The academic career path at KTH
Internal instructions No 1/2010
Valid from 2010-01-01
Recruitment and development of KTH faculty is based upon specific goals and guidelines.
The first of these is that KTH will strive to recruit young persons with strong potential for development and offer these persons good prospects for long-term career development. This also includes offering competitive terms of employment.
Secondly, the focus for faculty development is on excellent research and teaching, with increasing importance given to research in larger environments focused on strategic research areas. For example, this may involve research in a large, co-ordinated project or an environment which enables an ambitious schedule of seminars. At KTH, this finds expression, among other things, via the research being organised into strategic areas taking a common responsibility for a broad area of research and development, while at the same time giving a creative environment and needed space in which to develop for the individual researchers. Such a group needs persons with different competencies and interests.
Thirdly, it is of crucial significance to the university that its research areas are continuously being updated and renewed. One precondition for attaining this is for faculty members to be allowed self dependence and be given their own responsibilities quite early. This is necessary in order for them to develop into excellent researchers with the ability to create their own research challenges and start new directions in research.
It is also of the utmost importance that KTH's teaching be of good quality and that the content of the instruction be continuously changed and developed, both to reflect relevant research as well as new requirements that the labour market imposes on graduates from KTH. It thus is an important fundamental principle that all faculty members following the academic career path at KTH be engaged in research as well as teaching. In order to raise the quality of the teaching, KTH invests in training in teaching and learning in higher education for its entire faculty.
In addition to persons in the academic career path of assistant professor (followed by tenure), associate professor and professor, KTH also needs highly qualified specialists of different types. This may involve project research, development and management of advanced equipment, enterprises of a developmental nature or advanced administrative research support. This category of specialists is a very important and valuable complement to long-term motivated education and research activity.
At the same time, KTH also needs employees who are primarily focused on teaching. This could involve occupation-oriented extension or supplemental education, contracted education or educational development and program development.
In order to renew the faculty and retain excellent teachers and researchers, KTH develops clear leadership on all levels. Active and far-sighted equal opportunity work is included in this work. The purpose of the equal opportunity work is to create equal career conditions for everyone on the faculty, which also contributes to KTH becoming a more attractive place for both men and women to study and work. A deficiency in equal opportunity means that KTH is not making use of the full potential of its faculty.
KTH's academic career path
The academic career after the doctoral exam usually starts with a period, usually two years, as a post-doctor. A post-doctor undertakes both research and teaching. In order to be able to assume a position as a post-doctor, a doctorate is required. Applications can be submitted up to one year prior to the defence of the doctoral thesis. A post-doctor at KTH normally does not have a Ph.D. from KTH. For KTH, one purpose of the post-doctor position is to be able to attract young researchers with experiences from other places, which enriches the environment at KTH. During this period, young researchers are expected to make contacts and build up their own networks. It is of crucial significance that KTH be able to attract excellent young researchers as post-doctors.
For those with newly awarded Ph.D.s from KTH who wish to continue in an academic career, it is important to complete a period as a post-doctor at a different national or international university. In application-oriented areas, experience from industry can be equally as valuable as a traditional post-doctoral residency at another university.
Job duties for post-doctor
May contribute actively to education at all educational levels (undergraduate, Masters and Ph.D).
Should guide research students by acting as assistant supervisor.
Must participate in research work, normally within a research team.
May participate in joint undertakings at the school and university level.
Assistant professor (tenure)
A position as an assistant professor (limited term) is the first step in the academic career path at KTH. Normally, one cannot be employed as an assistant professor at KTH if one does not have experience from a research environment outside KTH corresponding to a post-doctor period or a Doctor of Philosophy from another institution of higher education.
Prior to announcing a position as an assistant professor, there must exist a long-term plan for resources for continued activities after a possible promotion to associate professor and then to professor. The responsible school must show such planning before taking a decision on the profile for the position.
An assistant professor is brought into KTH in a strategic area, where there is joint responsibility for research and development. The strategic areas provide a creative environment and space where the individual researcher and teacher can develop.
