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

Aging Research Center is one of the divisions at the NVS Department, located at KI campus Solna. The Aging Research Center is a multidisciplinary academic environment, representing psychology, sociology, and various branches of medicine (e.g., neurology, epidemiology, and psychiatry). In the psychology sector of the center, we examine brain correlates of cognitive aging and seek to understand how genetic and lifestyle factors shape development of brain and cognition in adulthood and old age. We approach these research questions with small-scale neuroimaging studies, large-scale intervention (e.g., training) studies, and large-scale population-based longitudinal studies. Our research group consists of senior researchers, postdocs, and doctoral students.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

In Bayesian decision theory, prior beliefs refer to the probability that the decision-maker attributes to qualities of the world before any evidence is considered. These prior beliefs about the world impact choices about affectively significant outcomes and may be important for conditions such as depression. However, the probability distributions comprising these priors have not yet been inferred from people’s choices and there is no direct evidence that these distributions are represented in the brain.

The present doctoral project aims at setting up an experimental paradigm to quantify prior beliefs about the world and to subsequently use it to quantify these beliefs in healthy volunteers and identify the brain regions where these prior beliefs are represented. The project also aims to quantify prior beliefs in depressed patients and to relate them to the expression of depression symptoms and clinical outcomes. In addition to participating in some of the data collection, the successful candidate is expected to play a critical role in formulating scientific research hypotheses, testing those hypotheses by using proper study designs, learning to use computational models of decision-making as well as univariate and multivariate fMRI data analysis, and writing scientific articles in English. The student will work independently to execute his or her doctoral project, in collaboration with the research team and supervisors.

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 highly motivated doctoral student who is efficient, thorough, and enjoys working in an international and dynamic multidisciplinary team.


  • Applicants should have second-cycle background in neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, or some other relevant area
  • Prior knowledge in neuroscience and cognitive psychology
  • Computer programming ability (particularly in Matlab and R)
  • Prior knowledge and skills in computational modelling of behavioral data
  • Good communicator in English (both orally and in writing)


  • Prior knowledge and skills in neuroimaging
  • Clinical experience with anxiety and depression

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.

Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society

Aging Research Center

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 Enligt ök
Salary Månadslön
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100
City Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-1964/2021
  • Marc Guitart-Masip, supervisor,
  • Amy Walsh, co-supervisor,
  • Maria Staiger, HR-ansvarig, 0733709926
  • Catarina Cleveson, samordnare forskarutbildning, 08-524 868 32
Union representative
  • Carina Eklund, OFR, 08-585 826 65
  • Taher Darreh-Shori, SACO, 08-524 835 29
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
Published 22.Apr.2021
Last application date 13.May.2021 11:59 PM CET

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