An external sabbatical requires that the home institution releases the academic from their normal duties for a period of several months to a year, thus providing them with the freedom and time to perform research and/or teaching in a new and inspiring environment. The benefit to the home institution is that the academic returns renewed and energised and with a suite of new ideas, methods and experiences that inspires new creativity.
It is also customary that the academic’s family accompanies the academic on sabbatical. This often means a period without normal work for the academic’s partner and extended periods when children in the family must attend school in a foreign country. These family experiences are usually deeply rewarding and create memories that last a lifetime. It is a common experience that family life is also renewed and strengthened during a sabbatical.
Abroad without stress
A sabbatical should preferably be held abroad but the goals of the sabbatical can also be achieved elsewhere within the academic’s own country. The most important thing is that a sabbatical must provide a period of academic freedom well away from the everyday stresses of the home institution. Even though sabbaticals have not been a regular part of the academic tradition in Lund, there is now significant encouragement and support for them within the university’s leadership.
Funding for a sabbatical can come from a research grant held by the academic, or from other sources such as the Wenner-Gren Foundation, which has a special program for sabbaticals (in Swedish). The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) also runs a program for sabbaticals (in Swedish), but strictly for teaching (for this program the University of Lund nominates candidates that then compete for funding from STINT). For teaching sabbaticals, there are also several other possibilities for funding available (see Lund University's Staff Pages).
Obviously going on external sabbatical represents a major life upheaval and requires a significant financial investment. As a general rule, a sabbatical is only possible if the academic has a grant to cover the extra costs associated with travel and living for herself or himself and their immediate family, whether this be from a regular research grant or from a grant obtained in competition specifically for the purposes of a sabbatical (please see suggestions above – further funding possibilities can also be discussed with the Head of Department). However, the types of costs that can be covered are many and generous and regulated by government regulations for state employees stationed abroad (according to a special contract, or “URA”, drawn up between the university and the academic). The academic retain their normal salary, pension and healthcare benefits when abroad, and even members of the family are ensured a certain level of insurance coverage. Going on sabbatical need not represent a personal financial loss.
Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land, a Sabbath for the Lord. Leviticus 25: 3-4