Doctoral students to be guaranteed job security
The government will improve working conditions for doctoral students, says Education Minister Jan Björklund. Lack of job security and poor social safety nets for researchers have been criticised, he acknowledges in an interview with Swedish Radio.
An employment guarantee earlier in their studies is one way to protect them, he says.
"We want to attract talented people in their late 20s and 30s to go into research," says Björklund.
"Many of them are in a time of life when they want to start families and then these conditions are seen as too insecure."
A third of PhD students who abandon their research do so because of private reasons, according to a report from the National Agency for Higher Education.
Today's rules state that students should be given employment when they are two years into their four-year doctoral programme.
From 2013, the government will now guarantee employment at the end of the first year instead.
The right to return after being on leave, for example after parental leave, will also be secured.
But the government is not going far enough, says Petter Hammar, chairperson of the PhD students chapter of the National Union of Students (SFS).
"Doctoral students should be employed from day one," he says.
SFS also wants stipends and grants to be replaced by salaries.