I got another job rejection letter today. Five out of 79 applicants (6%) got research positions in Linköping, 2.5 hours by car from my home. The five are two chemists, one neurobiologist, one environmental scientist and one gender studies scholar. At least I wasn’t beaten by any colleague.
What bugs me is the way they trimmed those 79 candidates down to eleven that were interviewed. One criterion was that they only contacted people who have already had post-docs. This biased the selection heavily toward well-funded disciplines where post-docs are plentiful. It’s much easier to get one in chemistry than in gender studies. This means that the gender scholar had to be much better than the two chemists to even be considered for the job. And it meant that my qualifications were disregarded entirely.
I don’t doubt that the University of Linköping got five kickass scientists. But they made it very hard for scientists in poorly funded disciplines to compete. I wonder if this was intentional, to make sure they got people who can pull in big grants.