• Sweden edition
 

'Sweden treats foreign researchers unfairly'

Published: 14 Dec 2009 15:57 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Dec 2009 17:36 GMT+01:00

“The universities have proven themselves unable to manage the situation, so we think it’s time for the government to step in,” Lars Abrahamsson, chair of the doctoral candidates committee with the Swedish Association of University Teachers (SULF) told The Local.

Both SULF – a union which represents university researchers and lecturers – and Sweden’s association of student unions (Sveriges förenade studentkårer - SFS) are intensifying their demands for foreign researchers' equality following a report on the Sveriges Television (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag Granskning.

“We’re seeking a national debate on these issues and we are asking that institutes of higher learning actually fulfill their responsibilities and guarantee that doctoral candidates receive reasonable financing,” said Martin Dackling of SFS in a statement.

According to SVT, Swedish universities offer much more favourable employment conditions to most Swedish PhD candidates in comparison to those offered many researchers from other countries.

While Swedish doctoral candidates are often offered full time employment with a starting salary of around 23,000 kronor ($3,200) per month and full social benefits, foreign researchers are often forced to live on stipends averaging about half as much – and without access to the social benefits afforded other Swedish workers.

“In Sweden, equal competence and equal work should give equal compensation, both in terms of salary and social benefits,” Abrahamsson told The Local.

“What sort of picture of Sweden do we want to present to foreign researchers about our country?”

Abrahamsson explained that the workplace disparities facing foreign doctoral candidates have been known for a long time, but that the problem has become worse in recent years in tandem with an increase in the number of foreign researchers following the signing of bilateral exchange agreements with China and Pakistan.

The agreements call upon the PhD students’ home countries to provide stipends to support them for their time in Sweden, but the level of financing is often below expectations – and below the compensation offered to the foreign researchers’ Swedish counterparts.

“I don’t think people realize until they get to Sweden how limited their purchasing power really is,” said Abrahamsson.

Statistics from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskolverket – HSV) show that the number of foreign doctoral candidates in Sweden has more than doubled in the last ten years.

However, foreign researchers are still four times more likely than their Swedish counterparts to be living on a stipend, suggesting a double standard for the use of stipends to support researchers in Sweden.

“There is a clear tendency at institutes of higher education to reduce the use of stipends to finance studies in research programmes. At the same time, there are a number of stipends directed toward foreign applicants, which seems to suggest a trend in the opposite direction,” the higher education agency said in a report published in June 2009.

“Stipends contribute to an increase in the number of foreign doctoral candidates, but at the same time create different patterns for supporting oneself among foreign and Swedish doctoral candidates.”

While Abrahamsson is fully supportive of attempts by Sweden to increase international academic exchanges, he is concerned that the unfavourable working conditions offered to foreign researchers may have negative consequences over the long term.

“I’m worried this practice may damage Sweden’s reputation as a destination for researchers,” he said.

The teachers union wants the government to address the issue by changing rules governing Swedish universities, which would ensure that foreign researchers are guaranteed the same working conditions as their Swedish counterparts.

Ultimately, the group hopes that full time employment becomes the norm for all PhD candidates at Swedish universities, regardless of nationality.

Speaking with SVT, higher education minister Tobias Krantz admitted he was bothered by the disparities facing many of Sweden’s foreign PhD candidates, but deflected criticism by instead laying blame with the universities themselves and the countries which put up funding for the stipends.

“Universities must take responsibility,” he told SVT.

He also added that the government is sceptical of changing the rules governing stipends as it would likely result in talented researchers choosing to pursue their studies in other countries.

But Abrahamsson disagreed with the minister’s claims, explaining that the government should instead view the stipends offered by foreign education authorities as partial financing of full time employment.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” he said.

“It’s not that there is a shortage of funding; it’s more a question of priorities.”

Abrahamsson admitted that PhD students in the Nordic countries have it better than those in many other countries, as the region is one of few that treats budding researchers as full time employees.

However, in order to compete for research talent against countries like the United States and Britain, argues Abrahamsson, Sweden really has no choice.

“If we want to continue to attract high quality researchers, we’re going to have to offer them better conditions than they may get in other countries,” he said, emphasizing his group's desire that all doctoral candidates in Sweden be treated equally.

“Sometimes a small country has to provide a little something extra.”

