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Quality in the PhD Process

Quality in the PhD Process is a quadrennial survey conducted among PhD students at Aarhus University. The survey has the aim of providing specific, local knowledge about the university’s PhD programmes. 


About the survey

Aarhus University has more than 2,000 enrolled PhD students, who constitute a significant resource and a very large investment. Such a large investment raises a key question of the extent to which AU makes the most of its investment. Does the university recruit and develop talented graduates who have the ability, will and desire to conduct research at a high level? In order to clarify this matter, every four years AU carries out a survey financed by interdisciplinary strategic funding from AU's Talent Development Committee.

FAQ about respondents' confidentiality and rights

Below you find answers to some frequently asked questions about confidentiality for respondents in the survey that runs in January-February 2021.

What is the purpose of processing my personal data?

The purpose of processing personal data is development and research, which is also specified in the cover letter you receive in your e-boks together with the survey link. 

Who can access my answers to the questionnaire?

To ensure confidentiality, only the project group can access the data, which is hosted on a closed server. The project group consists of project leader Gitte Wichmann-Hansen, Associate Professor at Aarhus University and two project group members Michael Witt Kristiansen and Maja Kirkegaard, employed at Rambøll. No supervisor or any other person not included in the project group can ever be allowed access to the data. Aarhus University is the data controller, and Rambøll is the data processor.

How can I be anonymous when you know my name, email address and CPR.no?

In order to send the questionnaire in your E-boks and on e-mail, we need to know your name, mail address and CPR.no. This information is also used to link you to your specific PhD programme. When the survey is completed your name, mail address and personal security number are no longer needed for further analysis and will be deleted from the data set. Hence, it will no longer be possible to link your answer to the confidential information. 

I am the only one in my particular area sharing these specific characteristics. How do I know that my supervisor will not recognise my answer?

No analyses will be reported if there is any risk of individuals being recognised. This also means that there will not be conducted any analyses on PhD students in your particular field sharing your particular characteristics if this compromises anonymity. On the contrary, your answer will always be pooled with answers from at least 10 others PhD students. 

In the survey, it says that my comments are not anonymous. What does that mean?

At no point during the process will we give out personal information about your name or your enrolment to anyone. If you choose to write comments on the last page of the survey, they will be forwarded to the PhD school unedited. Thus, if you yourself write your name or your supervisors name or in any other way disclose yourself we cannot guarantee your anonymity. 

What are my rights?

If you want to make use of your rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you must contact project manager Gitte Wichmann-Hansen directly: gwh@au.dk. You have the right to gain insight into the information that the survey group processes, as well as a number of additional information.

  • Right to view personal data (right of access): You have a right of access 1) to the data that the survey group processes about you and 2) to various other information.

  • Right to rectification (correction): You have the right to have inaccurate personal data about you rectified.

  • Right to restriction of processing: In certain circumstances, you have the right to have the processing of your personal data restricted.

  • Right to object: In certain circumstances, you have the right to object to the otherwise lawful processing of your confidential data by Rambøll.    

For further information about your rights under the General Data Protection Regulation, please see the guidelines of the Danish Data Protection Agency (Datatilsynet) on the rights of data subjects at www.datatilsynet.dk. 

Can I lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Agency?

If you wish to lodge a complaint regarding the processing of your personal data, please contact the Danish Data Protection Agency. You will find the contact details for the Danish Data Protection Agency at www.datatilsynet.dk.

Where can I learn more?

If you have additional questions, please feel welcome to contact the project group by mail (kvalitetiphd@au.dk) or by contacting project leader Gitte Wichmann-Hansen.

Report 2021

For the third time, Aarhus University is conducting a survey about their PhD students’ perception of the quality of AU’s PhD education. The survey runs from 5th January until 3rd February 2021. In this period, it is possible to answer the questionnaire, which is sent to all enrolled PhD students at AU and those who have been awarded a PhD degree from AU within the recent six months. The results of the survey are made available in a report during April 2021.

You can read more about the survey project group and your confidentiality in the FAQ about respondents' confidentiality and rights.

Report 2017

This report shows the results for Aarhus University and its four PhD schools. Results from 2017 and 2013 are compared.

Kvalitet i Ph.d.-forløb 2017. Hovedrapport for Aarhus Universitet (in Danish only)

If you are interested in the specific reports for each PhD Program, please contact project manager Gitte Wichmann-Hansen.