Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of physiotherapy

The Division of Physiotherapy conducts high-quality education at basic and advanced levels, research education and research within physiotherapy. Education is offered at entry-level bachelor (Study Programme in Physiotherapy), advanced level (one-year Master) and doctoral education. The division also provides several supplementary courses and contracted courses targeting professionals or others. Approximately 50 teachers/researchers and administrators are employed at the division, and 20 doctoral students.

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.

Doctoral position in the Mälardalen area's Graduate School of Health Sciences

The Mälardalen Area Doctoral School in Healthcare Science (MoF-V) comprises four collaborating Universities, Karolinska Institutet, Uppsala University, Mälardalen University, and Sophiahemmet University. The research school offers doctoral education with the opportunity to teach up to 20% of a full-time employment. The research school is cohesive and has targeted activities embedded throughout the course of study. In addition, there will be opportunities for candidates to expand their network both nationally and internationally.

For further information about the research school, visit the following link:

The research group

The project is led by Anna-Karin Welmer, associate professor, and senior lecturer at the Division of physiotherapy, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, and leader of the group Aging and health ( The research in the group concerns health in older adults, with special focus on physical function, physical activity, sedentary behavior, and injurious falls. The research combines clinical studies (interventions and implementation research) with large population-based studies. The group is interprofessional and consists of junior and senior researchers with different competencies within the field of health in old age. The group has regular meetings, and the division has seminars and journal clubs for doctoral students.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The doctoral student will work with the project “Harmful sitting in old age—using epidemiological and qualitative approaches to tailor future interventions”.

Studies have shown that sedentary behavior (prolonged periods in a seated or reclining posture) is a significant threat to health. However, only a few studies have examined health effects of sedentary behavior in older adults. Most studies have used self-reported data, which are less reliable than objective methods and do not enable assessment of activity patterns. The overall goals of this doctoral project are to quantify the association of volume and patterns of sedentary behavior in relation to health changes, and incident injurious falls, and to identify determinants of sedentary behavior.

The doctoral project will use already collected data on people aged ≥66 years who participated in the Swedish National study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (SNAC-K, and underwent assessment of physical activity and sedentary behavior with objective methods (accelerometer). Data will also be collected through qualitative focus group interviews with older people to explore their perceptions of the factors which determine their sedentary behavior. As a doctoral student, you will participate in the data collection for the qualitative interviews. You will also analyze data, write scientific papers, and present the results. As a doctoral student in the Mälardalen Area Doctoral School in Healthcare Science, you also participate in the graduate school's courses and activities.


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 motivated person with an interest in research on physical activity and sedentary behavior in older adults. You should have an educational background in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing, or in a similar field. You are also expected to have good communication skills and the ability to collaborate effectively and work productively with others in a team of researchers. Furthermore, you are expected to be thorough, structured, and analytical. It is advantageous to have experience in research, as well as to have experience of working in geriatric inpatient care or outpatient care or another area related to care/health promotion work for older people. The applicant should also demonstrate good knowledge of English, both orally and in writing. Good knowledge of Swedish is a merit.

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 2-2454/2023
  • Anna-Karin Welmer ,
Union representative
  • Carina Eklund, OFR, 08-58582665
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • Taher Darreh-Shori, SACO,
Published 03.Jul.2023
Last application date 17.Aug.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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