For KTH, it is of crucial significance to constantly be changing and renewing its research areas. This occurs especially through recruitment of young persons with experience from other environments. They must then be given independent positions and their own responsibilities quite early. This is necessary in order for them to develop into excellent researchers who have the ability to create their own research challenges and start new directions in research.
It is incumbent upon the responsible school to actively work with career development for its younger faculty. The objective is that the young researcher develops into a successful professor. The structure for this development is governed by KTH's work plan.
In order to achieve promotion to associate professor, by the end of the limited-term employment period, the assistant professor should have established qualifications including, among other things, international publishing, experience in seeking external financing and experience in supervision. During the period, the assistant professor must also have been given responsibility for undergraduate and masters programme studies. Furthermore, pedagogical qualifications must be achieved for example by taking courses offered by KTH in teaching and learning in higher education.
It is of the utmost importance for KTH to be able to offer a high-class education. An assistant professor must develop into a skilful teacher able to develop and teach courses of the highest quality with an emphasis on the learning of the students. An assistant professor ought to be given such responsibility with the support of the teaching and learning in higher education programme offered at KTH.
In the assessment before a promotion to associate professor, an important aspect is whether the applicant has created an independent position and taken individual responsibility within research through establishing new working relationships and research directions and within education through participating in pedagogical development work. Significant further consideration is paid in the assessment to the total scholarly production during the time as an assistant professor, with respect to both extent and excellence. During the employment period, skills in the academic leadership should also have developed.
Job duties for assistant professor
Must contribute actively to education at different levels (undergraduate, Masters or Ph.D.) within KTH.
Should guide research students as assistant supervisor.
Must conduct research, normally as a member of a research team.
Must seek external research funds.
May participate in joint undertakings at the school and university college levels.
A position as an associate professor is the second step in an academic career at KTH.
An associate professor at KTH is a part group addressing a strategic area that takes joint responsibility for a broad research and development area, while at the same time giving a creative environment and space for the individual researcher to develop.
An associate professor must establish him/herself at the international research front through publishing, international co-operation and external research funding. An associate professor has responsibility for undergraduate and masters' studies, through teaching and examination, as well as developing the undergraduate and masters' studies programme through course development and teaching with new methods. Associate professors develop their leadership qualifications in order to be able to assume management tasks of different types. An associate professor is qualified to be the principal supervisor for doctoral students. Upon applying for a promotion to professor, the same entry requirements apply as for advertised professor positions, see appendix 1.1.
Job duties for associate professor
Must participate actively in development and execution of training at all levels (undergraduate, Masters and Ph.D.).
Must normally be the principal supervisor for research students.
Must work actively with research, normally within a research group.
Must be seeking research funding and ought to be leading one’s own research project.
Ought to be participating actively in the scholarly community and assuming tasks such as referee, expert advisor, opponent or lecturer.
Must give younger co-workers support and feedback in education and research;
Must participate in renewal activities as well as internal and external faculty work.
Must take part in exchanges of knowledge with the surrounding world.
A professor at KTH is a leading member of a strategic area, which is comprised of a group of researchers who take joint responsibility for a broad research and educational area, while at the same time being a creative environment that gives space to develop for the individual researcher.
A professor is the highest academic post. Professors at KTH must be leaders nationally and be internationally recognised within their research areas. A professor is expected to perform teaching and to develop education of high quality, and to function well as a principal supervisor for research students. Furthermore, professors are expected to take responsibility for their academic subject outside their own group and be able to exert academic leadership within their subject area. It is also a precondition that a professor be able to develop the area.
Job duties for professor
Must participate actively in the leadership, development and execution of education at all levels.
Must be the principal supervisor for research students and be able to act as an examiner.
Must participate in and develop exchanges of knowledge and communication with the surrounding world.
Must participate actively in leadership and development of research as well as academic leadership within the strategic area and the school.
Must lead and conduct active research, either in one’s own research team or within a larger team of researchers.
Must actively seek external research funds.
Must participate actively in the scholarly community and assume tasks such as referee, expert advisor, PhD opponent or invited lecturer.
Must give younger co-workers support and feedback in education, research activity, research funding support and research communication.
Must participate in leadership work at the school and KTH levels, in renewal work as well as in internal and external faculty work.
Must develop co-operation across subject boundaries inside and outside KTH.