“It’s a huge opportunity – apply”
Magnus Lodefalk and Rebecca Wall
When Örebro University introduced its postdoctoral research fellow scheme, there were 600 applicants for 17 positions. Now, the University is launching a similar programme for promising junior researchers – this time 18 associate senior lecturers.
"These are two long-term investments we are making to identify future research leaders. We are already seeing the first scheme beginning to bear fruit," says Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer.
It has been over three years since it started and the postdoctoral research fellows have followed a broad development programme while being able to spend a lot of time, between 80 and 90 percent of their working hours, pursuing their research.
"We have come together regularly for leadership training and for courses on teaching and learning in higher education and on supervising doctoral students. We have formed a network of researchers from a number of disciplines, countries and cultures. For me, there have been several 'aha' moments when we have exchanged experiences," says Magnus Lodefalk, researcher in economics.
Based on my own ideas
He was already working at Örebro University and was appointed to one of the postdoctoral research fellow positions with his own research funding. Rebecca Wall came from Ireland and had touched down briefly in Kalmar, before moving to Örebro.
"I have been able to design my research projects based on my own ideas. It spurs me on, being able to work with something I really want to do and something I really believe in," says Rebecca Wall, postdoctoral research fellow in medical science.
The development scheme included meeting with research funding bodies and practising writing funding applications. The first funding application Rebecca Wall worked on as part of the scheme, has just been approved – by the Swedish Research Council.
Every opportunity to succeed
Being granted research funding in medicine from the Swedish Research Council as early on in your career is quite unusual. What is more, she is the first researcher at Örebro University to receive funding in medicine from the Swedish Research Council.
"We have been given every opportunity to succeed. As a researcher it's exciting not knowing where your experiments will take you, and it was the same with this programme," says Rebecca Wall.
"The support we have been given, both from the University and our research teams, has been great. It has been important as there have been a lot of expectations, not only from others but also from ourselves. It can be very lonely when you're setting out to do research on your own," says Magnus Lodefalk.
He has been appointed docent and has received external funding for two doctoral students as well as for a project together with a postdoctoral researcher. Furthermore, he has been appointed senior lecturer at Örebro University.
To anyone seeing the adverts for the associate senior lecturer positions and considering whether to apply, they only have one thing to say.
"It's a huge opportunity – apply," concludes Rebecca Wall.
Text and photo: Linda Harradine
Translation: Charlotta Hambre-Knight