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Research stay abroad

The Graduate School of Health recommends that you go abroad for your research stay. Going abroad gives you the opportunity to make international contacts and gain new perspectives on your research

The main purpose of your stay is to further your research, to experience a different research environment and to network within your field of research.

When you become an active participant in the international research community you get scientific and cultural experiences valuable to your project and your career.

In the sections below, you can learn more about how to plan, finance and obtain ECTS credits during your stay abroad. 

How to plan a stay abroad

The world is your workplace – and the possibilities are many and different.

Some go on a clinical stay or on a research visit to learn techniques, collect data, or to see new types of patients or diseases. You can also teach or participate in courses. Others work on a publication or do desk research.

As a PhD student you do not have access to general exchange agreements. This means that you must arrange the stay yourself, but also that you have more freedom in planning (when, where, for how long, etc.).

If you want your research stay abroad to be your research environment change, please be aware that your stay should be at least one consecutive month. 

Reach out and network

Express your interest in going abroad to your supervisors, colleagues and people you meet at conferences and seminars.

Reach out to professors and institutions in your field and be open about your expectations and about what you can offer them in return (skills, contacts, knowledge). Network and use the supervisor’s and your own international contacts.

Begin planning in good time and use the resources available at Aarhus University and the host institution. International Academic Staff Service can help you with insurance, tax and social security and have checklists and country guides that you can use. It is also possible to book an advisory meeting about postings and grants. Your host institution will have accurate and local information on things like visa requirements and housing.

Do not forget to apply for financial support and ECTS credits from the Graduate School of Health. Find application forms in the right sidebar.

Protect your right to publish

When working with another institution on a research project it is a good idea to have a written agreement on who owns what data. You do not want your stay abroad to interfere with your right to publish your findings or to give a public defense.

If presented with a contract or agreement you should always contact the Technology Transfer Office before signing.

How to finance your stay abroad

PhD projects at the Graduate School of Health often take place in collaboration with other research institutions in Denmark and abroad. As a PhD student, you automatically become a member of these research environments. 

All PhD students enrolled at the Faculty of Health can apply the graduate school for the financial support for going abroad (please note, the graduate school does not grant financial support to stays in Denmark)

The Graduate School supports:

  • Longer stays abroad (duration of at least 30 consecutive days) – you can apply for a maximum of DKK 10,000 per month. This monthly maximum can be exceeded if you participate in a pre-approved external course. You can apply for up to DKK 60,000 in your enrolment period. Please note, from 1 January 2021, stays must be at least 30 days in order to receive financial support from the graduate school.

How to apply

You may submit applications to the graduate school no later than 14 days before leaving for your stay abroad.

Use the "Application form for funding to stay abroad" and submit it together with the an invitation from the host university/department.

Scan the application and enclosures into one pdf file and submit it to graduateschoolhealth@au.dk

A grant from the graduate school requires that you are actively enrolled. This means that a grant has to be used in the enrolment period and before you hand in your dissertation. You cannot apply or use a grant if you are on leave from your PhD studies.  

Reimbursable expenses

The graduate school will be able to cover all verifiable expenses directly linked to the travel of the PhD student, e.g.:

  • Return plane ticket
  • Hotel/housing expenses at the destination
  • Public transportation to and from the airport (in the host country)
  • Attendance fees for conferences (during longer stays abroad)
  • Materials for research conferences
  • Material/equipment for experiments (if not available at the host institution and vital to conducting your research)
  • Visa
  • Fees for participation in courses at PhD level and of relevance to the PhD project (during longer stays abroad). These external courses must be pre-approved by the course administration.
  • Participation in courses offered in a formalised cooperation with universities abroad

NB! Travel expenses must be accounted for no later than 14 days after they have taken place. Expenses to e.g. plane tickets and accommodation can be reimbursed before your trip.     

Non reimbursable expenses

  • Expenses usually covered by yourself cannot be reimbursed (e.g. food, laundry, daily transport, expenses related to accompanying family) 
  • Travels in your own car
  • Daily/hourly allowance is not given
  • Insurances 

Additional financial support

There are also many foundations and medical societies as well as public institutions that offer travel grants to PhD students. Search online for current calls and use the Researcher Support Office’s database.

Information on travelling as an AU employee

If you need general information on travels as an employee at Aarhus University including how to create a profile in RejsUd (expense reimbursement) and CWT (travel booking), and Aarhus University’s travel policy, you can consult the AU staff service page on travel booking and expense reimbursement

Find information about travel insurance and how to obtain a travel insurance card here

Allocation of ECTS credits in connection with studies abroad

PhD students can gain up to four ECTS credits for studies abroad, provided that the following conditions are met:

  • You must submit a report on your experience with information about the time spent abroad and the academic content. Find report template in the right sidebar
  • Students who have spent one to three months abroad can submit an experience report of max five pages and obtain two ECTS credits
  • Students who have spent four to six months abroad can submit an experience report of max eight to ten pages and obtain four ECTS credits
  • You must be willing to present your experience report or in some other way talk about your experience from the study period abroad in connection with the PhD day or in other relevant contexts, if requested by the graduate school
  • The experience report must be submitted to the graduate school administration no later than three months after completion of the study period abroad
  • The experience report must be approved by the graduate school management
  • When approved and assigned ECTS, you upload the report and register ECTS in MyPhD

Allocation of ECTS credits for a study period abroad does not prevent you from obtaining ECTS credits for courses completed while abroad. Credits for such courses are subject to special application. For more info, see our page external courses.

Force majeure

What do I do in case of force majeure such as corona and the Ukraine crisis?

Can I go abroad on my research environment change?

The Graduate School is following the current travel guidelines from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please find more information regarding trips and stays abroad on the AU Corona-website and IAS' Ukraine Crisis website and stay informed via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines for travelling abroad

The decision as to whether an employee may travel to an ‘orange’ country on business is up to the head of the department.

Special circumstances may apply for international PhD students travelling to or from Denmark. Please keep yourself updated on the International Academic Staff Service (IAS) website

Should I come home from my stay abroad?

We want to encourage PhD students abroad to carefully consider their situation.

Please stay informed via the AU Corona-website, IAS' Ukraine Crisis website and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines for travelling abroad

Special circumstances may apply for international PhD students travelling to or from Denmark. Please keep yourself updated on the International Academic Staff Service (IAS) website

I have received financial support from the Graduate School for a research stay abroad, but my stay has to be postponed. Should I apply for funding again?

You do not need to submit a new application, just send us an e-mail with the new dates for your stay abroad.

I have prepaid for parts of my stay abroad (a deposit for rent, flight tickets etc.) that cannot be reimbursed

If you have received financial support from the Graduate School for a research stay abroad,lost deposits and flight tickets will be covered by the Graduate School of Health. 

Please contact the PhD administration via e-mail, graduateschoolhealth@au.dk.