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

17:50 December 14, 2009 by Nemesis
This situation has got significantly worse under the present government.
18:20 December 14, 2009 by mmalam
I totally agree with the above conversation. Moreover I would like to add something about social benefit for the foreign PhD students. Allthough I am employed as PhD student in the University and getting the same salary as my Swedish colleagues is earning but I am facing a lot trouble about social benefit. I am struggling to get Barnbidrag but still could not manage since I am foreign PhD student and I do not have work base residence permit. Regarding parental benefit, I had to fight for that and finally I am getting partial parental benefit not full. Even I am not getting European health Insurance card. If I talk with Försakringskassan, they said you have to have work base residence permit and contact with Migrationsverket. If I contact with Migrationsverket, they said that they you are doktorand, you are not allowed to apply for work base residence permit. If I contact with my employer i.e. Univerisity, they respond that you are employee as PhD student in the university. All the requirement we are fulfilling to apply for work base residance permit. Moreover I am paying taxes. Sweden Government is ready to give work base residance permit who works in Mac Donalds but does not want to give permit to foreign PhD students. If I pay tax for my work, If I can be employed in the University, if my employement meets all requirement to get work base residance permit why I am not eligible to apply for work base residance permit? I am trying to find the answer of this question quite a long time. Still searching in google to get the answer :)
20:39 December 14, 2009 by here for the summer
Seems to me that the question should be what is best for Sweden not what a student union or teachers union want. Students are not the same as residents. Students are temporary residents by definition.
21:09 December 14, 2009 by Tennin
What happens if they get too many people wanting to come here for their studies? What happens then???
21:10 December 14, 2009 by asim513
Quote from the article: "The agreements call upon the PhD students' home countries to provide stipends to support them for their time in Sweden"

So for this Sweden should not be blamed but the Home Country which is providing stipend.

I had a PhD offer from my university in Sweden and i was supposed to get the same amount as if some Swedish had that position. So to me system is totally FAIR.

But what "mmalam" commented above seems some real issue.
21:10 December 14, 2009 by fxrider
Its not just the phd, foreigners are here for there post doc and almost all of them work on stipend. Although there stipend is almost the same as what they would earn after tax, they don't get any social benefits due to the stipend. Also, stipend system is not so good for the local swedes as they don't get that position just because they need to be paid a taxable salary. Swedish government looses out on the tax. So overall its a loss for everyone except for the research leader who is actually paying the stipend as he saves the tax.

Psychologically its not that great for the foreigner working here as he might wonder if he is selected purely on the basis of tax savings.

A Phd student pays about 5000 sek tax/social benefits per month over a course of 5 years. Thats how much government looses per person everytime someone is hired on a stipend basis.
21:16 December 14, 2009 by omansour
I agree with #mmalm. I also should admit that I get the same salary and other social benefits, and in this there are no problems. But when it comes to work residence permits, the drama starts. Its a double-standard policy. If I am titled a "student" then why should I pay taxes! Its either a students or an employee. If I am an employee then I should get a work permit, once I finished my research the permit is automatically invalid and I decide whether to continue in Sweden or look for another opportunity after getting the Ph.D. But I guess the migrationsverket is aware that getting a work permit, according to Swedish law, might provide foreign Ph.D. students some benefits in the long term and thats why they refuse giving us work permits.

So the point is, if I am entitled as a student then why should I pay 31% taxes every month. If I need to pay taxes then I should be given a work permit, while If I am considered a student then I should not pay any taxes. I guess this is what applies to swedish students when they are doing their undergraduate studies. as they receive money from the government.

And for the knowledge, as Ph.D. candidates we do research through which universities receive fund, also we do teaching and administrative stuff. This is for some Swedes who may have problems with sharing our feelings as they may think that "those foreign students are coming getting high salaries than in their countries and they also complain!" In addition, I spend my salary here in Sweden, I pay for my apartment, buy clothes, food, have fun, etc....all from Sweden and IN Sweden

P.S. I left my job which was a higher a salary to get my Ph.D.
21:51 December 14, 2009 by peropaco
One does not need a PhD to earn 23,000 Kronor a month. A sales clerk working at Onoff earns more than that. Regarding the unfair treatments,oh well; my brother has an MBA both from MIT and Insead and could never land a job in this country. I think it would have been another story if we had a socially acceptable last name like Bengtzzon or Von-Svensson ;-)))
21:58 December 14, 2009 by mikky
@mmalam

I totally agree with you govt should provide employee status to 100% employed(tax payee) foreign doctoral students.I think government should separate unemployed/scholarship students from employed ones. It is unfair to mix 100% employed(tax payee) foreign doctoral students with scholarship students and unpaid students.

