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Strategic Plan for the Faculty of Health Sciences 2014-2020

The Faculty of Health Sciences collaborates extensively at regional, national and international levels. One of its most distinguished characteristics is the use of population studies, extensive biobanks and health registers in translational research. With its location “at the edge of the Arctic”, it naturally tends to focus on the north, and arctic health research.

Strategy illustration picture

The Strategic Plan for the Faculty of Health Sciences 2014-2020 (Helsefak 2020) outlines the thematic research initiatives and strategic actions that will determine the future direction of the Faculty over the forthcoming years. The Strategic Plan is an integral part of the overarching Strategic Plan for the Arctic University of Norway (UiT 2020). It is founded on the Faculty’s strong position in North Norway, and reflects its position as an innovative and forward-looking department which collaborates extensively at regional, national and international levels. It is our goal to offer the highest quality education and research.

Helsefak 2020 was developed by education and research working groups as an integrated process involving employees, students and representatives from health services. The Faculty Board adopted the plan in June 2014 following external consultation.

The success of Helsefak 2020 will depend on its ability to prioritize and generate targeted actions to achieve our ambitious goals. Our human resources represent our most important asset. The aim is for Helsefak 2020 to promote commitment to good management and collaboration in order to fulfil our responsibilities within society.

The Helsefak 2020 plan reinforces the benefits of working collaboratively and outlines our common goals. We are here to perform top-quality research and provide education for the future. Our goal is to develop wise minds, warm hearts and safe hands to care for the people of North Norway. This is the ultimate goal in everything the Faculty does!
Arnfinn Sundsfjord - Dean 

Kjetil Kvalsvik - Faculty Director


The Faculty of Health Sciences (Helsefak) conducts research and provides education for the future, developing wise minds, warm hearts and safe hands to care for the people of North Norway.

Value base

The activities carried out at the Faculty of Health Sciences are governed by credibility, academic freedom, closeness and openness, creativity, commitment and respect.

Principal goal: High quality research, education and communication

Helsefak contains the majority of professional study programmes within health sciences under one umbrella organisation, making an important contribution to the unique qualities of the Faculty. The Faculty is assigned the task of safeguarding basic research and educating high-quality researchers, ensuring a high level of interaction between research and educational programmes in order to meet the needs of society. Active communication provides the route by which to present our research and education, contribute to knowledge-based social debate and lay the foundations for the application of new knowledge. We believe that good management and collaboration are the foundations of a productive and efficient organisation. The Faculty aims to have an excellent working environment that facilitates both the professional and personal development of all its employees. 

1. Thematic research initiatives

1.1 Health and well-being in the High North

The Faculty of Health Sciences aims to play a leading role in developing knowledge of how social developments, the environment and climate of the High North impact upon health and the need for health services. The Faculty aims to:

  • Educate health workers who are able to meet future requirements from all parts of the health service and who collaborate closely with practitioners in the High North

  • Reinforce and communicate research that examines health, illnesses, living conditions and health-promoting initiatives for the population in this region

  • Conduct research that focuses on health within Sami cultures

  • Study the need and suggest technological systems for health care, in collaboration with health services, trade and industry

1.2 Innovation within research, education and practice

The Faculty of Health Sciences shall contribute to innovation in education and health service provision through research and the education of health care personnel. The Faculty aims to:

  • Collaborate with health services, users, trade and industry to develop the knowledge base required to develop products and services
  • Strengthen research in the practice of health and care services in collaboration with health services
  • Communicate the results of research and developmental work to health services, users, trade and industry
  • Further develop educational research in order to generate flexible and innovative educational programmes
  • Play a national leading role in Faculty development within health sciences

1.3 Population studies, translational and basic research, methodological expertise 

The Faculty of Health Sciences aims to take a leading role within translational research based on population studies, biobanks and health registers. Basic research of a high international quality shall be promoted and developed. The Faculty aims to:

Promote and communicate demographic surveys as the foundations for regional, national and international collaboration 

  • Promote and communicate population studies as a foundation for regional, national and international collaboration

  • Further develop academic environments that safeguard high quality basic research

  • Promote basic biomedical, clinical and epidemiological research as the foundation for translational research of high international quality

  • Strengthen health services research based on medical quality registers and health registers

  • Ensure a high level of expertise within bioinformatics, biostatistics and qualitative methodology

1.4 Collaboration on research, education and practice

The Faculty of Health Sciences shall play a leading role nationally for interdisciplinary collaboration on education and practice, carried out in close contact with practitioners. Active communication shall reinforce the collaborative culture both in-house and with external parties. The Faculty aims to:

  • Further develop an organisational structure and culture that strengthens collaboration across departments

  • Systematically and further develop collaboration among employees by fostering a positive culture in terms of attitudes, interaction and knowledge sharing

  • Ensure collaboration between external and internal parties and maintain Health, Safety and the Environment (HSE) initiatives to provide a positive environment for learning and work

  • Create and promote arenas for collaboration among the specialised and primary health care services

  • Further develop and implement interprofessional education on collaboration

2. Strategic initiatives for research and education

2.1 Quality and focus within research

Research groups, infrastructure and clear goals are all strategic tools to reach the principal goals of achieving high quality research and strengthening thematic research initiatives. The Faculty aims to:

  • Develop research groups into robust, dynamic, high quality units based on interdisciplinary collaboration, a good collaborative environment and clear management

  • Develop major thematic collaboration projects involving several research groups:

