Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)


Lea Ruzic

Country: Norway

Name: Morten Welde

Company: Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Position: Researcher (Concept Research Programme)

ITS Course: MA Transport Economics, 2004

At the moment I work full time as a researcher in a research programme called Concept which is located at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. We do research on major public investments under the Norwegian Quality Assurance scheme. Based on analyses of these data, as well as theoretically based studies, we develop new knowledge on how to make good decisions and how to govern major public projects. The programme is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Finance. Examples of what we do are ex-post studies of completed projects, studies of cost overruns, developing improved governance systems etc. We write reports, publish articles and present papers at conferences. We try to interact both with the academic community as well as with practitioners from government agencies.

When I took the course at ITS I was on a one year leave of absence from my job at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. The course was very useful in that it provided me with a theoretical framework which enabled me to better understand mechanisms at play in the transport sector. It inspired me to further pursue an academic career and six years after I completed my MA I defended my PhD thesis at University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Two years after that I went full time into academia when I started in my present job.

The decision to take my course at ITS I’ll admit it was a bit coincidental. I had been working for four years since taking my first degree and I was starting to get a bit fed up. At the time two other Norwegians, one of which was an employee at the NPRA, were taking the MA in Leeds and I had a colleague, who was an adjunct professor at two Norwegian universities, who inspired me to apply for the MA in Leeds. I had always had an ambition to live in the UK for a while so I was very happy when my employer agreed to fund my studies. The year in Leeds was great. I had a great time and I made good friends while there. The academic standard was high and I’ve certainly benefited from it since.

My advice to students interested in this course is that undertaking a postgraduate study at university and in particular at ITS is for people with ambitions. You should be prepared and wish to do well. Once there, you should be prepared to put down the necessary effort to achieve good results – otherwise you will not just be wasting your own time, but also the time of your fellow students and lecturers.  If you don’t come straight from an undergraduate study, you might want to revise your textbooks from your previous courses. I didn’t and I struggled a little to get back into the economic terminology.

Some people think that being a student means that you have to study all day and night. I disagree. In my opinion, if you continually find yourself stuck at your desk late at night you’re either a slow learner or inefficient in your studies. If you manage eight hours of effective study a day (not including trips to the refectory etc., but including lectures), you should be fine.

Leeds is great city with plenty to offer. Make sure you take in the city life – be that pubs, clubs or whatever is your scene. Leeds is also very close to some beautiful areas so do travel to the Yorkshire dales or the Lake District at least once. One other thing; try to travel to Leeds earlier in the summer to sort out accommodation. Good housing tends to become unavailable closer to the start of the term.