Updated: Apr 18
Pride and inspiration to Pinoys at home and abroad
Luz Bergersen, Norway
Quiet, soft spoken, humble, intellectual. Dr. Rose Bernabe has formidable academic background and qualifications, holding a PhD in Medical Research Ethics, Faculty of Medicine, Utrecht University (NL); MA in Applied Ethics, cum laude (Erasmus Mundus track) Ethics Institute Utrecht University (NL) - Centre for Medical Ethics, Linkoping University, BA Humanities, major in Philosophy, magna cum laude, University of Asia and the Pacific (PH).
She currently holds the position Professor of Research Ethics and Research Integrity, Centre of Medical Ethics, Institute of Health and Society, University in Oslo (NO) and Prof. of Medical Research Ethics at the University of South-Eastern Norway, first professor of research ethics and research integrity at the Centre for Medical Ethics of UiO, the 2nd woman and the first non-Norwegian professor in this Centre.
She was a postdoctoral researcher and PhD fellow at the University Medical Center Utrecht. She has been a Philosophy instructor at the LaSalette Collegiate Seminary and the University of Asia and the Pacific (PH). She has worked as mentor, principal researcher and coordinator, partner, drafter, PhD supervisor in various funded projects, University in Oslo and University of Southeastern Norway.
Dr Rose has a long list of relevant professional experience, has supervised PhD students, and has written numerous articles in publications in the field of medical research ethics and research integrity.
Dr Rose Bernabe shares insights of her journey from the Philippines to Norway:
The statistics of those who stay in academia after their PhD studies is quite bleak. Of course, statistics differ depending on the field and the country, but the bleakest numbers I have seen so far are as follows: of those who finish their PhD studies, only 3.5% eventually make it as permanent research staff and 0.45% become professors. Most establish their careers outside academia. Why the bleak statistics, though? Academia, especially in high-income countries, can be a cut-throat environment and those who survive do so because, first, they successfully publish in high-income factor journals and, second, they successfully secure external funds, ideally from the most prestigious of funders. In Europe, this would be the European Commission. For me, this meant going through baptism by fire once more. Wrestling with my PhD dissertation was already something. This time, I felt like I just entered a much bigger Coliseum.
On top of this post-PhD challenge, my family and I felt like outsiders in a country that boasts itself of tolerance for what is foreign. But we were very blessed when it comes to friends. They are our “family” away from home. However, career wise, I felt I was “surviving” but not exactly thriving.
I secured Marie Curie funds from the European Commission for a postdoctoral position in the UiO. So, putting all our belongings in one big truck, we drove from the Netherlands to Norway in 2017.
I moved from my postdoctoral studies to a post in USN as administrative coordinator while retaining my researcher position in UiO. After several failures in securing European funds, and by several I really mean a lot, I gained my traction. After being a partner in a European Horizon project, I secured two more European funds, and in both projects, I was coordinator/co-coordinator. This allowed me to pass through the terribly narrow tunnel of professorship. Within a year, I quickly moved from administrative coordinator to associate professor to being a full-fledged professor in USN.
On a personal and family note, my wife Love (Judy Gonzales Malundo) and I live in a small Norwegian town called Noresund. I work as professor of medical research ethics at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) and as full professor of research ethics and research integrity at the University of Oslo (UiO). Love accomplished her master’s studies on International Social Welfare and Health Policy from the Oslo Metropolitan University. Today she is active in several causes, especially environmental and women’s issues in the Philippines.
Love and I met in 2004 via Yahoo Chat. To the younger generation, this would be the ascendant of Facebook Messenger or similar other messaging systems. She was in Sagay City and I was in Manila. She worked as an officer at the Registrar’s Office of Sagay City while I worked as Philosophy lecturer at La Salette Collegiate Seminary and teaching assistant at the Philosophy Department of the Ateneo De Manila University. Fast forward, we eventually decided to settle in UP Village, Quezon City. That was both a fun but complicated period: in the eyes of our charitable neighbors, we were the alternative family.
Eventually, I was granted an Erasmus Mundus scholarship in 2005 which required me to study for my master’s studies in Applied Ethics both in Sweden and in the Netherlands. But, before I left towards the unknown, Love and I decided to get “married” via a religious ceremony at the Chapel of the Order of St. Aelred.
Our younger son, Jay Em, 19, is pursuing his bachelor’s studies on digital forensics at the Noroff School of Technology and Digital Media in Kristiansand. Our older son, Arjay, is currently serving as a local politician in the Philippines and is about to get married. From the latter we have two beautiful grandchildren – Baby Gab, 2, and Jayjay, 1. We have a Dachshund Zoilo, 11, known to our friends for his leg humping but is otherwise a protective and loving gentle dog; and Tiny, 7, a feisty and independent-minded Great Pyrenees who sees herself both as a baby and a shepherd responsible for her flock, us! And Tabbs, 9 months, a Norwegian skogkatt (forest cat) who loves tummy rubs and lounges most of the time on Love’s newest quilt creations.
Hopefully we have an inspiring story, and I share a quote from Deepak Chopra: “Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real”.
Personal website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosemariebernabe/