PostDoc

Postdoctoral fellows hold a doctoral degree (PhD) and are at the earliest stage of their career among the members of Future Faculty. Below you will find some useful information concerning the terms for a postdoctoral researcher.

Titles at Umeå University

At Umeå University, a Postdoctoral fellow is employed and receives a salary. If your project is funded by a scholarship/stipend you are instead referred to as a Postdoctoral fellow (scholarship holder).

In some countries a Postdoctoral fellow can be employed by the university and the employment is funded by a scholarship/stipend. This is NOT the case at Umeå University. You are either employed with a salary OR on a scholarship/stipend. This link takes you to a list of English and Swedish titles at Umeå University.

Read more: List of titles

Employed versus 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/stipend, as the benefits vary significantly. At Umeå University a Postdoctoral fellow contract/agreement lasts for two years (full-time).

Below, you can find a summary of the differences between a Postdoctoral fellow with or without a scholarship/stipend.

Postdoctoral Fellow (scholarship holder)

Postdoctoral fellows (scholarship holder) are not employed by Umeå University and are thereby not obligated to pay taxes, which means that you do not have the rights or obligations of state employees in Sweden. The scholarship/stipend can be personal, and thereby directly linked to the individual from a private funding organisation, or come via the university. To clarify, a scholarship/stipend is not a salary, but keep in mind that you might still be entitled to some national health benefits just like every individual with a Swedish personal number and a valid visa/resident status living in Sweden.

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Postdoctoral fellow

Försäkringskassan

As described in the Rules for Scholarship holders at Umeå Univerisity (Rules for Scholarship holders at Umeå University (in Swedish) a Postdoctoral Fellow (scholarship holder) cannot be expected to perform "work". The PI can therefore not demand that the the scholarship holder participates on a particular day, i.e. if the scholarship holder is traveling, or is sick or is home to take care of a sick child.

In summary

  • Since taxes are not withdrawn from the stipends, unemployment benefits are not applied to scholarship holders after the scholarship/stipend ends.
  • In case of parental leave the stipend normally continues to be paid out (this can vary depending on research group, department and scholarship/stipend foundation)
  • During the time of official holidays you are encouraged to take the same amount of time off as employed postdocs (this can vary depending on research group, department and scholarship/stipend foundation)
  • In case of sick leave scholarship continues to be paid out in full extent.
  • You are allowed occasionally to contribute to teaching (not on regular basis).
  • Since taxes are not withdrawn from the stipends, pension scheme payments are not applied to scholarship/stipend holders.
  • You are eligible to apply for and get hired for 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

Legal framework documents at Umeå University
Click on "Human Resources, Equal Opportunities and Work Environment" and then "Rules for scholarships at Umeå University (Rule, FS 1.1-113.19)" to find the rules concerning scholarships.

Postdoctoral fellow

Postdoctoral fellows on a salary are employed by Umeå University and pay taxes, which means that you get all the rights and obligations that come with signing a contract as a state employee in Sweden. This means that you have the right to:

  • 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.
  • Benefits from the university (for ex. reimbursement for fitness and healthy expenses)

Reimbursement of medical expenses

Fitness reimbursement

Unemployment benefits

Since you have an employment you can also be entitled to unemployment benefits. However, unemployment benefits are NOT automatic. To be able to receive unemployment benefits at the end of your contract, you have to join A-kassan. To get benefits you must be a member and have had a membership for at least 12 months before the end of your employment.

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Click on Union membership and unemployment insurance on this site: When in Sweden

Unemployment benefits (a link via Karolinska Institutet – Postdoc Association)

Unemployment Benefits for EU citizen vs non-EU citizen

It is recommended that as an EU citizen, it is beneficial to join A-kassan, since you will hold a right to stay in Sweden at the end of your contract and can make use of unemployment benefits.

However, if you are a non-EU citizen without a permanent resident status (which can be obtained by applying at Migration's office after staying in Sweden for at least 4 years, regardless on scholarship/stipend or salary) you have to go back to your home country once your contract/visa expires.

There are some new rules emerging that allows you to apply for a residence permit in order to stay and apply for a new position. However, that only applies if you are deemed to have some type of financial funds/savings for that period. Also, when you are no longer eligible to stay in Sweden, you will NOT be eligible for any unemployment benefits.

Tax Benefits

If you haven't lived in Sweden in the last 5 years and you are not planning to stay longer than 5 years, you might be eligible for 'tax relief'. You have to apply within 3 months of your starting date. Note that, once you apply for tax relief, you will no longer be allowed to stay in Sweden after 5 years, no matter the circumstances around it. Also note that this can be a bit hard to get as a Postdoctoral fellow compared to perhaps a more senior researcher.

Taxation of Research Workers Board

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International Staff Support at Umeå University

SULF – PostDoc info

Being a Postdoc at Karolinska Institutet

PostDoc contact

Umeå University PostDoc association (UMPA)

umea.postdoctoral.association@gmail.com

Lena Åminne
1/27/2020