Do you want to contribute to better health for all?

To be a doctoral student means to devote oneself to a research project under supervision of experienced researchers and following an individual study plan. For a doctoral degree, the equivalent of four years of full-time doctoral education is required.

Do you want to join us in conducting research and implementation of digital interventions for people with chronic pain? In collaboration with some of the world’s best researchers in the field of pain and psychology, we are developing treatment programs in an agile and user-centred process, which is evaluated in both qualitative and quantitative clinical research studies.

The research group
Rikard Wicksell’s lab group is running a translational research program with several different ongoing projects, including:

  • Effects of behavioural interventions for people with chronic pain
  • Insomnia and the effects of digital sleep interventions for people with chronic pain
  • Change processes (mechanisms of action) in successful treatment
  • The role and function of inflammatory biomarkers for pain, functioning and treatment effects
  • Parental support and the importance of family factors in paediatric chronic pain
  • Prediction and prevention of paediatric chronic post-surgical pain
  • Assessments of health and change processes (I.e. questionnaires, dynamic item banks)

In addition to chronic pain, the research group conducts research in other areas, such as resilience in intensive care staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the effects of psychological and behavioural support to staff and managers.

The research group consists of both PhD students and post-docs, and has close collaborations with fellow researchers at Uppsala University, Örebro University, Linné University, Helsinki University, Stanford University (USA), and KU Leuven (Belgium).

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student
Chronic pain is a major health concern affecting 20% of the adult population that commonly results in long term sick absence as well as reduced quality of life. Behavioural interventions aimed at improving resilience to pain and distress are critical to remain or increase levels of functioning and well-being. Development, and improved access to, digital interventions can help people with chronic pain to improve health and functioning in everyday life.

In this project, we are conducting user-centred development, evaluation and implementation of a digital behavioural intervention for individuals with chronic pain. The prototype is developed in close collaboration between researchers in academia, health care staff and representatives from the industry. Through qualitative studies, we are assessing the patients’ and health care staff’s needs and preferences. In addition, we are identifying facilitators and potential obstacles for sustainable implementation. In a series of optimization studies, we are evaluating the effects of the intervention at an individual level using Single Case Experimental Design to facilitate empirically supported improvements of the intervention. The project also includes a large RCT to validate the effects, prior to wide implementation of the intervention.

What do we offer?
A creative and inspiring environment full of expertise and curiosity. Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Our vision is to pursue the development of knowledge about life and to promote a better health for all. At Karolinska Institutet, we conduct successful medical research and hold the largest range of medical education in Sweden. As a doctoral student you are offered an individual research project, a well-educated supervisor, a vast range of elective courses and the opportunity to work in a leading research group. Karolinska Institutet collaborates with prominent universities from all around the world, which ensures opportunities for international exchanges. You will be employed on a doctoral studentship which means that you receive a contractual salary. Employees also have access to our modern gym for free and receive reimbursements for medical care.

Eligibility requirements for doctoral education
In order to participate in the selection for a doctoral position, you must meet the following general (A) and specific (B) eligibility requirements at latest by the application deadline.

It is your responsibility to certify eligibility by following the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

A) General eligibility requirement
You meet the general eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

1. have been awarded a second-cycle/advanced/master qualification (i.e. master degree) or

2. have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the advanced/second-cycle/master level, or

3. have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.*

Follow the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

*If you claim equivalent knowledge, follow the instructions on the web page Assessing equivalent knowledge for general eligibility for doctoral education.

B) Specific eligibility requirement

You meet the specific eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

- Show proficiency in English equivalent to the course English B/English 6 at Swedish upper secondary school.

Follow the instructions on the web page English language requirements for doctoral education.

Verification of your documents
Karolinska Institutet checks the authenticity of your documents. Karolinska Institutet reserves the right to revoke admission if supporting documents are discovered to be fraudulent. Submission of false documents is a violation of Swedish law and is considered grounds for legal action.

Skills and personal qualities
The applicant must have substantial knowledge regarding behavioural interventions (CBT, ACT), and preferably experience or knowledge regarding psychological factors in chronic pain and/or digital interventions.

The applicant must be proficient in writing and speaking English, with additional Swedish language skills being an advantage. Clinical experiences, knowledge and/or skills in qualitative methods (e.g. focus groups) and/or quantitative individual-level data analyses (Single Case Experimental Design), as well as academic writing (scientific manuscripts, grant proposals) are considered a merit. Furthermore, knowledge and skills regarding digital solutions for data collection, and experiences from presenting at scientific conferences are advantageous.

We are hiring someone with a strong aspiration to participate in the development of new knowledge and digital interventions in the field of chronic pain, who is analytic and good at managing complex collaborations in the intersection between health care, academia and industry. Great emphasis will be placed on personal suitability, including the ability to work independently as well as being part of a team in a complex project with many different collaborations.

Terms and conditions
The doctoral student will be employed on a doctoral studentship maximum 4 years full-time.

Application process
Submit your application and supporting documents through the Varbi recruitment system. Use the button in the top right corner and follow the instructions.

Your application should contain the following documents:

- A personal letter and a curriculum vitae (Swedish or English)
- Degree projects and previous publications, if any (Swedish or English)
- Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above (Swedish or English)
- Documents certifying your general eligibility (see A above)
- Documents certifying your specific eligibility (see B above)

A selection will be made among eligible applicants on the basis of the ability to benefit from doctoral education. The qualifications of the applicants will be evaluated on an overall basis.

Karolinska Institutet uses the following bases of assessment:

- Documented subject knowledge of relevance to the area of research
- Analytical skill
- Other documented knowledge or experience that may be relevant to doctoral studies in the subject.

 All applicants will be informed when the recruitment is completed.

Read more about the research group here!

Want to make a difference? Join us and contribute to better health for all!


Type of employment PhD placement
Contract type Full time
First day of employment Upon agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-3159/2022
  • Rikard Wicksell, group leader,
  • Lisa Rister, HR-partner, 08-52483287,
Union representative
  • Venus Azhary, OFR, 0707-124127
  • Arsalan Amir, SACO, 08-51773337
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO, 08-52484080
Published 19.Aug.2022
Last application date 08.Sep.2022 11:59 PM CEST

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