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Our mission is to give KI postdocs a voice and a supportive network

For PIs

The Postdoc Association is working to improve the postdoc experience at KI. With your help we can achieve a better research environment for all postdocs. This will create a better atmosphere in your lab, and therefore improve the research quality and output. 

Since July 1st 2014, KI has adjusted its stipend rules. A link to these new rules can be found here. The most important changes are the changes in contract duration (12 months instead of 6 months), the necessity of KI to work out which kind of health insurance is applicable, the necessity to go through all rules regarding the stipends, and the fact that a postdoc now has to sign his/her stipend contract. Furthermore, the rules explicitly state about the study plan for the postdoc, which will hopefully give more structure to the expectations of the postdoc.First of all, we would like to ask you to go through all rules yourself, so that you know what is applicable for your postdoc.
Background information for you and your postdocs 
Since establishing of the Postdoc Association last year, we have noticed that many PIs are not fully aware of the issues that postdocs face during their time at KI. According to our recent survey, more than 75% of the postdocs starting on a stipend encounter at least one or more of administrative problems (vs. 35% of the postdocs that start of on a salary). Furthermore, foreign postdocs often make incorrect assumptions concerning Sweden’s social security system and forget to ask about their rights. Whilst we continually work with KI’s leadership to enhance the postdoc experience, this document sets out some of the main issues your postdocs encounter and suggests some quick and easy solutions to help them just concentrate on science. Please note that many of the issues outlined below are applicable mainly for foreign postdocs as they arrive in Sweden. You can find more detailed information for postdocs on our information page. 

Please give this address to your potential future postdocs, so that they can find all necessary information before they arrive here.
Contract duration 
Postdocs receiving KI internal stipends now receive contracts for 12 months. These longer contracts should make it easier to apply for a personnummer, for which the intended stay needs to be at least one year, a necessity to live in Sweden. Without a personnummer it is almost impossible to obtain housing contracts, bank accounts, and essential utilities. Moreover, a personnummer is crucial to get reduced fees for primary health care (for more information on the personnummer and health insurance, click here). 

However, in case the 12-month contract is still not enough, please provide your new postdoc with a ‘letter of admission’ that states that the intended duration of the stay is two years, despite the 12-month contract duration.
KI’s rules and regulations state that stipends are for educational purposes only and therefore each postdoc is required to have an educational plan for the 2 years they are expected to stay. Although KI courses are free of charge for KI postdocs, not all course coordinators are fully aware of this agreement with the Board of Research. 
Please forward the information regarding courses to your postdocs:
Please set up and sign an educational plan together with your postdoc; there is no template for this, but ‘an individual plan of the methods that are to be studied in conjunction with postdoc scholarships’ is supposed to come with the scholarship contract. 
In addition, please fill in and sign the Supervisor-Postdoc agreement that is recommended by KI career service and indicate that the intended stay is for 2 years:
Monthly income 
The KI internal stipend has recently increased to a level between 20,000 to 30,000 SEK per month. If a postdoc receives an external stipend, this now has to be topped up by KI to match at least 20,000 SEK per month as well; this topping up can be done via partial employment! The minimum income for a salaried postdoc is 27,100 SEK. Our survey in Dec 2012 found that on average a postdoctoral researcher on a stipend has an income that is 3000 SEK less than a salaried postdoc after tax, even though the postdocs on stipends have to provide for their own social security (see below). Furthermore, the cost of life in Stockholm is very high, especially the rent of ‘second-hand’ apartments, as it is almost impossible to get a first-hand contract without queuing for several years.
Please consider paying your postdoc a salary or at least a stipend of 27,100 SEK per month for someone doing a first postdoc, and 30,000 SEK for a more experienced postdoc. 
Lack of social security 
Income from stipends is not taxable. Whilst this may sound advantageous, in practice it means: no unemployment benefit or pension rights; no access to sick leave or full parental leave; and no other basic rights afforded to workers and residents of Sweden (e.g. annual leave). Therefore, the postdoc has to ensure they are able to cover any of these eventualities, which is difficult on a low income (see above). It is not surprising that fewer postdocs on stipends have children than those on salaries (20.7% vs 42.4% among non-Swedish postdocs). 
Please give your postdoc at least official permission to take the same number of holidays as his/her salaried colleague (28 days if < 30 years of age; 31 days if > 30 years). 
Försäkringskassan offers reduced fees for medical and dental treatment for all Swedish residents regardless of employment status as well as providing a basic level of parental leave. Furthermore, it gives out European Health Insurance Cards to medically insure you when traveling in Europe. Despite being entitled to entry into Försäkringskassan, postdocs are often incorrectly rejected due to the fact that they are not employed. Nevertheless, they should be accepted because they reside in Sweden. 
Please strongly encourage your postdocs to join Försäkringskassan (and appeal against rejections). More information can be found on our website: Tips for Postdocs
Psychosocial working environment
59.5% of all postdocs frequently feel stressed about their work. 31% of the postdocs report to feel subjected to some form of mistreatment (ignored, intimidated, bullied, or manipulated). The postdoc period is no longer 1- 2 years; it can easily extend up to 7 years. This period can be extremely beneficial both for the postdoc and the host lab given a good research, research environment and general working conditions.