Career planning

Postdoctoral studies provide a unique opportunity to develop new skills and professional independency by building on your PhD training. Planning your postdoctoral stay consciously will help you to ideally position yourself for a productive and rewarding career in- or outside of academia afterwards.

Careers in academia

A successful resarch career in academia relies on several skills such as writing, publishing, applying for grants, teaching, project management and planning.

If you are aiming for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Sweden, you should take into account in your planning that your PhD conferral date cannot be more than 5 years in past (Swedish Higher Education Ordinance, SFS 2017:844).


Organizing your own funding for conferences, a research exchange stay or your postdoc scholarship is a good start into your independence and shows grantsmanship.

If you would like to do a research stay in another laboratory here are some external funding sources

For external postdoctoral fellowships you can apply here

To apply for your independent research funding these are useful links


The Grants Office at Umeå University has useful information about current calls. They can also help you develop and express your research ideas and can support you in the application process.

University of Gothenburg also has a good website for keeping track of various funding sources

Management and leadership skills

Transitioning from postdoc to group leader is a big step and requires management and leadership skills. EMBO offers a wide range of courses to develop these skills early on: EMBO – Lab management


Some universities in Sweden, such as Gothenburg University and recently also KI, have existing postdoc mentoring systems where a senior researcher mentors a postdoctoral fellow.

Future Faculty plan to set up a similar system here at Umeå University. The idea is that senior researchers are paired with postdocs in order to mentor them in terms of career decisions.

Careers outside academia

To get an idea of what you can do with your PhD and postdoc training outside of academia, the experiences of other scientist who have taken this path are valuable sources for inspiration.

Career portraits of such scientists are presented on the excellent career blog of Karolinska Institutet (KI): Career portrait (KI)

Read more

Lena Åminne