Do you want to contribute to top quality medical research?

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.

The research group

In our research group, the doctoral student will find a unique opportunity to work together with top researchers in cognitive neuroscience to jointly try to understand how the brain encodes the attention of others. To achieve this goal, we conduct various research projects that lie in the relatively unexplored intersection between social cognition and attentional processing. We use several different methods, including functional magnetic brain imaging (fMRI), behavioral and psychophysical approaches (including advanced eye tracking), and intracranial electrophysiological (EEG) recordings in neurosurgical patients. We offer an engaging and international research environment where you get an opportunity to contribute to high-quality research at the highest international level.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The doctoral student will lead a new project that aims to investigate how our brains encode the attention of others. The research group has recently characterized a novel mechanism by which the brain encodes others’ attention as an implied motion connecting agents to attended objects. Although people show no awareness of this agent-to-object motion, it has a significant effect on behavioral measures of motion processing, on motion-processing brain areas, and on social cognitive decisions about the attention of others. Using sophisticated behavioral methods and brain imaging, this project will examine whether this attention-related motion signal has a specific speed, how it extends in space, whether it scales with the number of attending agents, and whether we represent our own attention from a first-person perspective in a similar manner.

The doctoral student will also be able to develop own ideas within the areas of social cognition and attention. Setting up experiments, analyzing data and writing scientific articles is also part of the doctoral students responsibilities. The research group have access to two state-of-the-art 3-Tesla MRI scanners at the Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University Brain Imaging Center (SUBIC), and collaborate with a group of neurosurgeons in Portland (Oregon, USA) for intracranial EEG experiments.

As a doctoral student, you are offered the opportunity to work in a successful and well-funded research group, and will be surrounded by a number of senior and junior researchers. Our research group collaborates with other groups at the department and a number of prominent research groups around the world, which provides an opportunity for international exchanges.

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.

(A) and (B) can only be certified by the documentation requirement for doctoral education.

Skills and personal qualities

We are looking for a talented, innovative, and enthusiastic researcher with a background in a relevant research field, such as cognitive neuroscience, psychology, or engineering. Previous documented research experience (using behavioral and brain imaging methods) and programming skills (primarily in MATLAB, javascript, R, python) are desirable, but not mandatory. A consistently excellent academic track record is required. English is the main language of communication in the research group, therefore it is a requirement to have strong English skills in writing and speaking.

Potential candidates will be interviewed, and personal skills and characteristics will be considered when filling the position.

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. We prefer that your application is written in English, but you can also apply in Swedish.

Your application must contain the following documents:

- A personal letter and a curriculum vitae
- Degree projects and previous publications, if any
- High school grades 
- Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above
- 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 Department of Clinical Neuroscience here
Read more about the research you will be part of 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 2-521/2023
  • Arvid Guterstam, Biträdande lektor,
  • Lisa Rister, HR-partner,
Union representative
  • Venus Azhary, OFR, 0707-124127
  • Arsalan Amir, SACO, 08-51773337
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO, 08-52484080
Published 06.Feb.2023
Last application date 06.Mar.2023 11:59 PM CET

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