Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Clinical Geriatric

The Division of Clinical Geriatric, with over 100 employed and affiliated researchers are located both in Neo, Campus Flemingsberg and in the Q-building in Solna. We conduct research focusing on cognitive impairment, dementia, and other aging related disorders, and education, among other medical graduates. Our research is multi-faceted and is in close collaboration with leading institutions and clinics worldwide. The research is clinically oriented with an emphasis on diagnosis, prevention and treatment. The division has a close cooperation with the Medical Unit Aging within Theme Inflammation and Aging at Karolinska University Hospital.

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

Professor Miia Kivipelto’s research group - the Nordic Brain Network (NBN) - is part of the division of Clinical Geriatrics, Center for Alzheimer Research, NVS. The largest part of this research team is located at KI (Q-building in Solna), but team members are also present at the Karolinska University Hospital, in Finland and UK. The NBN is a multidisciplinary team including, among others, MDs, neuropsychologists, physiotherapists, nurses, biostatisticians. The NBN carries out research focusing on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The research team conducts trials (RCTs) for dementia risk reduction and is involved in several international collaborations and networks (

Professor Kivipelto is the PI of the landmark Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) RCT, the first large-scale trial showing that a 2-year multidomain lifestyle-based intervention can benefit cognition in older adults at increased risk of dementia. Prof. Kivipelto and her team work to advance, optimize and scale-up the FINGER model, to identify effective strategies for dementia risk reduction and prevention applicable on a global scale. Towards this end, Prof. Kivipelto founded the EU-FINGERS Consortium, and the World-Wide FINGERS Network, which collectively gather dementia research experts from about 40 countries. Assistant Prof. Francesca Mangialasche works as scientific and clinical coordinator in both initiatives, and she is responsible for projects based on FINGER data analysis, based on different biomarkers (blood-based, neuroimaging).

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

This doctoral research project will be conducted under the main supervision of  Dr. Mangialasche, and will use data from the population-based multidomain FINGER RCT. A wide panel of blood-based markers have been measured in the FINGER trial at multiple time points. These markers are related to key pathways involved in age-related cognitive decline and dementia (lipid and glucose metabolism, redox status, inflammation).

This is a clinically oriented project that will focus on the analysis of blood markers, to identify biomarker panels for predicting cognitive decline/dementia and monitoring the effects of preventive interventions in older adults. The student  will be required to work on longitudinal clinical trial data, using a rich array of covariates, including neuropsychological, clinical, as well as neuroimaging data. Additionally, data from surveys on lifestyle and behavioral changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic (available from FINGER) will be accounted for in the data analysis.

The student is expected to be actively involved in planning the data analyses, preparing datasets and conducting statistical analyses, as well as interpreting the results in a clinical context and preparing scientific manuscripts under supervision, and update the research plan as needed. In addition to the doctoral research project, the doctoral student is expected to help with tasks related to WW-FINGERS activities, as well as actively participate in courses, seminars and journal clubs. The student will also have the possibility to present at national and international conferences and take the lead in preparing grant applications targeting PhD students. Overall, the project will enable the candidate to gain thorough knowledge and critical thinking on biological and clinical aspects of prevention of late-life dementia.

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

Knowledge about clinical pathways related to AD physiopathology is necessary, including understanding of vascular health, lipid and glucose metabolism, and inflammation in humans. Given this, and considering that this is a project based on a clinical trial, the applicant is required to have a medical degree.

The candidate is also required to have experience analyzing clinical data, and  excellent English language skills, in terms of oral and written communication.

Meritorious aspects include:

  • Previous research or clinical experience in the field of Alzheimer´s disease and dementia.
  • To have knowledge on epidemiology and public health.
  • Ability to use STATA software for statistical analysis.
  • Knowledge using REDCap is an advantage.

The successful candidate must be able to work independently, and also have excellent collaborative skills. To show a high level of responsibility, independence, and a positive, problem solving attitude. Great importance is attributed to collaboration abilities and communications skills, as a substantial part of the work involves collaborating with others. The workload will be variable and will require flexibility of working hours to meet deadlines. The postholder should also have good methodologies for planning timelines. 


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
- 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.

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 According to the agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-1730/2023
  • Francesca Mangialasche, 08-52485846
Union representative
  • Taher Darreh-Shori, SACO,
  • Carina Eklund, OFR, 08-58582665
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
Published 24.Apr.2023
Last application date 08.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

Return to job vacancies