@tennin

Let them come.They are hardworking intelligent people if there is no job here then they will work in some part of the world and pay taxes here.They won't become social bed bugs.
22:09 December 14, 2009 by Localer
Reality check,

PhD student in other countries have paid for their PhD studies....but Sweden provides Phd Student stipend or salaries....and still complaining ?
22:18 December 14, 2009 by Legatus_Legionis
Hi

My experience is too bitter to say too much. But I wish to let you know that after a hard fought two-year fight with the wooden-heads at Försakringskassan I got them to cover my medical insurance, at least partially. If any of you wants to hear details that could use for himself write at c0sss at yahoo.com. I am an EU citizen. Unfortunately, I do not know if my strategy works for people from outside EU. I do think that this unfair system that treats researchers as second hand citizens (better say subhumans) has to be exposed. After all, Sweden is the best and the most...country in the world. And they sure have an excellent PR department.
23:25 December 14, 2009 by Iraniboy
@Localer

Those who pay their PhD studies are not as qualified as those who are hired in Swedish unis or are on scholarship in other countries.

I also think that the salary for the PhD students is fair and enough but I know what the consuqences of living on student visa while paying tax!!! This paradox should be resolved.
00:19 December 15, 2009 by ingvar
@Localer

In most countries PhD students are paid, at least in natural sciences. It's understandable since they do most of research routine.
00:43 December 15, 2009 by bim2
Hi all,

i have a question (can someone please clarify me from his personnel experience).

Are PhD Students (those who are Salaried employee from University) entitled to a-kassa?

Some context: I am a non-EU citizen with permanent resident visa in Sweden.

I tried to contact AEA (quite recently - a week ago), but they were not sure. One person said that you are a student, thus you can't join AEA/a-kassa. The other person said that since you are a salaried employee you can definitely join AEA. Can someone please guide me here.

Thanks alot,
00:51 December 15, 2009 by human on planet
a european student spends all his 23 000 sek immediately or even more. but a asian student spends only 3000 sek and send 20 000 thousand to home country. so it is good to give 30 000 to european phd student and 5000 sek for asian phd student. and no barnbidrag.

i saw some phd students having 5 children in sweden.

go and ask your mom(home country) if you want more.
01:09 December 15, 2009 by bim2
@human_on_planet,

Your logic really amuses me :), just because X doesn't want to spend more than Y, X should be paid less than Y. I believe its simple, .. if X and Y are working the same amount, they should be paid the same.

Don't tell me you are a PhD candidate as well :).

We Asians do so, because we have parents and family to take care of in our home countries. May be we are not as lucky as you to be born in a country (social welfare state) in which children don't have to care for their parents and family.

May be education isn't enough to understand differences among different cultures.
02:00 December 15, 2009 by human on planet
i just saw in svt about this uppdraggransking. it all about a man from pakistan. married and two children . swedish institute director is telling that there is seperate agreements between pakistan government and swedish universities.

the man from svt is not understanding what professors and rectors are saying.

those phds are not needed to sweden but to the home country. a phd candidate go to any country why did they come to sweden??????????.

its all about agreements. once accepted terms and conditions you should not complain. pakistan man is complaining and chineese man is happy with his stipend.
03:04 December 15, 2009 by mmalam
@ human on planet

We asian sent money for our parents due to family bonding we have and we strongly believe that it is our duty to take care of our parents. It is not like that we let our parents to go to Old home alone and find nobody around them at last stage of life.

Do you really believe that maintaining a family with 3000 SEK is possible in Sweden?

Me and my wife both are employed PhD student here and recently we got a daughter. This is our first daughter. You might have bitter experience with other asians. I should say all fingures in your hand are not equal.

Regarding Barnbidrag, I would give up if Sweden does not have law. But I believe as a tax payer it is my right to have it. Its not matter of money, its a matter of right. We both earn sufficiently enough (around 45000 SEK) to take care of my child without having a small amount of barnbidrag.

