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Postdoctoral researcher VU Amsterdam and Aarhus University
Ethical scientific research as a core value of the university. That sounds logical, but ethical research is a concept that is not easy to put into practice. During my master's in Philosophy, I spoke critically about academic research, after which my thesis supervisor sent me a vacancy to deepen the climate for ethical research.
I completed my PhD at the department of Philosophy at VU Amsterdam, but I combined empirical and philosophical research methods. As a philosopher, I thought about the various explanations that had previously been put forward in the literature for non-ethical behavior and about the extent to which these different explanations can coexist. Through questionnaires and focus groups, we gained insight into the research climate for integrity within the Amsterdam institutions.
The general picture: the more senior the respondent, the more positive one experiences the research climate. Respondents were concerned about the supervision of PhD students, whether they worked in biomedicine or humanities. Through focus groups, we heard about several examples of suboptimal or even poor guidance. That had an impact on me.
There’s a notion that the supervisor should be a role model, but how does such a thing work? During my time as a postdoc in Berlin, I tried to develop a new method to see if it helps if supervisors set a good example.
"At a time when the recognition and appreciation of researchers is open for debate, I hope my research can lead to recommendations."
I am now working via a Rubicon* at Aarhus to better understand what responsible guidance for integrity now entails. In this, I explicitly focus on the perspective of both PhD students and supervisors. At a time when the recognition and appreciation of researchers is open for debate, I hope my research can lead to recommendations. My wish in this regard is that we take into account proper supervision of PhD candidates when considering internal promotions at the university.
*The Rubicon programme allows recently promoted scientists to gain experience at a foreign knowledge institution. An important stepping stone for a scientific career.
Tamarinde Haven (1993) is a postdoc researcher on a Rubicon project that studies responsible supervision of PhD students at Aarhus University. She previously worked at the BIH QUEST – Center for Responsible Research, Charité Berlin. She obtained her PhD cum laude at VU Amsterdam in early 2021 on the theme of research integrity and has a background in psychology, epidemiology and philosophy.
magazine for humanities alumni june 2023