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 Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics conducts research in epidemiology and biostatistics across a broad range of areas within biomedical science. The department is among the largest of its type in Europe and has especially strong research profiles in psychiatric, cancer, reproductive, pediatric, pharmaco, genetic, and geriatric epidemiology, eating disorders, precision medicine, and biostatistics.

Part of the success of our department is due to our collaborative spirit where one factor is that researchers at the Department share and co-finance common resources (e.g., IT and an applied biostatistics group). The department is situated at campus Solna. Further information can be found at

The research group

Our research group focuses on psychiatric epidemiology by analyzing data from the Swedish Twin Register and Swedish population registers. This international research group consists of epidemiologists, behavioral geneticists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and statisticians. The group is based at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, where the the Phd student will also work.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Individuals who meet diagnostic criteria for one psychiatric disorder also tend to meet criteria for other disorders (i.e., comorbidity). This highlights that it is often unclear whether associations with covariates can be attributed to the unique part of a psychiatric condition versus that which it shares with all other conditions.

Psychiatric comorbidity can be accounted for by a hierarchical model that consists of one general factor of psychopathology (sometimes labeled p), in addition to several specific factors. The general factor captures variation shared by all conditions, whereas the specific factors capture unique variation shared by only a subset of conditions (e.g., an internalizing factor that captures variation unique to depression and anxiety).

Previous research has demonstrated that the hierarchical model predicts clinically relevant outcomes (e.g., suicide, overdoses, criminality, etc.), indicating that it provides useful information when formulating management plans and predicting prognoses. Research also indicates that these associations tend to remain within sibling- and twin pairs. This might indicate that treatment of hierarchical factors could lower the risk of future outcomes.

The goal of this project is to apply multivariate statistics and quasi-causal designs to examine whether various interventions might be causally linked to lower scores on factors in hierarchical models of psychopathology. The PhD student is expected to lead and complete four projects on this topic under the supervision and guidance of supervisors.

What do we offer?

Choose to work at KI-Ten reasons why
Career support for doctoral students
International staff

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

The applicant should have documented experience in quantitative methodology, epidemiology, public health, or similar area. The applicant should also have an interest in psychiatry.

It is desirable if the applicant has skills in statistics, and statistical software such as R and/or SAS. It is also desirable if the applicant has experience conducting register-based research, particularly with a focus on behavioral science. Experience in data management is also desirable. It is also desirable if the applicant has experience with causal inference techniques.

It is important for the applicant to express themselves well both orally and in written form in English, as the work environment is international.

The applicant should be able to work independently and take responsibility for driving the research projects forward, have excellent analytical skills, and be cooperative and collegial as we work in an international cross-disciplinary team. Further, the applicant should be curious and creative, and be able to solve unanticipated and complex problems. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are required.

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
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-1698/2024
  • Erik Pettersson,
  • Cecilia Westman Betnér, HR-partner,
Union representative
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • Ann Almqvist, SACO,
  • Niklas Andersson, OFR,
Published 22.Apr.2024
Last application date 14.May.2024 11:59 PM CEST

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