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The PhD students take back the PhD Day

The theme for the PhD Day 2017, "Science – keep it simple", has been proposed by the PhD students themselves, just as this year sees one of the PhD students make the celebratory speech on 27 January. The day will also differ a little from past years in other ways.

2016.11.09 | Kirsten Olesen

The annual PhD Day gives all PhD students at Health an opportunity to present their work and to network – also with international guests. Photo: AU

When the esteemed, Iranian-US cancer researcher and biologist Mina J. Bissell takes the stage in the Lakeside Lecture Theatres as keynote speaker at the PhD Day on 27 January, the several hundred PhD students at Health can expect to receive a dose of inspiration that they can also put to good use.

The day’s theme, "Science keep it simple", focuses on the way in which ideas and data are presented for others. The participants should expect both motivation and specific tools for making progress with their research and not least inspiration to make things understandable for their colleagues and society.

"Mina J. Bissell is a fantastic communicator. A whirlwind who can put our work as researchers into perspective, and motivate us in a fun and exciting way to think outside the box and outside our traditional mindset," says Professor Bent Deleuran, who is chair of the PhD Day’s Organising Committee (OC).

The PhD students’ day

This is part of a year when the PhD students in his words “take back the PhD Day":

"First and foremost, we see the PhD Day as the PhD students’ day, which is reflected in the changes we have made to the programme," he says.

One of the new initiatives is that one of the PhD students, Alexander Fjældstad, will make the celebratory speech at the party which concludes the PhD Day 2017.

"The PhD day is, of course, a huge networking event that fills the Lakeside Lecture Theatres and parts of the Bartolin Building every year. So our decision to have even more focus on it being the PhD students’ day is because we can occasionally forget the obvious – that the PhD Day IS the PhD students’ day. We who are not PhD students are happy to help with sparring and organising, but the central people here are the PhD students and their research," says Head of Graduate School Helene Nørrelund.

The PhD Day 2017 is also her first as the day-to-day manager of the graduate school at Health, having taken up the position on 1 March this year.

Understandable for the PhD next to you

The Organising Committee has invited two keynote speakers instead of just one, as was previously the case: Mina J. Bissell will give a speech in the morning, and health entrepreneur, PhD Martin Vesterby from INNO-X Healthcare, will be the second keynote speaker. He will present some specific tools for turning thoughts on their head, before the event concludes and the party starts.

The poster presentations will also be altered slightly, as this year they will not be physically organised in related topics, meaning that PhD students with different profiles will come to present their posters side-by-side:

"We think it supports the theme for this year, which is that we need to be better at making our research understandable to others than our own colleagues. So by mixing the different profiles physically, we hope that they will make an extra effort to ensure that their presentations are so straightforward and understandable that the PhD students next to them can also understand them", says vice-chair of the Organising Committee, PhD student Nichlas Riise Jespersen from the PhD Association.

No Debate this year but still a researcher battle

Yet another new feature is that the traditional debate in the Per Kirkeby Lecture Theatre has been done away with this year:

"For many years, the debate has not functioned very well; it has mostly taken place between the supervisors and panel, while the PhD students have not really got involved," says Nichlas Riise Jespersen.

But the annual researcher battle, where three PhD students compete for first, second and third places and DKK 100,000 in total in The Fogh-Nielsen Legacy, is still an important part of the day. As always, it is also expected to be popular among the 650 PhD students and their supervisors.


  • The annual PhD Day gives all PhD students at Health an opportunity to present their work and to network also with international guests. The day is organised by an Organising Committee, which consists of members of academic staff and members of the PhD Association.
  • First- and second-year PhD students present their research in poster sessions during the course of the PhD Day. Third-year students present their research orally during the event's oral sessions or participate as co-chairmen in the day's poster sessions. In addition, research year students have an opportunity to submit an abstract and to take part in separate poster sessions. Participation in the PhD Day earns one ECTS credit.
  • The Fogh-Nielsen Legacy research prize is also awarded at the PhD Day. 






Talent development, Health and disease, PhD students, Department of Biomedicine, Health, Research year student, Department of Public Health, Academic staff, Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Dentistry