New posts in KI’s career ladder prove extremely popular

Published 2014-10-22 14:40. Updated 2014-10-28 15:46Denna sida på svenska

Applications poured in for the very first job advertisements in Karolinska Institutet’s career ladder. It has now been decided who will fill these posts, which are to be financed as of 2015.

In the spring of 2014, the Board of Research announced funding for junior researcher posts at three levels: research associate (four years), “extended research associate” (two years) and researcher (five years).

Considerable interest was shown in these posts, with around 100 to 150 applications being submitted for each of the three levels.

“We were overjoyed with the number and quality of the applications,” says Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, dean of research at Karolinska Institutet.

Birgitta Henriques Normark, assistant dean of recruitment, agrees:

“We have very many, really good junior researchers at KI. We also had many applications from people in other countries who were highly qualified and who wanted to work at KI, and that was great to see.”

The competition for the posts was therefore tough.

The applications were assessed during the summer by an external panel, from whose report a selection of applicants were called to interview for the posts of research associate and researcher. The post of extended research associate was filled on the basis of the external assessments only.

“One pronounced difficulty was having so many excellent applicants,” says Professor Ljunggren.

As of 1 January 2015, the Board of Research will be distributing the funds for the financing of the 29 posts to the relevant departments, which will have six months to effect the appointments.

Sights are already set on the next round of recruitments. The intention is for the posts to be advertised every year, and a new call for applications is schedule for next February.

“We’ll be evaluating this round so that we can optimise the process for next year,” says Professor Normark.

When the career ladder was presented last spring, the Junior Faculty – an interest group at KI for postdocs without a permanent research post – said that the process is an important first step towards a clearer research ladder, but that there has to be more posts available. At present, however, Professor Ljunggren regrets that this is not possible.

“This is a very ambitious programme, which will eventually cost something like 130 to 140 million kronor when fully up and running. After four years, we’ll have roughly 100 people in the system. We’d love to have more, but right now we just don’t have the money.”

Text: Karin Söderlund Leifler