In some cases, higher education institutions are able to accept applicants with scholarship funding on their doctoral programmes. In order for this to be permitted, the institution needs to be able to see that the funding can be secured throughout the programme and that the applicant can devote so much of his or her time to the education that it can be completed on time. Unfortunately, scholarships are sometimes also used for postdoc positions. Nowadays, scholarships for doctoral candidate positions can normally only be used for one year. After that, the doctoral candidate is to be offered employment as a doctoral candidate. However, in the case of overseas aid or capacity-building programmes or for certain EU projects, scholarships may be used for more than a year. For the period that the doctoral candidate is studying in Sweden, the scholarship amount is to correspond to the salary of an employed doctoral candidate after tax.
Government funding, (for example, grants paid directly to the higher education institution or funding from a state research council), may not be used for scholarships intended for the financing of doctoral studies.
No social security benefits at state sector HEIs, but there is insurance
Scholarships do not entitle the recipient to receive social security benefits. Since scholarship financing is not a form of employment, you are not entitled to receive work-based benefits such as sickness benefit or parental benefit from the Swedish social insurance system unless you have a protected SGI (sickness benefit qualifying income from a previous job). Nor are you entitled to collective agreement-based benefits such as supplementary parental benefit, reimbursement for medicine costs and so on. Problems therefore occur in the event of long-term illness or parental leave.
The state higher education institutions are, however, obliged to take out insurance for doctoral candidates on scholarships through Kammarkollegiet, the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency. This insurance covers loss of income during sick leave or parental leave. They must also insure all doctoral candidates against personal injury in connection with the studies.
For more information, visit Kammarkollegiet’s website:
Health and parental insurance for doctoral students with stipends.
Personal injury insurance for university students in Sweden.
In addition to the above, SULF recommends that you take out insurance to cover accidents outside the workplace. We have a collaboration with the insurance company Folksam, which offers discounted insurance for SULF members. You can also buy other types of insurance from Folksam, such as life, health and child insurance. For more information, visit Folksam’s website.
In general, SULF believes that scholarships should not be used as an alternative to employing doctoral candidates and postdocs.
Study grants for doctoral studies
Study grants can be provided for doctoral programmes, but only up to a maximum of 12 terms, including undergraduate education. Study grants cannot be awarded to any doctoral candidate who has been employed as a doctoral candidate.
Consequences of study grants for doctoral programmes
In general, SULF believes that study grants should not be used to fund doctoral studies.