You have questioned about quality of PhD student. Each foreign PhD students usually interviewed several times before getting a position. We have to go through a very competitive situation to get a position here. If you have doubt about quality, then I have doubt about the interviewer i.e. Swedish Professors.

Having 5 children is not sin. Any swedish family doesnt have 5 children?

A potential PhD candidate can go anywhere in the world, but my questions to you why Swedish Universities are taking foreign PhD student. Usually people want have something what is lack in him.

Terms and condition are made for human on planet. It can be changed for the betterment of life.

@ Bim 2

If you have permananent residence and employed in university as PhD student, you can have AEA/A-Kassa. I am quite clear about that.
06:04 December 15, 2009 by human on planet
@ mmalam

barnbidrag is the collective investment on children who are going to be future tax payers.it is not for the children who are going to stay here temporarily for some years and move back to home country.already barn bidrag is diluted by immigrants.

swedish universities are offering phd´s to certain specific countries to help. those people are told well before everything rules and regulations about pay.

the svt has catch the cheap point to make one programme.

minister for research education told in that programme that´"we can stop offering phd s to outsiders but we dont want that and we dont have enough money so we are going in the middle way giving opportunity and stipend and they are also funded from the home country. this funding from the home country and obligation to return back is accepted by that pakistan man.
08:42 December 15, 2009 by sethking
@ human on planet

I'm a Asian phd student in sweden. The phd system is quite different from other countries in both better side and worse side. In UK or US, student receives phd scholarship is not entitled to social benefit, because they don't pay tax. But here in Sweden, I pay 31% tax from the phd stipend, which should be sufficient to get the same social benefit as swedish students. The considering your statement of "barnbidrag is the collective investment on children who are going to be future tax payers" , I have to say all the children are already tax payers, because all the stuff they need contains 15%-20% consuming tax. In other EU countries and US, parents can get tax reduction, which is termed as "barnbidrag" in Sweden. Perhaps, swedes can also get tax reduction along with "barnbidrag"? I have no idea. I'm neither greedy to Swedish social benefit, nor satisfied with phd stipend, even it's the same at our department. I'm not happy with the price in the store. But, it's overall ok if it is the Swedish way. However, If I got less than Swedes but doing the same work and paying same tax, which means the same amount of CONTRIBUTION to this country, then I will have every reason to be angry. I guess then, you wonder "why did you come to sweden, if you think you can go to any other country?" I have to say, before I came, sweden did give me illusion. But now, I can tell you that I will leave just after graduation. Don't you understand? This is what states in the original article: "If we want to continue to attract high quality researchers, we're going to have to offer them better conditions than they may get in other countries". Haven't you seen over 30% names on the best scientific journals are asian names, and most of them are working in the US and UK. This is not the crisis to high quality researchers, since they will leave. It's the crisis to sweden, because it has paid a lot to those phd and posdoc, and educates them to become scientists, but eventually lose them. Don't you see where is the gain and loss?
09:01 December 15, 2009 by big_daddy
@sethking & @mmalam

I feel sorry for you guys for your candid approach to convince @human on planet, this stu*** A** about your agonies on this paradoxical issue. Dont you know whatever/however you tell/describe will be lie and nothing but lie/bullshit. Preaching a stu** is nothing but wastage of time.

@human on planet: You are really a croo**ed psyc**...distorting the logic...quoting false/fabricated statements...I wont spend time preaching you by logic but I am ready to do so by some other means.
10:04 December 15, 2009 by graceice
Why couldn't foreign students or researchers receive the same salary as Swedish? They contribute the same as even more than Swedish students to the labs. If you say all in Sweden have equal opportunities, I don't agree, I can't see that kind of equality. Now the bosses in labs prefer to hire foreign countries especially whose home countries will pay the stipend, they want to save money to buy Mac for themselves! Funny? Since mentioned China and Pakistan governments pay stipend for their students to study in Sweden, but this is only for recent two or three years. The governments didn't know the truth in Sweden. If this situation is going on, their governments won't pay that money. If the China and Pakistan governments pay the same to their students, why don't they send the students to USA, in USA the students will also perform good research but better life quality.
10:06 December 15, 2009 by big_daddy
@sethking

