Do you want to contribute to improving human health?

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

The research group ‘Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery’ is located in the heart of KI’s main campus area in Solna. The group contains senior and junior researchers, biostatisticians, administrator, PhD students and other students. We conduct research of diseases and surgery of the upper gastrointestinal tract, i.e. the oesophagus and stomach, with a focus on cancer. Data required for our projects mainly come from national health data registries and clinical data collections. We have extensive international collaborations, a structured approach to developing new studies, and organise Seminar Series, Journal Clubs, Methods Clubs, and PhD courses. In the last external assessment of all research constellations at KI, our group was rated ‘outstanding’ (the highest score possible) in Cancer Research. 

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The PhD project will examine how use of certain potentially anti-carcinogenic medications, e.g., hormonal therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, statins, and proton pump inhibitors, influence the risk of and survival in cancer of the oesophagus and stomach. Data come from a very large case-control study, entitled the Nordic Gastric and Esophageal Tumour Study (NordGETS), which builds on information collected from well-maintained and nationwide registries in the five Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland). Cases are patients with oesophageal or gastric cancer and controls are 10 times as many individuals from the general populations of the five countries.
The main work task is to conduct research. The PhD student will draft study protocols, evaluate relevant literature, perform data management and statistical analyses, and write scientific articles, reviews, and a PhD thesis in the English language. Except for research, other mandatory parts of the PhD education are participation in PhD courses, research seminars and international conference(s). We also have weekly research group meetings, end-of-term activities and planning days. 


The main supervisor is Jesper Lagergren, professor and consultant in surgery, research group leader, and member of the Nobel Assembly. Co-supervisors are Giola Santoni, PhD and biostatistician, and Dag Holmberg, postdoctoral researcher and resident in surgery. All supervisors are experts in the research field and the methodology to be used in this PhD project.

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 an enthusiastic, curious and talented person with high social competence and collaboration skills. Previous documented research experience is qualifying, particularly that using epidemiological methods and biostatistics. Excellent skills in the English language (both orally and in writing) is required, not the least because this is the official language of the group.

Terms and conditions

The doctoral student will be employed on a doctoral studentship maximum 4 years full-time or part-time combined with clinical work.

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
- 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.

You can read more about the group here: Upper GI surgery


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

Type of employment PhD placement
Contract type Full-time/Part-time
Salary Månadslön
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%/50%
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-630/2023
  • Jesper Lagergren, Professor,
Union representative
  • Virpi Töhönen, SACO,
  • Taher Darreh-Shori, SACO,
  • Elisabeth Noren-Krog, OFR,
Published 07.Feb.2023
Last application date 09.Mar.2023 11:59 PM CET

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