Automatgenererad bild.

14 March 2016

Mistra supports newly arrived graduates

The great number of refugees who have come to Sweden in the past few years has now inspired Mistra to act. Those with some form of academic background are now being offered trainee positions on the research programmes funded by the Foundation.

When Mistra’s Board met in December last year, refugees were a hot topic and plans for a programme focusing on geopolitics, which can include migration issues, already existed.

‘This was generally felt to be an important initiative, but not one that could help deal with the acute situation Sweden currently faces. The Board therefore wanted to do something else as well, with an impact here and now,’ says Mistra’s Programmes Director Thomas Nilsson.

The idea adopted is to offer, to refugees who have some sort of academic background but are not yet established on the Swedish labour market, an opportunity of getting work practice in Mistra’s ongoing research programmes, within — or in close association with — existing research centres.

Assisting in supervision

Mistra’s programmes and centres can now start looking for suitable people. There is no exact requirement profile except that, to be considered, they must have an academic background and should be taking part in the Public Employment Service’s establishment programme for migrants. Joining this programme gives them the right to maintenance support from the Social Insurance Agency. Mistra will cover supervision and other costs of looking after the trainees.

At present, it is impossible to judge how many people will be offered trainee positions.

‘Perhaps we can’t expect to find highly qualified professors among the refugees, but we know that many of those arriving now have education or vocational experience that may be interesting for the programmes.’

Mutual benefit

The idea is that the initiative will benefit both parties. The gain for those offered traineeships is a chance to show what they can do and thereby get established faster in Swedish society.

‘We haven’t received any applications yet. But lots of inquiries have come in from the programme managers, and I know several of them are looking for suitable people. Each programme will decide for itself who to take. If they find anyone with the right qualifications, all they need do is submit a simple application and we’ll approve the funding,’ Nilsson says

Mistra is also open to discussing other types of support for graduates seeking a refuge or located in high-risk areas. This could mean funding, for example, fellowships for researchers who need a sanctuary in Sweden, or activities for newcomers pending residence-permit decisions. But it must all happen within the scope of Mistra-funded programmes or centres.

Text: Per Westergård

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