    • Establish three major research projects involving researchers from at least three different departments at the Faculty
    • Develop collaborative projects involving other Faculties
    • Establish at least two major collaborative projects with the health sector
  • Consolidate and further develop the Faculty's support functions and infrastructure in order to strengthen the target areas for research
  • Develop clearly defined research strategy initiatives at the Department of Health and Care Sciences and the Department of Clinical Dentistry

2.2 Funding and communicating research

Accessing relevant research funding, strengthening expertise, encouraging collaboration and communicating effectively are all crucial factors in achieving our goal of producing high quality research. The Faculty aims to:

  • Increase the share of external research funding by:
    • Further rewarding research groups that have been successful in acquiring national and international external research funding
    • Initiating and coordinating applications to Horizon 2020
    • Strengthening quality work on applications to FRIPRO NFR (the Research Council of Norway's open, national competitive arena for funding of independent projects)
    • Striving to achieve at least one Centre of Research Excellence (or equivalent) during the period of the Strategic Plan
  • Encourage all professors to publish regularly in relevant scientific journals
    • In each Department, a minimum of 20% of papers shall be published in level II journals
  • Extend public research communication both nationally and internationally

2.3 Education that meets the needs of future health services

The Faculty of Health Sciences shall provide dynamic study programmes that comply with the Coordination Reform and meet the needs of future health services in North Norway. The Faculty aims to:

    • Further develop and increase flexible study programmes with a focus on pedagogical quality and relevance for future health services
    • Offer education to health professionals and postgraduate courses that are in demand from practitioners
    • Offer coherent BSc and MSc study programmes to PhD level within health sciences

2.4 Educating for collaboration

The Faculty of Health Sciences shall offer education in interprofessional collaboration within all health science study programmes. The Faculty aims to:

  • Develop interprofessonal elements within the study programmes, with increasingly higher learning objectives as the study programme progresses
  • Further develop the interprofessional meeting points for students in practical placements, and establish by 2020:
    • Hospital ward or nursing home sections manned by students in collaboration with the specialised and municipal health service in North Norway
    • A University health centre for interprofessional education, in cooperation with Tromsø municipality
    • Interprofessional learning using the Better and Systematic Team Training (BEST) method

2.5 A learning environment

The Faculty of Health Sciences shall play a leading role within Faculty development for health sciences nationally, and develop a physical, educational and social learning environment that promotes active student learning and encourages interprofessional collaboration. The Faculty aims to:

  • Facilitate innovative educational systems, advances in educational methods and student participation

  • Further develop formal arenas for the mutual exchange of experience within pedagogy, teaching and educational programmes, both on campus and with external partners

  • Promote and further develop the use of combined positions as a tool to facilitate innovative education that has close links to practice

  • Establish up-to-date, effective and user-friendly technology that promotes initiative and encourages collaboration between practice, education and research

  • Offer educational initiatives within pedagogy and education-related technology to teachers and supervisors

  • Develop schemes to reward educational work

  • Further develop the scheme for R&D time within pedagogy and education

  • Strengthen the level of expertise within educational leadership among employees

2.6 Research-based education

The Faculty of Health Sciences shall develop research regarding education and tools to develop innovative, flexible and excellent health education programmes. It will conduct research closely linked to practice in order to meet the welfare state's needs. The Faculty aims to:

  • Carry out systematic research and evaluation of the study programmes

  • Pave the way for educational development work and recruitment to positions involving research on health sciences education

  • Encourage participation and publication distribution within national and international forums related to educational research

  • Achieve status as a Centre of Excellence in Higher Education by 2020

  • Highlight and document research-based education in all study programmes

  • Facilitate recruitment to develop expertise within research that is closely linked to practice

  • Disseminate new knowledge to interested parties among the general public, trade and industry, and by tailored communication to specific target groups

2.7 Internationalisation and mobility

Participation in international collaboration has a positive influence on motivation, quality and recruitment to research and education. The Faculty aims to:

  • Establish strategic collaboration agreements with foreign research and educational organisations

  • Develop a flexible exchange programme with good support functions as a strategic tool to increase the quality of research and education, and to promote international collaboration

  • Portray our international profile on English language websites, in international news channels, at international meetings and as hosts for international events

2.8 Further development and recruitment of students and employees

Highly qualified employees and students are valuable resources and, therefore, an active recruitment policy is essential. The Faculty aims to:

  • Achieve a clearly defined profile and a national and international position as an attractive place for study and work

  • Achieve a clearly defined organisation and lines of responsibility for the recruitment of employees and students

  • Actively involve employees and students in building the Faculty's reputation, profiling and recruitment

  • Strengthen and develop individuals within the organisation as they are our most important resource

  • Further develop the positive culture for improvement, management and collaboration

  • Offer an attractive working environment with the potential to develop expertise for all groups of employees

2.9 Career paths within education and research

The Faculty of Health Sciences shall ensure high quality research and education by providing the potential for development for both employees and students. The Faculty aims to:

  • Offer career paths within education and research that comprise individual and strategic considerations

  • Strengthen the potential for career paths that focus on expertise within pedagogy and teaching

  • Offer a socially relevant study programme for researchers, with a high level of professional and educational quality based on the use of local and national research schools and by active use of mentor schemes

  • Establish an increased number of Postdoctoral Fellow and tenure track positions in order to develop young talented researchers and their international contact network

  • Further develop the undergraduate research programme for medical students and other schemes in order to identify students with particular interest in and talent for research

Page administrator: Torgunn Wærås
Last updated: 05.01.2017 15:37