To further reinstate your argument: A big chunk of the Ph.D. funds come from EU/non EU/International bodys (i.e. Int. Atomic Agency etc.) for scientific (experimental) research. The ignorants are requested to surf the wabe page of the concerned instititues to verify the statements. So, when its said that the Swedish Tax Payers money is spent on funding the foreign students (Ph.D.), its mostly overstated and basically not true at all in some specific cases. Why the Foreign Students are recruited then? Please ask the concerned Professors to get the answers.
10:38 December 15, 2009 by Beynch
It is easy to tink that this is yet another spurious, but concerted and organized, effort to alter the Swedish society. Some elements have gone so far in taking over the very fabric of Swedish society that in this final spurt, they use the threat and shrieks of discrimination, and inequality, justified or not, to achieve their ends in societal revolution. "International academic exchange" is but a euphemism for a cultural redirection where Swedish researchers will be degraded to an inferior level, in favor of a more "diverse" academic standard. Let's indeed have a national debate on these issues as Dackling says. An honest debate of all the issues!
10:58 December 15, 2009 by skatsouf
"Why the Foreign Students are recruited then? Please ask the concerned Professors to get the answers"?

good question.

here is the answer : 50% PR (projects in thailand, china, etc.) 50% competences
11:54 December 15, 2009 by sethking
@big_daddy

You are correct that large amount phd fund are from outside of sweden. But when you are concerning about the phd fund, which is really a small proportion of scientific research. Taking biomedical research for example, one student consumes at least twice the mount of stipend for experiments per month. 20mg enzyme can be easily more than 5000 kr. Obviously, these money are mostly from sweden itself. Swedish tax payer is spending over one or two million each year to support one foreign phd student or posdoc to boost into their scientific career, but repel them to contribute to other countries when they are mature, just for saving 10k or 20k social benefit expenditure. How ridiculous it is!

And personally, what did you eat this morning??
12:11 December 15, 2009 by Princess P
Obviously not.

My husband's phd student and all the costs involved is funded by private sector investment.
12:13 December 15, 2009 by rayiss
Guys, if you like to make a constructive point, you should stop answering to stupid racist comments!

A person prIvate life is PRIVATE, if u have 1 or 1000 kid, spend your money on fancy cloth or help you family. I dont have kids, i spend my money on fancy cloth and partying, Am not EU-member, but i still have the right to get all benefit if i pay tax!!! Who said that a swedish PhD should get benefit because his kids will live in Sweden? Is he sure he will live in Sweden??? People we are PhDs, we folow our job offers!!!

From my experience with PhD work, (i was accepted for PhD in USA, Swiss, and Sweden fully employed in all), it differes from country to other. For exemple in Italy they are payed so bad, and some time Non. In Swiss they are over-payed. Sweden is on of the country that pay well its Doktorand, no argue on that. If some students are payed less, it is their problem, because all information about research studies is published on web, and any person, certainly a smart ''PhD'', should have checked the conditions of work in a country before he apply or accept an offer.

The main problem in my opinion is student or worker??--- STUDENT VISA OR WORK PERMIT???

I am a Doktorand , who is well payed, because my research is over funded by Companies... My research is highly contributing to the stat-of-art Companies research and mainly development... In other sense, every work i do, university, company, funders have benefit from... In addition, by law we all should teach 20%...which mean university get benefit.... Finaly, as all of you i pay 25.5% tax (which by z way change between a city and other)...

All the above are enough conditions for me to be considered as employee and not as student.

If the goverment like to consider me as student then two solutions:

-tax reduction (a maximum of 10%)

-tax repayment up to 70% when i leave Sweden (In case i will leave). This is done in Swiss!

Most issues from having student visa, In my case, after doing my master in sweden, my phd in sweden, after living 8 years in sweden, am still student, with no benefit from AEA or A-kassa as i will have to leave sweden when my contract end because my visa will end (i can register and pay for AEA but it is a gambling)... Stress in private life as my status is not clear!

From my opinion, Sweden is a good place for research and they treat their foreign researchers well. There is always some racism and unequality here and there, but this is normal and exist in any other country.

I choosed Sweden after i considered all the life aspect. However, if the government give change our status from student visa to work permit, it would be more fair with us, and take out lot of stress that influence our work and research. Cetainly as we participate in teaching the next generations of students in Sweden!

Regards to All\
12:37 December 15, 2009 by here for the summer
what does fair really mean in this context? If Sweden was having trouble recruiting qualified PHD researches then they would have to raise the pay. This is not the case. What they have is the case where people have come as temporary students but now want social benefits and probably residency. The same happens in US and other European countries. Lower standard of living country students want to become residents but they can't as students or researchers. To do that they have to apply to immigration like everyone else.

