle; they struggle to find affordable accommodation, to take part in social activities or even to meet basic needs. The difficult financial situation faced by these PhD candidates often affect their research, in the worst cases forcing them to quit and return to their home country.
In face of such situation, institutes,
High costs are linked to each PhD candidate in order to provide office space, supervision, insurance, execution expenses, etc. As it is now, locally financed candidate have these costs covered by the institution providing their salary. This is however not the case for self-financed candidates; it is usually the institute or the faculty that needs to meet the costs in the case.
How should institues/faculties handle applications of foreign self-financed doctoral candidates? Are qualified foreign PhD candidates with external funding something NTNU should support, and encourage, or should the university concentrates on national financing alternatives? Comments are welcome below.