On July 6th the Swedish Government announced an addition to Högskoleförordningen (the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance, SFS 2017:844) that is meant to improve the job security for young researchers and set the grounds for an organized Swedish tenure track system. It also aims to clarify the Swedish nomenclature concerning the different early career stages. There are however some additional changes to the current system that will impact young researchers below the Assistant Professor stage, and therefore we feel that it is vital that all postdocs and equivalent researchers (especially those that have earned their PhD in 2011, 2012 and 2013) are informed about how these changes will impact their careers.
In short, the new amendment states:
- The meriting position Assistant Professor, previously named Forskarassistent or “FoAss” in Swedish will cease to exist. Instead, a meriting position called Biträdande Lektor (Bitr.Lekt.) will take its place.
- The Bitr.Lekt. can be employed for a minimum time of 4 years and maximum of 6 years with a possibility for promotion to Lektor (the equivalent of Associate Professor). In practice this means no more 1+1+1+1 year contracts, which is a positive change.
- Primarily persons that have earned their PhD within 5 years or less from the time of application will be eligible to apply for Bitr.Lekt. This is thus a reduction from today’s 7 year eligibility window.
- This 5 year time can be prolonged under special circumstances such as sickness, parental leave or equivalent. Note that clinical practice is not specifically mentioned as grounds to adjust this deadline, potentially restricting the possibility for clinical researchers to apply.
- Each University will itself decide on the criterion for the Bitr.Lekt. At the time of employment, the University must specify the specific criteria they will use for promotion to Lektor.
- The Bitr.Lekt should be promoted to Lektor if he/she is eligible and is assessed to fulfil the requirements for Lektor that were set together with the University.
- Such promotion to Lektor entails permanent employment.
- Researchers employed according to the old rules will continue to follow the old rules.
- These new legislation can be applied starting on October 1st 2017, and will have to be followed for employments that are announced after April 1st 2018. It has not yet been decided when KI will implement the new rules.
- In practice this means that KI has the possibility to announce Academic Career positions as Assistant Professor according to the old rules one more time, and that the next announcement in early 2018 will be the last time to apply for every body that defended their thesis in 2011, 2012 and 2013!
For more information you are welcome to contact the Karolinska Institutet Junior Faculty (click here).