BTW:

PHD researchers don't get medical in the US they have to buy private insurance to get medical.
15:25 December 15, 2009 by rayiss
@ 'here for the summer'

''PHD researchers don't get medical in the US they have to buy private insurance to get medical.'' For you knowledge everyone in US should pay for medical insurance other wise you get a crapy help.

For you knowledge:

An average PhD student salary in US is 1800$, average tax to pay (change with stats) 17.5%

France Average PhD student salary is 1700Euros with an average tax of 12.8% and after the work is finished (which is 3 years on average not ''5'', PhD are allowed to apply for permanent residence)

Swiss Average PhD student salary of 3000Euro, similar tax as in Sweden, but you get back up to 70% when you leave!

.

I am Canadian, with ''BETTER STANDARD OF LIVING'', and still as long as i pay high tax, i reclame my right!

People work to progress, improve and reach better life conditions, not the opposite...

Catch the train, it's winter time, Summer is over!
15:27 December 15, 2009 by KBIS26
I think swedish should be more careful about it's reputation and take this in consideration !
16:56 December 15, 2009 by SaxSymbol73
First, I am a non-EU citizen and have struggled with many issues as a 'shadow' PhD student, in regards both to my employment and to my immigration status. I come from a Western country and have a Scandinavian last name, so the discrimination I have received is not based on my ethnicity. And yes, I have been discriminated against.

The real issue is that these student on stipends are *not* being paid by Swedish universities, but rather there own countries. Many of these are Chinese of Pakistani, due to the various agreements with between Sweden and these countries.

But saying that they aren't getting paid enough is *NOT* a Swedish problem, but one with their home countries. Why is it Sweden's responsibility to make certain they make the same wage as a doktorandtjänst? That's like complaining that when I go to Paris and don't have enough money that the French should give me some. It is patently absurd.

Equal pay for equal work is a fine idea, and I agree that *if you are an employee* you entitled to the same rights and benefits as all others. *No one* has shown that students from other countries who are offered doktorandtjänst positions are being paid less than Swedish students--a clear case of discrimination.

I felt terrible watching the Pakistani researcher who was trying to support his wife and two small children on 9500/SEK month.. But he needs to take up this issue with his employer who is the Pakistani government and not complain about the opportunity that Sweden has offered him.

By providing him a top notch research environment to work in and a safe society for his family to live in, what more should be expected of Sweden? To make up the difference between the poor salary his country is giving him? That would be the height of absurdity. But given how this debate has been framed and discussed, I fear that's what will happen.
17:15 December 15, 2009 by Iraniboy
@ human on planet

All humans are the same. Nobody likes to spend less. You're not in position to say who deserves how much. So keep your subhuman racist views for yourself.
19:07 December 15, 2009 by skatty
But this kind of discrimination in job market is not just for foreign researchers; it's generally for all higher educated foreigner, even they who complicated their education in Sweden from beginning. The problem in general, is rooted to the whole Swedish social institution and their dogmatic, stereotype vision to foreigners and their participation as a dynamic group.
20:24 December 15, 2009 by mikky
I see this as a 'modern slavery'

I think it is time to make a union of foreign phd students in sweden and unanimously represent concerns to the govt.

Someone should take an initiative now otherwise it will be never
20:46 December 15, 2009 by here for the summer
@iraniboy

I reread what human on the planet said .. nothing racist at all .

@rayiss

"reclaim my right:" this is not a Canadian saying .. I'm back in the us ... now for the winter .. still care what happens in Sweden

This is supply and demand .. move where you get the best deal but don't complain about the generosity of where you are given opportunity be it the US or Sweden or Canada
21:44 December 15, 2009 by seymourir
It seems to me we are ignoring another fact when it comes to PhD studies in Sweden. In my experience, the selection procedure does not seem to be fair: the foreign students have less chance to get accepted comparing to Swedish students. Care should be taken to make sure the selection procedure is fair and that all the applicants are considered equally while giving priorities to higher qualified applicants.

I have been doing my PhD in Spain but staying in Sweden and have been able to combine work with studies: it has not been easy, but it worths it.

