Giving priority to postdocs

Anna Vallgårda has been employed as a two year postdoc at the Swedish School of Textiles. She got her PhD in Interaction Design at the IT University in Copenhagen.

How would you describe your job at the university?

- The job is divided between teaching and research, twenty per cent of the former and eighty per cent of the latter. I’ve also worked as a director of studies at our new PhD school in artistic research. I’ve taught PhD courses and a master’s course. In research I have worked with projects for Smart Textile Design.

What advantages are there to your job?

- One advantage is definitely that you have a lot of time to do research without being excluded from what goes on at the school. I wouldn’t have wanted a job with no teaching at all, but I really appreciate the time I have to indulge in my field.

- The only thing that hasn’t been optimal is that I’ve only been hired a year at a time. Usually, a postdoc is for two years. The extra year matters when you’re planning your time and what projects you have time for, especially when it comes to empirical work.

Do you use your position to network outside the university?

- I have been focused on what goes on in-house, as I came from outside. Of course I’ve extended my network through conferences and project applications. Networking is important to me and to help new PhD students get external contacts.

Anita Pettersson has a two year postdoc at the School of Engineering. She got her PhD in Combustion Technology at Chalmers University of Technology.

How would you describe your job at the university?

- It is mainly about doing research. Apart from research I teach to master’s students and supervise their theses.

What advantages are there to your job?

- It is an amazing opportunity to do research! My project was initially about setting up a research lab, but now I’m also heading a project about co-combustion of animal waste within the framework of the Waste Refinery project.

Do you use your position to network outside the university?

- Networking is a natural part of my job. Being part of research projects means meeting other people who might be interested in the subject. In addition, I try to stay updated by going to research meetings. I’ll be heading to Norway soon, for a conference with other European researchers.

Elisabeth Persson has a position as a postdoc at the School of Education for two years. She got her PhD at Stockholm University in 2009, with a thesis about the education of future teachers in maths,  and their first year on the job.

How would you describe your job at the university?

- My job is eighty per cent research and twenty per cent clerical duties. The latter usually means teaching and supervision, but also that I am part of an council that advises a prefect in charge of basic level education.

What advantages are there to your job?

- During the first year I had the privilege of starting and carrying out the data collection for the research project ‘Inclusion for target achievement.’ Within the framework of the project I have been given an active role in applying for research funds from external financiers.

- Writing articles and other publications is an important part of the postdoc duty, and a second year gives me better opportunities to do just that. That is important as it often takes a while to get articles scrutinised and published, especially in international publications. Taking part in and presenting research results at national and international conferences is also part of the job.

Do you use your position to network outside the university?

- During my first year I was part of the supervisor training programme for PhDs that was held by Centre for Learning and Teaching at the university. I am a teacher representative in the Teacher Training Committee until January of 2012, when the Committee will be abolished.

- The job has given me the opportunity to build a new network in research. At the same time it has meant that I’ve been able to stay part of the mathematics didactics and didactic design networks that I’ve been involved with since I was a PhD student at Stockholm University.

- For me, getting a postdoc is been an amazing opportunity. It means that I can do research and collect data that will generate publications for a long, long time.”

Postdocs that are part of the new priorities

Jenny Johannisson, Helena Francke, Johan Löfhede, Anita Pettersson, Sung Wo Choo, Anna Vallgårda, Lena Berglin, Torbjörn Ljungqvist, Anita Eriksson, Peter Erlandssson, Elisabeth Persson, Catarina Björk Brämberg and Helen Elden.

Facts: A postdoc both teaches and does research. In order to get a position as a postdoc, a PhD is required. When applying, the presentation and PhD degree must be no longer than one year into the future. A postdoc usually has his or her degree from another seat of learning.