CfA PhD student and postdoc network

The CfA PhD student and postdoc network organises activities aimed at PhD students and postdocs in the fields of allergy and asthma. 

The majority of new allergy PhDs will not remain in academia

PhD students and postdocs in allergy research choose careers outside of academia. This was the conclusion at a recent career retreat organised by the CfA PhD student and postdoc network at the Karolinska Institutet. Participants at the retreat were PhD students and postdocs from different departments at KI with research projects in the allergy area, and they answered a short survey about their expected careers. 31% responded that they envisage a career in academia, 62% in industry and 7% in the public sector.

Their career choices will lead to the loss of highly qualified allergy scientists within academia. This is problematic in a research area such as allergy, as allergies are one of our most common diseases affecting up to a third of the Swedish population, resulting in significant decrease of quality of life among those affected and high costs for society. More research is needed to tackle these problems. Universities face two issues:  First, there is a need to adjust recruitment and career strategies to keep individuals in academia.  Second, there is a need for academic training adjusted for individuals who intend to seek careers outside of academia.

The report was recently published in Allergy, by the members of the steering committee of the CfA PhD student and postdoc network, chaired by postdoc Jennifer Protudjer.

Protudjer JL, Binnmyr J, Grundström J, Manson M, Marquardt N, Säfholm J, Ullemar V. Allergy trainees' perspectives on career opportunities: Results from a trainee-organised retreat. Allergy. 2015 Jul 14.  

If you cannot access the publication via the link above, please e-mail for a copy.

About the CfA PhD student and postdoc network

For some time, PhD students and postdocs in the area of asthma and allergy have felt the need for increased interaction and collaboration. At the Allergy Research Day in 2014 a group of PhD students and postdocs got together and established a steering group. One of the activities of the network is to organise an annual retreat with topics of interest for CfA PhD students and postdocs. 

The Steering Group

The CfA PhD Student and Postdoc network steering group consists of:

  • Jennifer Protudjer, Chair (Post doc, IMM)
  • Jonas Binnmyr (PhD student, CNS)
  • Jeanette Grundström (Post doc, MedS)
  • Olivia Larsson (Post doc, IMM)
  • Nicole Marquardt (Post doc, MedH)
  • Jesper Säfholm (Post doc, IMM)
  • Vilhelmina Ullemar (PhD student, MEB)

Retreat 15th January 2015

The CfA PhD Student and Post-Doc Network held its first annual seminar for its members and for members of the Doctoral Programme Allergy, immunology and inflammation (Aii).  This one-day retreat was held at Kungsvalvet, Hantverkargatan 52, Stockholm on Thursday 15 January 2015.  The aim of this retreat was to expose PhD students and post-docs to career opportunities following their training. In total, there were 40 participants (n=24 [60%] PhD students), from 8 different departments at the retreat. The retreat was organised into four different themes, Career support and services; Careers within academia; Careers within industry, and; Careers within the public sector. Eleven speakers discussed their career paths and left participants with many pieces of sound advice. The retreat also included time, including a mingle and dinner, for participants to network. Of those participants who responded to the post-retreat evaluation, feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Programme, short biographies of the CfA PhD student and postdoc network committee, and of the speakers


If you would like to know more about the CfA PhD student and postdoc network, or if you would like to get active in the network, please contact:


Jennifer Protudjer

Organizational unit: Environmental epidemiology

AllergyAsthmaDoctoral studentNetworkPostdoc