One more issue: I am sure, one can do a PhD with much less than the stipend the Swedish universities pay. I wish I had 1/4 of the money!
21:59 December 15, 2009 by Iraniboy
@here for the summer

Considering your agreement with him, I'm not suprised at all.

Saying 'this ethnic should get this amount and other should get that' is inevitably racist.
22:29 December 15, 2009 by here for the summer
Although that is the net effect it is not due to Sweden nor what human was saying.

The pay for sponsored researchers comes from their country. Their governments decide what they will pay to sponsor them. So if you come from Saudi you might get much more from your rich government than if you come from a poorer country. But even that is not assured to be true. So forget the non sense about calling everyone a racist . There are true racists and you should call them out but to call everyone that says anything that you disagree with a racist diminishes the value of the term.
23:36 December 15, 2009 by particle
i am son of this beautiful land of sweden.

my beautiful mother land which only grows beautiful flowers and trees.

then why people who live on this mother land have grown plants of poision and hate just becauase my hair and skin color is different than some of them.

my mother land my heart is broken

my mother land i know you cry too silently in dark nights

but i promise you my mother land that i will not teach your grand children (my children) to grow poision trees in their hearts for others...
01:51 December 16, 2009 by Hedley
Ok, mr planet guy IS NOT RACIST, just xenophobe!

Well, I wish to do a PhD here, but I do not know where to get an application.

Well, everybody talks about money, but money per se is not an important thing... the most important stuff is the stuff you do with money. Stupid people do not understand that a night in a 5 star hotel in China could cost 300-400 kr, so with

10 000kr you would be living in a 5 star hotel according to they local government. So money is something relative, and governments do not give enough for every month in a 5 star hotel.
13:32 December 16, 2009 by Iraniboy
@here for the summer

Now you changed the topic!! I didn't argue who fund them and I have no argument about how much these PhD students get. The fact that he devided PhD students according to ethnical backgrounds rather than their nationality is inevitably racist. Truth hurts but that's the way it is. I disagree with those who say these fund is low for foregeners but I don't call them racists because it's not. Racism has its own definition and I can't change I didn't call everyone racist nor I called racist those who disagree with me.

You should be ashamed of yourself for the baseless accusations against me unless you're ready to prove it.
18:29 December 16, 2009 by xykat
I have a friend who had a social working degree from California. She wanted to work with the same thing in Sweden and go ahead and get her masters. She was FORCED to take some of her classes over again and they even had the exact SAME BOOKS in these classes. What a profound waste of time and money! These places could have been used by other people if they had accepted her points.

I am so happy that the LOCAL is one voice that actually exists in Sweden and notes these things for the world to see while other Swedish papers never complain or even notice these things because Sweden wants to keep up its squeaky clean image of being fair to everyone. Sweden is a good country but things are not perfect and improvements can always be made. We just need to get the Swedes to admit to this then real change can happen! America isn't perfect either but at least we can admit our failings.
23:01 December 16, 2009 by sometimetoquestion
"We just need to get the Swedes to admit to this then real change can happen! America isn't perfect either but at least we can admit our failings." xykat

Wonderfully said now that thought needs to be embodied and present its case at the national level to the parliament and if not directly to the government in place and the liable ministries for upkeeping the status quo at the taxpayers expense (both foriegn and swedish nationals / citizens)

Our main obstacle then will be the "ansvarsförskjutning" literally responsabilitypushingaway! The system here is sooooo malign and us citizens encouraged to self apathize ourselves with vanity and "individual / personallife".

Domestication of human beings has been mastered in sweden from the best insights internationally on the small country it is. This does serve unfortunstly every citizens interests since politics is a part time hobby!

Selfrightousness cannot deliver the humility needed to accept fault. And the grief and selfdenial will just move from one generation to the next, ensure sooner and more ghastly death to those not yet born.

Worthlessness today ensures worthlessness tomorrow when we do not own up our shortcomings and reframe accoedingly no matter what it costs.

Blessup

/STTQ
20:10 December 17, 2009 by LEO82
I am getting a scholarship of 1200$ /month from Pakistan which is too less as compared to what is paid to PhD employee here (3200$). It is not sufficient for my family and I am using up all my savings to have a good life here. As far as competency is concerned, I was able to submit two research articles for international journals during my first year and showed very good performance in all the courses. Now I have decided that I can't survive with this money for long and I am starting to consider other opportunities and leave for good.
14:15 December 18, 2009 by josh gura
you get what you pay for.
17:52 December 23, 2009 by DamnImmigrant
From the article:

"The agreements call upon the PhD students’ home countries to provide stipends to support them for their time in Sweden, but the level of financing is often below expectations"

Would not the answer be to define an EXACT amount that is to be provided by the home country?

