There are newer employer reviews for Karolinska Institute

 

gotta take the bad with the good

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - PhD Student in Stockholm, Stockholm (Sweden)
Current Employee - PhD Student in Stockholm, Stockholm (Sweden)

I have been working at Karolinska Institute

Pros

Incredible opportunities for networking, if you have the guts to try and perseverance: PhD student-initiated summer schools and course featuring mega-star scientists from around the world

Group leaders are generally very friendly and happy to help - important if your own supervisor frequently unavailable, which, as everywhere, can be the case.

Able regularly to attract the absolute best scientists from around the world for seminars, conferences, etc. that unquestionably blows most other top universities out of the water, and is on a par with Cambridge MA, California, and Cambridge UK. This is, of course, due in part to KI's role in awarding Nobel Prize.

Many truly world-leading researchers, though some departments obviously stronger than others.

Solna campus is quite attractive and pretty close to Stockholm centre (but Huddinge campus is the armpit of Sweden and very far from downtown).

PhD studentship is generally solid but not overly long (avg ~5 years). PhD's from otherwise similar labs have consistently and substantially greater competence than those with <4 years, and have more to show for it, as several publications are a de facto requirement. At the same time, don't have the feeling of being stuck in a low-paid, dead-end job forever.

Lots of social events.

Decent cafeterias (fantastic compared to UK).

Cons

Post-docs have a relatively bad deal: salary barely higher than PhD students, stipend only, no benefits, will rarely be funded by supervisor longer than 2 years because law requires them to be employed thereafter.

To be a group leader you need to get your own funding in advance from external sources, and you always have to pay large overhead.

No strong sense of University spirit (absolutely does not compare to US system, but similar to UK). Despite many social events, few, if any, are Institute-wide.

In Sweden:
- incredibly high cost of living without very good pay (especially considering working hours). housing especially problematic. much easier to buy property in the Stockholm area - although this is changing - but otherwise make sure your employer arranges a few months' accommodation BEFORE you arrive. Get on those rental queues ASAP - can't emphasize this enough. law recently passed (April 2012) to liberalize rental system, which was previously the same model as the German Democratic Republic. effects of change too early to tell, but should improve situation.

- social welfare system is not a panacea - still have to pay to visit doctor (basic visit is 200 SEK), dentist, and a portion of hospital bills up to a point.
- over-regulated and fairly rigid society that noticeably impacts daily life. that said, this has improved over the last few years, and seems to be continuing to do so.

- 3 seasons: no summer. seriously. some snow can usually still be seen on the ground in May.
- swedes are often criticized as socially awkward, introverted - but this is not as bad outside Stockholm.
- homogeneous culture, architecture - even the nicest-looking places lack boldness or imagination, whether old or modern. some surprisingly ugly, purely functional infrastructure spoiling otherwise lovely cultural attractions in the centre of Stockholm.

- icy sidewalks, roads, and roofs in winter. very dangerous even at bus stops, stairs, and the most touristy places. every year, papers report people killed by falling ice from gutters, roofs.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Continue and improve fundraising efforts. Creating strong sense of University spirit should be viewed as an investment for future fundraising. Learn from Ivy Leagues.
Organise events for entire Institute e.g. annual picnic with semi-competitive side-events
Do more to attract bright, young group leaders, e.g. by giving seed funding to young prospective faculty with top level (Cell, Nature, Science) publications, possibly to be repaid over several years, or in full upon leaving.

Doesn't Recommend

21 Other Employee Reviews for Karolinska Institute (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    It was a wonderfully rewarding experience. Feel blessed for having had the oppurtunity there.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Stockholm, Stockholm (Sweden)
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Stockholm, Stockholm (Sweden)

    I worked at Karolinska Institute

    Pros

    It is very international. The environment is one of sensitivity and high standards. The ambience is sweet and peaceful. It is one place to have the experience of working at. I do miss it sometimes, now that I have moved to a different continent.

    Cons

    A bit hierarchical and led by rules and regulations. A bit of rehashing the rules system and letting go may help unleash more creativity, freedom and expression.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allowing more space for individuality, independence and expressions might really make this workplace more exciting.

    Recommends
  2.  

    A little bit overrated

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - R&D Internship in Huddinge (Sweden)
    Former Employee - R&D Internship in Huddinge (Sweden)

    I worked at Karolinska Institute

    Pros

    -Health insurance is of high quality and fully covered for employees.
    -Offered with free annual gym membership
    -Good work environment

    Cons

    -The overall management is very bureaucratic and administrators are used to follow rules rigidly. Occasionally, you have to wait for several months for your new laptop and equipments.
    -Bad weather in winter with a lot of snow, which regularly lasts at least five months a year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'm not satisfied with the administration unit because of its low efficiency. My lab mate waited for a long time for his new laptop after he had ordered it.

    Doesn't Recommend
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