Take-away from the digital NTNU staff meeting on handling of the pandemic

This morning, there was a digital staff meeting on handling the corona situation, where current news and guidelines have been discussed with Rector Anne Borg.

DION attended the meeting and summarized the following key notes, some specifically relevant for PhDs, PostDocs and temporary staff:

  • From 25. May slow opening of campus to more employees. It is still recommended to work home office if you do not need to be present at campus. All measurements to prevent the spread of the virus still apply.
  • Contract extension: NTNU sticks to individual assessment of each PhD candidate for extensions. Make sure to be in contact with your leader/supervisor so they are aware of what you are struggling with and how much you are delayed. Recommendation from unions and DION: List your daily working hours to record how much time you are potentially losing due to home office.
  • Extension for externally funded projects: Talk to your leader/supervisor. NFR has for example signaled that they are potentially willing to adjust the delivery goal for projects financed by them. Check out this possibility if you are externally financed.
  • Research exchange/conference after the summer: Not recommended until end of 2020, there can be exceptions when necessary. In general this also depends on future travel recommendations/rules from the government.
  • Teaching will be a combination of digital and physical activity in autumn. There will be more information which courses shall be thought how in the near future.
  • If you struggle physically or mentally, please contact the occupational health service to receive help and advice (the OHS is a free and independent service for all employees)

What do DION members worry about in times of Covid 19 and Home Office

Further to the confinement and restriction measures implemented in Norway and at NTNU due to the coronavirus, DION has organized a consultation with its members to identify their potential concerns, issues but also good initiatives under the current situation.

We created started a group on Microsoft Teams, where people can send in their questions and on March 25th, 2020, we organised an e-lunch discussion to collect further feedback and examples. DION summarised the findings of this e-consultation in a short brief, which was shared with NTNU’s prorector for research, NTNU board member for temporary scientific staff and union representatives. These actors have welcomed this input as they continue their discussions on how to address delays in research and the principles for possible contract extension.

DION will continue to monitor the situation of NTNU Phds, post-doc and temporary scientific staff closely. Therefore, the Microsoft team created for this consultation will remain open to keep collecting information and answer your questions when we can.

Further resources for NTNU Phds, post-doc and temporary scientific staff can also be found on our webposts on Working at NTNU in times of coronavirus and Surviving confinement, as well as on our Facebook page and forum. DION president also gave an interview to UniversitetAvisa [in Norwegian], published on April 1st, 2020 alongside a statement from NTNU Prorector for Research. Finally, announcements and guidelines from NTNU regarding the current situation are regularly posted on Innsida.

Working at NTNU in times of coronavirus

Discussions between NTNU and other Norwegian universities are on-going to come up with a common policies on how to address research delays and extensions of temporary contract. Several unions have been advocating a universal extension policy financially supported by the Norwegian state. If this position is unsuccessful, universities would most likely adopt a case-by-case approach to extension.

DION strongly advise PhDs, postdocs and temporary staff to start preparing for such an eventuality and start logging their work, their activity/inactivity, delays and difficulties in their research faced due to the situation, including issues related to unsuitable working conditions, anxiety, etc. Such a log will be helpful to argue for an extension later on. Unions also advise to continue recording absences due to sickness, child care and other leaves on Paga even during confinement as regular extension rules related to these still apply (new guidelines have been created for recording corona-related absences).

There is no information so far about the criteria that will apply, the process and deadlines to apply for extensions. For temporary staff with urgent matters (e.g. end of contract, residence permit applications) who cannot wait until the end of the confinement period, NTNU has recommended that they get in touch with their supervisors or the PhD contact at their faculties.


In the meantime, here are key updates and guidelines from NTNU:

Follow NTNU Innsida channel on coronavirus for updates. If you have questions about how specific guidelines apply to you, please contact your supervisor, your superior or the PhD contact at their faculties.

For internationals who have questions about their immigration status and procedures, NIRS is putting together a list of useful links for you to check:

Finally remember that you can still contact Occupational Health Services at NTNU for mental health support. They have also published advice on how to set up a home office.


This post will be updates regularly as more information becomes available.

DION is also collecting information about how this situation will impact PhDs, post-docs and temporary scientific staff’s contracts.  If you have any work-related inquiries your department cannot answer, please contact us at post@dion.ntnu.no.

Surviving confinement

Feeling a bit like this?

DION’s got you covered! Here are a few things to help you survive and stay sane in these confined times.


Here are a few things you can try or organise:

  • E-coffee breaks, using Skype, MS Team, Google hangout….
  • Online game tournaments
  • Joint e-backing/painting/signing/…. sessions


Stay in shape

Can’t go to the gym? Here are a series of exercise you can do from home without special equipment:

Fighting boredom

Have you run out of shows to watch and room to tidy up? Here are a few suggestions

10 museums offering virtual tours:

  1. Pinacoteca di Brera – Milan
  2. Galleria degli Uffizi – Florence
  3. Musei Vaticani – Rome
  4. Museo Archeologico – Athenes
  5. Prado – Madrid
  6. Louvre – Paris 
  7. British Museum – London
  8. Metropolitan Museum – New York
  9. Hermitage – Saint Petersbourg 
  10. National Gallery of art – Washington 


Improbable research podcast.

Opera on-line:

  1. The Metropolitan Opera
  2. Paris National Opera


Sir Patrick Stewart Reading Shakespeare everyday on Twitter.