Find a researcher contact

Here you can find good advice on how to find a researcher contact for your project. It can be hard to understand all the jargon used in universities, so we’ll also include a brief guide to the structure of universities and academic job titles.

When looking for a researcher contact, you may have to be patient. At this point it is normal that many junior researchers withdraw from the project, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are lots of researchers who want to supervise young people with a passion for their subject, so never be afraid to contact a researcher.

The Junior Researchers Secretariat at the University of Copenhagen is always happy to help with your search should it come to a complete stop. Contact the project coordinator on tel. (+45) 35 33 23 70 or write an email to forskerspirer@adm.ku.dk

How is a university structured?

Most universities consist of a number of faculties. A faculty normally contains one or more departments. The departments focus on individual subjects (such as psychology), while a faculty is concerned with a general subject area, such as the humanities, theology, health sciences or social science.

The Danish universities that are structured in this way are the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University and the University of Southern Denmark. Other Danish universities, such as Roskilde University, do not have faculties, but are structured around centres, etc. Copenhagen Business School, which researches and teaches business economics and humanities, has one faculty and 14 departments. You may select a researcher contact from any Danish university you want.

When looking for a supervisor, you can contact PhDs, postdocs, assistant professors, professors and emeritus professors. These are just some of the titles given to academic staff in a university. However, your supervisor does not have to be employed at a university. You can also find a researcher in the private business sector. If in doubt contact the secretariat at the University of Copenhagen.
Aarhus University also offers an extra service for junior researchers. Find out more on AU's website for participants of the Junior Researchers Project.

How do you find a researcher?

Most researchers are genuinely happy to talk to and help serious young students with interesting projects. But researchers are also busy people, and being a researcher contact for a junior researcher goes beyond the researcher’s normal call of duty. It is important to remember that the researchers are doing this on a voluntary basis – purely out of interest and goodwill.

Remember that YOU are in the driver’s seat – you’re the one who has to start the process. But your school coordinator is of course there to help you. The sooner you get things started after the Copenhagen meeting in March the better, since it can take some time and several unsuccessful attempts before you find the right researcher. This is quite normal, so don’t get discouraged if this happens.

How do you start?

You have several options for finding a researcher. Your school coordinator may have a network you can use, or you can search via your school’s website. On many universities' website you'll fin a function called ‘Find a Researcher’, allowing you to search their site by name or subject. The links below will take you to the individual universities’ search functions.

You can also try searching on videnskab.dk. There you will find articles about research in many fields along with names of researchers. This can give you some ideas about the researchers that are working in your subject area in Denmark.

You could for example start by searching the websites of the universities or institutions that are closest to where you live, though it’s not certain that you’ll find the right specialist in your subject at the nearest university – or that they will have time to meet you.

If the researcher you contact does not have time to supervise you, ask whether they can recommend another researcher. Also, be aware that a researcher can often offer very valuable comments even if they do not work with your exact subject. And of course, if they did, your project wouldn’t be original!

How do you make contact?

They are various ways you can contact researchers. Here are some examples of how it can be done:

  • First write an email, and if you haven’t received an answer within a week, follow up by telephone
  • In the email, briefly describe your subject. If you have a longer text, attach it
  • Not all researchers will know about the Junior Researchers Project, so you should also write a line or two about it and attach the Information Letter. Also include a link to the Project’s website, so they can read more about it
  • Then describe the timeframe: when you want to meet and when you need to complete your project

What can you expect?

It is important that you state what you need from the researcher – you can use the Information Letter for this. When you mention the word ‘supervision’ to an academic, many will visualise a heavy workload, much larger than it really is. Therefore it is important you use the phrase ‘researcher contact’ instead. For example, you can attach a letter that explains the project and role of the researcher contact.

Usually the junior researcher and the researcher have around two personal meetings during the project period and otherwise speak on the telephone or correspond by email. But the supervision process varies: some don’t meet at all and only communicate electronically. In any case, try to make your communication to the point. Consider the ‘triviality limit’ of what you want to discuss with your researcher – maybe you could ask your school coordinator or a teacher instead.

Please remember to let the researcher know if for whatever reason you stop contacting them. If they are not told, it will give the Junior Researchers Project a bad reputation, and may spoil things for a future junior researcher.