Last week, Karolinska Institutet submitted our comments to the government’s report ”Trygghet och attraktivitet – en forskar-karriär för framtiden (SOU 2016:29)”, which is often referred to as the Research Career Report. This is a very important report as is all comments. An attractive, predictable and transparent research career is really critical to the university sector, to research in general, and to life science at large. Comments from KI were assembled by the Vice Dean of Recruitment, Birgitta Henriques-Normark. Many people have been involved in, and put significant effort into, composing the comments.
KI’s response to the report and its conclusions are generally positive, but considers it important that the suggestions are adapted on a number points. Overall, KI considers that the report is too focused on research and that the academic career as a whole should be discussed.
The report proposes that stipends as a means to finance PhD studies should be phased out. KI believes that stipends should remain as a means to finance international PhD students to support internationalization and should be complemented to secure socioeconomic support.
KI welcomes six year career positions but suggests the possibility to also create positions that are shorter than four years. We believe that it is very important that the time between PhD and the career position remains seven years not least to align with conditions for grants from funding agencies such a Wallenberg Academy Fellows, Starting Grants from ERC or grants as junior researchers from the Swedish Research Council. KI wishes to have two career positions, as we have now, research assistant “forskarassistent” and “biträdande lector”, one of which is associated with the possibility for promotion where criteria for promotion remains the responsibility of each university. KI does not support a national goal for the number of career positions. Only the individual university can decide the number of career positions that it can support.
Finally, KI thinks it is very important that career positions can be combined with clinical activity.