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 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

A doctoral student position is available within the biostatistics group at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (MEB). The biostatistics group comprises 4 professors, 3 senior lecturers, several PhD-level and masters-level statisticians, and doctoral students. The group is involved in a wide variety of research projects, including the development of statistical methods, population-based cohort and case-control studies, survival analysis, twin and family studies, predictive modelling, genetic epidemiology, causal inference, and bioinformatics.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

This PhD project consists of both statistical methodology development and clinical application in the field of population-based cancer patient survival. The overall aim is to evaluate biases arising from missing cancer stage data—an often overlooked aspect in registry data ­– and develop methods to accommodate such complexities. The performance of the most common approach of dealing with missing data, multiple imputation (MI), has not been assessed in the settings of cancer epidemiology. This project aims to fill this gap in the literature, leading to significant methodological advancements. The newly developed methods will be applied to investigate work-related outcomes post-diagnosis for colorectal cancer patients in Sweden. Furthermore, we aim to delve into the underlying determinants, such as differential stage and treatment, that contribute to the observed disparities in working life years lost after a colorectal cancer diagnosis, particularly across socioeconomic groups. The applied work will use a large data resource from the colorectal cancer quality register that includes all patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Sweden. Throughout the doctoral project, the candidate will have the opportunity to master a diverse range of methodologies, including survival analysis, competing events analysis, methods for dealing with missing data (such as multiple imputation), flexible parametric survival modelling, Monte Carlo simulation, causal inference and causal mediation analysis.

The successful applicant will be supervised by Elisavet Syriopoulou (Assistant Professor in Biostatistics at MEB). Co-supervisors will be Therese Andersson (Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics at MEB), Caroline Dietrich (Statistician at the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet) and Caroline Nordenvall (Associate Professor of Surgery at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, and clinically active colorectal surgeon at Karolinska University Hospital).

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student with a background in biostatistics, statistics, or mathematical statistics. The successful candidate is expected to take a leading role throughout the research project, with support from the supervisors. This includes the development of statistical methodology and statistical analysis plans, data processing and analysis, taking relevant courses, and participating in departmental seminars and international conferences.

What do we offer?

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Career support for doctoral students
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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 successful applicant should have a solid background in mathematics and statistics. An undergraduate degree with substantial coverage of statistical methods and a master's degree in statistics/biostatistics is preferred.
  • Excellent knowledge of the foundations of biostatistics and experience with regression modelling (preferably survival models) are essential for this role since the project involves the development of statistical methodology.
  • A strong interest in medical research, coupled with a passion for applying statistical methods to address clinically relevant research questions is highly desirable.
  • Prior experience in statistical work within a medical setting, particularly in survival analysis resulting in scientific reports, master theses, scientific publications, or similar outputs, is advantageous.
  • Prior experience in using missing data methodologies in practice is advantageous.
  • Strong programming skills (in Stata and/or R) are essential.
  • The applicant must have good communication skills and be proficient in spoken and written English. These skills are vital for collaborating with interdisciplinary teams and presenting research findings effectively.

We attach great importance to personal qualities in this recruitment. The ideal candidate should be:

  • Independent, structured, and with strong analytical abilities.
  • Flexible and eager to learn. This role involves continuous learning and adaptation to new methodologies and challenges.

The candidate should also enjoy working in a team and collaborate well with team members with different academic backgrounds.

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 2-1810/2024
  • Elisavet Syriopoulou,
  • Carina Olofsson Moreno, HR-partner,
Union representative
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • Ann Almqvist, SACO,
  • Niklas Andersson, OFR,
Published 26.Apr.2024
Last application date 20.May.2024 11:59 PM CEST

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