I think it is stupid that people come here to study and expect the Swedish citizens to pay!!!

If there is no private funding and the home countries refuse to provide a livable stipend, then YES, students from those countries should be barred from coming to Sweden!
15:00 December 31, 2009 by joyce4real
It has been nice following all these postings with regards to the subject. It is good and ok if Sweden decide to charge fee,it is a matter of choice as to were to seek higher degree. This in principle would put an end to the notation that foreign students fed on Swedish tax payers money.

But the issue of maltreatment of PhD students even when they have funding from their home countries by some supervisors still remains within some Swedish universities. This act has been made possible in part due to the fact that few of those tutors in question sees themselves has being unquestionable by the system which is true. A lot of higly talented PhD candidates has been a victim of this unholy act.
10:14 January 5, 2010 by Puffin
I think that situation for PhDs is different than for other students - in Sweden the PhDs are much more junior lecturers than students. In many departments the PhDs carry the bulk of undergraduate teaching and even supervise bachelor and masters dissertations. Many PhDs spent the first year or 2 on stipends but for Swedish students there is a minimum of around 15K per month - whereas there are stories of overseas students on less than half of this and in some cases - nothing.

I think that it is up to the departments to supervise this much more closely and take the issues more seriously. We have all heard about those professors who lie to oversees students to basically get them to come to Sweden and act as unpaid researchers often with the 'promise' of a PhD place that somehow never occurs. Then these student are shipped home when they start asking questions and a new batch are shipped in
Today's headlines
Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Search for foreign vessel continues off Stockholm
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Search for foreign vessel continues off Stockholm

Sweden's armed forces were continuing to search for the cause of apparent "foreign underwater activity" in the Stockholm Archipelago on Monday. But the military denied news agency reports that they had imposed an exclusion zone. READ  

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Sweden hit by two Ebola false alarms in two days
The Uppsala University Hospital. Photo: TT

Sweden hit by two Ebola false alarms in two days

UPDATED: A patient has been cleared of any Ebola suspicions at the Uppsala University Hospital. It marks the second suspected case in Sweden in two days. READ  

Perspective: ‘Russian sub’ alert
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The HMS Stockholm patrols Jungfrufjärden in the Stockholm archipelago on Monday morning. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters

With Sweden engaged in its biggest domestic military operation since the Cold War, The Local spoke to Johan Wiktorin, a fellow at the Swedish Royal Academy of War Sciences, to get insight into what’s going on in the Stockholm archipelago. READ  

My Swedish Career
US woman starts up Swedish toy store online
Leigh Neil and a llama hand puppet. Photo: Private

US woman starts up Swedish toy store online

For this week's My Swedish Career we meet Leigh Neil, who one day came to realize that there was a gap in the Swedish market for children's toys and decided to do something about it. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
No truth to Russia's submarine claim: Dutch
A CB90-class fast assault craft at Kullbäling, a small island in Stockholm's archipelago. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

No truth to Russia's submarine claim: Dutch

The Netherlands on Monday denied a Russian claim that a mystery vessel the Swedish military has been looking for could be Dutch. READ  

Lufthansa Strike
Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike
Grounded Lufthansa planes. Photo: TT

Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike

A strike by pilots at German airline Lufthansa will affect over 20 flights in and out of Sweden over the next two days. READ  

National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Photo: Shutterstock

Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars

A dentist in western Sweden is offering free dental care to his town's Roma begging population. READ  

Business & Money
Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts
Photo: TT

Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts

Swedish electrical appliance maker Electrolux reported its third-quarter net profit soared 42 percent to 933 million kronor ($130 million) thanks to a cost-cutting programme started at the end of last year. READ  

National
School photographer fired for homophobic slur
Photo credit: Shutterstock

School photographer fired for homophobic slur

A photographer at a high school in southern Sweden was sacked after he called one of the students a "fag" during a shoot. READ  

Ebola crisis
Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

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A male passenger who landed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport has been transferred to an isolation unit amid fears he may be suffering from the Ebola virus. But a specialist was keen to play down concerns. READ  

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