Career Skills for Scientists

This Tuesday afternoon it is very quiet at the Career service office at Karolinska Institutet, only the sound of keys tapping in the computers. Emma is working hard on updating all web pages and moving information to our new web portal. Kerstin is busy following up all contacts made with companies that want to offer internship projects to our PhD students admitted in the Career skills for scientist course. Anethe is writing her first blog post and at the same time emailing coordinators and planning the coming on site career workshops at MUHAS, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Convincing the Board of doctoral education to support internships

It all started 2010, when we conveyed the present dean of board of doctoral education to support and fund internship placement for our PhD students. The dean gave us support to the programme with the condition that we also created a doctoral course that would highlight all the transferable skills that a graduate will gain after obtaining a PhD degree. Thus we went back to the office and created the doctoral course “Career skills for scientist” (1.5 higher education credits equate to one week’s full-time studies) in collaboration with the unit for bioentrepreneurship.

This course focuses on identifying transferable skills (eg Communicating, presenting, writing, team work, and project management) developed during a PhD education, the importance of networking as well as an introduction to entrepreneurial tools. After the course the participants can apply for a one month internship project. We are happy to announce that the current board has increased the budget with 65% (from 12 to 20 projects) this year of 2017.

Challenging the PhD students to network

The participants in the course are assigned to write two career portraits of two people with a PhD awarded at least five years ago. One portrait should be with a traditional academic career and the other with a career trajectory outside academia. For some perhaps more introvert students this is a challenging assignment where they have to network and start asking career questions.

To many students this is a great challenge they happily accept and dare themselves to pick up the phone and call the Nobel laureate or CEO of their dream company. This assignment has resulted in more than 360 career portraits written by postgraduate students.  In 2015 Career Service made a selection of the portraits and published the career magazine “A PhD can take you anywhere”.

Career service has the mission to support professional career development for a future career within or outside academia. The demand to get new knowledge and experience from the industry or governmental bodies is very high amongst our PhD students, postdocs and early career researchers.

On Wednesday February 1st we will start the seventh edition of the Career skills for scientist” course with 40 admitted participants. We are looking forward to meeting all the enthusiastic PhD students and invited lecturers.

Anethe Mansén / Career service




Rossana Pettersén

Rossana Pettersén

Once, a famous surgeon told me "If you want to be good you have to learn from the best" and this is exactly the feeling one gets when reading through the Career portrait magazine. What a great opportunity for these PhD students! Great work!

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