Do you want to contribute to top quality biomedical research?

The Department of Neuroscience includes several research groups working on different aspects of nervous system function, both under normal conditions and in various disease states. Research projects include a broad range of studies on the molecular and cellular levels, networks of neurons, and the organization of the nervous system as a whole. The Department has a flat organization with 40 research group leaders, of which 24 are full professors, 65 PhD students and 35 postdocs.

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
Professors Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski and Sten Grillner and Dr Brita Robertson in the neurophysiology section of the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska institutet are known for their joint work on the neural control of movement and the mechanisms by which the nervous system selects which action to take – decision-making. In this work they have combined neurophysiological analyses of circuits in the forebrain, in particular the basal ganglia, with detailed simulations of these circuits based on biological analyses as well as from an evolutionary perspective. A close interaction will take place with the Dept Computational Science and Technology, at The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), where infrastructure for model building is developed.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student
The title of the project is: “The intrinsic function of the basal ganglia–simulation and experiments”. This will involve detailed simulation of the forebrain circuits underlying selection of action with a focus on the basal ganglia and the structures that provide input to the basal ganglia (cortex, thalamus and the dopamine system). The basal ganglia consist of striatum, the intrinsic compartments and the output level to different brainstem motor centres. We now have sufficient detailed knowledge of the biological components (cellular and synaptic properties etc) to make a detailed simulation of the integrated circuits. These circuits are so complex that simulations is a required tool together with detailed biological experiments to be able to understand how the circuits function. This will be part of an ongoing project in which the computational infrastructure has already been developed within the Human Brain Project. In addition, complementary analyses of the biological circuits with the neurophysiological and structural techniques will be an important part of the project also in an evolutionary perspective. The candidate for the doctoral student position should have a good background in both neuroscience and simulation techniques. Within the scope of a doctoral studentship, the student may participate in teaching and other department duties up to 20 per cent.

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.

Skills and personal qualities
The candidate for the doctoral student position needs to have a good background in both neuroscience and simulation techniques and be deeply interested in understanding the brain as well as enjoy interacting with colleagues in the research group. Since the position is based on Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions project (EU), the candidate must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Sweden for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

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.

Your application should contain the following documents:

  • A personal letter of a not more than 2 pages single spaced of why you find this scientific project of particular interest for your doctoral thesis, and a curriculum vitae (in English)
  • Degree projects and previous publications, if any (English)
  • Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above (Swedish or English)
  • 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 the understanding of the brain

Type of employment PhD placement
Contract type Full time
Reference number 2-1116/2020
  • Sten Grillner, professor, 08-524 869 00
  • Jeanette Hellgren Kotaleski, professor, 08-524 871 80
Union representative
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO, 08-524 840 80
  • Magnus Anå, OFR, 08-524 864 37
  • Björn Meister, SACO, 08-524 870 25
Published 06.Mar.2020
Last application date 03.Apr.2020 11:59 PM CET

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