Published 2017-10-31

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Extended initiative to give more refugees research traineeships

The Mistra Refugee Programme is to be extended by one year. Accordingly, Mistra’s various research programmes can continue to apply for payroll grants to give refugees with an academic background trainee places in 2018 as well.

The Mistra Refugee Programme was initiated in autumn 2015, when the number of refugees arriving in Sweden was at a record level. The idea was for the initiative to be effective during 2016, but it was subsequently extended to include 2017 as well. Mistra’s Board has now extended the programme period by a further year. Accordingly, research programmes can apply for funding in 2018 too.

‘Several of the people in traineeships are still active in the programmes, and this gives them opportunities to get their trainee periods extended. But it also affords further scope for more programmes to apply for funding,’ says Mistra’s Programmes Director Thomas Nilsson.

Hoping for more interest

The purpose of the initiative was to give refugees with an academic background a chance to get traineeships or trial jobs in one of Mistra’s research programmes, in such a way as to benefit the research as well. But this has been harder than expected, Nilsson thinks. Of the SEK 4 million allocated — primarily for payroll subsidies — just under half has been disbursed to date.

‘We thought more programmes would apply for funding. But there have been difficulties, such as matching people at the Public Employment Service. That agency has been under extremely heavy pressure, and still is.’

According to Nilsson, the support has worked well for those who have received funds. Altogether, four people have been offered traineeships: two in Mistra Urban Futures, one in Mistra Biotech and one in AquaA|gri. In addition, Lund University’s International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) has received support for a project in which exiled Syrians have been brought together to prepare Syria’s reconstruction after the civil war.

Several new programmes started at the beginning of this year. They included Mistra Carbon Exit and Mistra Geopolitics. Nilsson would like to see these and other ongoing research programmes applying for funds to offer trainee places to new Swedish citizens.

‘Of course, we hope the funds provided will be beneficial.’