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HELSEVEL-Gode og effektive helse-, omsorgs- og velferdstjenester

Norwegian Research School of Social Work and Child Welfare

Alternative title: Nasjonal forskerskole i sosialt arbeid og barnevern

Awarded: NOK 15.9 mill.

Researcher education within social work and child welfare has only recently begun to distinguish itself as a research field. NORWEL is the first of its kind to provide a nucleus for PhD-students doing their research in social work and child welfare. In close interaction with international research groups, user organizations, national policy makers and frontline services in the public sector, NORWEL aims to become a major force to boost research capacity within social work and child welfare. PhD-students enrolled in NORWEL will contribute to further the academic maturity of these professions. The guiding principles of the school are practice relevance, research integrity and ethics, and end-user participation. To live up to these principles, NORWEL supports PhD-students in developing research with a high level of relevance for social and child welfare policies and service delivery. After being part of the school, PhD students at NORWEL are well equipped to pursue a career, either in higher social and child welfare service management, or as highly qualified researchers within academia. NORWEL provides an innovative mix of formal and informal learning activities that create an inclusive environment for exchange of ideas and mutual support. On the menu are PhD courses, NORWEL symposia, KTE-workshops, online colloquium groups and networking activities internationally and nationally. PhD-students are encouraged to spend time at a home-university of one of the collaborating international partners of NORWEL in Australia, Denmark, Finland, Spain, South-Africa and USA. To support individual mobility, students can apply for a NORWELs Guest Scientific Missions Grant. NORWEL will be hosted for from 2022 to 2026 by the Department of Child Welfare and Social Work at UiT, and for the remaining four years until 2030, by the Department of Social Work at NTNU.

Academics and practitioners work often alongside instead with each other. Lately, the relation between academic knowledge production and the need for innovative solutions to pressing problems in society at large, and in service delivery in the public sector has been questioned. Concerning the field of social services, including child welfare services, the need for a close partnership between frontline services, higher education and research is particularly pressing, because social work in Norway only recently has been recognized as an academic discipline. Consequently, only a very limited number of PhD-courses with relevance to social work and child welfare services is offered at Norwegian universities, and practitioners and administrators in the various welfare services with a PhD in social work or child welfare are few. NORWEL will establish a sorely needed platform for researcher education in these fields, based on a tight link between knowledge production according to high academic standards, and an awareness for the needs for research-based knowledge in frontline welfare services. Students enrolled in the school will be offered a variety of PhD-courses that are integrated in the formal PhD-education. PhD-courses offered as part of the school's activities will address central topics, relevant to social work, child welfare and welfare service delivery. NORWEL will further establish different communicative meeting arenas, designed to support the development of individual research competency among the school's participants, to establish tight communicative structures between PhD-students, practitioners and end-user interest organizations, and to provide the students participating in NORWEL with opportunities to create a professional national and international network. Thus, the school will be a major contribution to boost the development of research capacity in the field.

Funding scheme:

HELSEVEL-Gode og effektive helse-, omsorgs- og velferdstjenester