Postdoctoral fellows

Postdoctoral fellows hold a doctoral degree (PhD) and are at the earliest stage of their career. Umeå University holds a high number of postdoctoral fellows, both employees and scholarship holders.

Postdoctoral fellow at Umeå University

At Umeå University there are two different ways of carrying out research as a postdoctoral fellow. You can either be employed with a salary or you can receive a scholarship (stipend). 

As you are applying to conduct postdoctoral research at Umeå University, make sure that you are fully aware of whether you will be employed as a Postdoctoral fellow and receive a salary or if you will be performing research as a Postdoctoral fellow on a scholarship, as the benefits vary significantly.

Below you will find more information about the conditions for a postdoctoral fellow (employed) and a postdoctoral fellow (scholarship holder). You can also take a look at the table for a quick overview.
Differences between employment and scholarship


Postdoctoral fellow (employed)

Postdoctoral fellows who are employed by Umeå University recieve a salary and pay taxes. This means that all rights and obligations that come with signing a contract as a state employee in Sweden will apply.


An employment as a postdoctoral fellow aims to give newly graduated doctoral students an opportunity to consolidate and further develop their scientific skills. The tasks should mainly focus on conducting research. Teaching can also be included in the duties to a maximum of one fifth of the working time (20%). An employment as a postdoctoral fellow is agreed for 2 years, in accordance with the applicable central collective agreement. The employment may be extended if there are special reasons.

Specific reasons include:
- sick leave due to illness
- parental leave
- clinical service
- trust assignments within trade unions or other similar circumstances

To be eligible for a postdoctoral position the applicants must have earned a PhD or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent to a PhD. The PhD degree should not be more than three years old by the application deadline, unless special circumstances exist.

Postdoktor - centralt avtal

In summary:
• Parental leave according to Swedish law
• Holiday allowance according to the collective agreement
• Sick leave according to Swedish law
• You are allowed to supervise and teach
• You get payments into a pension scheme
• You get benefits from the university (for ex. reimbursement for fitness and health expenses)

More information on Aurora - Employment conditions

Postdoctoral fellow (scholarship holder)

The purpose of a postdoctoral scholarship is to enable researchers to visit Umeå University and carry out independent research in order to qualify for further training and academic positions.

Scholarship holders from EU
As an EU-citizens with a scholarship you are regarded as "self sufficient". To qualify for a personal identity number you must have a fully covered health insurance valid for at least one year on arrival. Please read the instructions carefully. More information


A scholarship is not regarded as an employment and the research performed is not regarded as work. To make it clear that the scholarship is intended for further qualifications and does not constitute compensation for work, the head of department is responsible for making sure that a professional development plan is drawn up and a supervisor is appointed. The aim of the plan is to guarantee that the scholarship holder will receive high-quality training, as well as to show that the scholarship is awarded for educational purposes and not as compensation for work.

Draft of a professional development plan for scholarship holders
Development plan

The maximum time for a scholarship is two years. If the time limit is exceeded, the scholarship is regarded as salary and is subject to taxation. This means that the scholarship cannot be extended due to illness, parental leave or vacation. The scholarship is paid to you regardless of any absence. How absence should be reported is agreed upon by the you and your supervisor.

You can read more about the rules for scholarship at Umeå University

Rule - Scholarships at Umeå University

In summary:

  • You are not employed with a taxed salary
  • You are not allowed to teach (occasional teaching contributions are allowed)
  • You are not eligible to receive any unemployment benefits after the scholarship ends.
  • You do not have any official parental leave, but instead the scholarship normally continues to be paid out - this can vary depending on research group, department and scholarship foundation
  • You do not have any official holidays, but are encouraged to take the same amount of time off as employed postdocs - this can vary depending on research group, department and scholarship foundation
  • You do not have any official sick leave, but instead the scholarship normally continues to be paid out.
  • You do not receive any payments into any pension scheme.
  • You are eligible to apply for and get hired as an employed postdoctoral position at Umeå University after the scholarship period - this is true for Umeå university but not necessarily for all universities in Sweden
  • You have access to certain parts of the occupational healthcare supply.
  • You have access to national health benefits based on "living in Sweden"
    More information - Försäkringskassan

Taxation and payment

Scholarships are tax-free in Sweden. This is made possible by a special agreement between a funding agency and the Swedish Tax authorities (19 §, kommunalskattelagen 1928:370).

The Tax Agency in Sweden is responsble for the civic registration, personal identification number and id-cards. Eventhough scholarships are tax-free in Sweden you need to contact the Tax Agency within a week or arrival if you are staying for one year or more.

Tax Agency´s website - Moving to Sweden 

Maganement of payment

There are both internal and external scholarships. How payment is made to you depends on the type of scholarship have got.

  • A private individual as the scholarship recipient - you will receive the payment directly from the private funding organisation.
  • Umeå University as the scholarship recipient - payment is administrated via the payroll system (but not regarded as salary).

We recommend you to have a plan for the economic situation for the first weeks in Sweden due to the time it takes to arrange the id number and a bank account.

More information

Information regarding permits, insurance, healthcare, accompanying family and so on is found under Planning your stay and On arrival.

Contact information

International Staff Support
Office of Human Resource
Administration building

Rosita Nilsson 

Torbjörn Forsberg

Send an e-mail to
International Staff Support

information to scholarship holders

More information about postdoctoral fellow with schorlarship

Rule - Scholarship at Umeå University

Rosita Nilsson