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Report from the PhD conference 2016

This is a report from the ongoing PhD conference at Skogshem & Wijk at Lidingö. The event started with lunch and the first presenter was the dean of the school, Jan Wikander, who gave a short introduction to the school from different perspectives. Three of the so called PAs for the doctoral programs participated the first day: Rahmat Khodabandeh (also vice FA, Energy and Environmental systems), Johann Packendorff (Industrial Economics & Management) and Daniel Tesfamariam Semere (Production Engineering).

The afternoon that followed was devoted to gender issues – Charlotte Holgersson started off by giving us some historical background of women at KTH, reminding us that the first female PhD graduated in the 1950’s and the first female professor was installed in the 1970’s, and continued by giving us examples from the SHE figures 2015. One of the participants suggested that it is just a matter of choice – women do not choose engineering. But that does not explain the leakage of women that can clearly be seen in these numbers from KTH: 32 % of the students are female, 26 % of the PhD students and only 15 % of the professors. The gender and diversity theme continued with an interactive theatre group. During the performance about the relationship between supervisor and candidate the audience got really involved and a few got up on stage.

In the evening there was a poster session with a lot of discussions and hopefully we will get many reports from the PhD students describing connections between different research fields at ITM. This is the way that the students may get credits from the conference.

On Thursday morning it was raining and the scheduled open-air-quiz was transformed to a web competition between teams with questions related to the PhD studies at ITM. The PA of the Machine Design program, Mats Magnusson, Rahmat, Gülten and I formed the team ‘Old guys’ and did pretty well. The PhD Chapter was responsible for this part of the program and took the opportunity to inform about their activities and how students can be involved in the work.

Finally, Sven Ove Hansson, professor in Philosophy at KTH, gave a talk about research and publication ethics and then invited the participants to discuss some ethically challenging cases.

When I talked with the two members of the theatre group about the gender distribution at the conference their feeling was that there were many male students whereas I was just about to say –yes we have many female students here today! – in my world (KTH) having about 30 % women is good.

/ Malin Selleby, FA