PhD Position in Brain Activity During Motor-Cognitive Performance

Karolinska Institute Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society

Doctoral (PhD) Student Position in the Research School in Health Science - Brain Activity During Motor-Cognitive Performance

Institutionen för neurobiologi, vårdvetenskap och samhälle

The Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS) conducts world leading research in aging, dementia, epidemiology and care sciences. This research extends from basic molecular and cell levels to clinical research and societal studies. NVS educates almost a third of KI students at basic and advanced levels. The Department has approximately 450 employees and a revenue 2019 of 497 million SEK. It comprises seven divisions, located at Campus Flemingsberg and Campus Solna.

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 research group

The position is situated in the Franzén research group at the Division of physiotherapy, NVS, KI. The Division of Physiotherapy conducts high-quality education at basic and advanced levels, research education and research within physiotherapy. Approximately 50 teachers/researchers and administrators are employed at the division, and 20 doctoral students.

The focus of Franzen’s research group is on translational research from exploring neuronal mechanisms to clinical interventions/implementation in the field of neurological and geriatric rehabilitation. Our areas of special interest are balance control, exercise, physical activity and falls in elderly and individuals with neurological diseases (Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, stroke and spinal cord injury).

The doctoral student will be working in Franzen’s group where the student can exchange ideas and collaborate with other doctoral students, postdocs as well as junior and senior researchers (approx. 20 persons). The multidisciplinary project group consists of researchers with extensive expertise in different fields and from several research groups (neuroimaging, psychology). The doctoral student will have his/her main workspace at the uMOVE core facility in Solna and also at the Division of physiotherapy, NVS in Flemingsberg

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The doctoral student will be admitted to the Research school in Health Science.

The doctoral student will learn to combine multimodal methods from physiotherapy, neurology, psychology and neuroimaging. In this project, the student will study motor and cognitive impairments during complex walking. Here a new imaging system- functional near infrared spectrometry (fNIRS)- will be used to link and investigate brain activity.

The main aim of this doctoral project is to develop and evaluate a novel protocol for clinical assessment of motor-cognitive performance during fall-related walking conditions by integrating non-invasive measures of brain activity and objective assessments of movement in young, older healthy adults and individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

This doctoral work will consist of usual tasks at doctoral level such as project design, data collection, preparation and processing of data as well as performing statistical analysis. Participating in courses, writing scientific papers, grant applications and being able to present the research at group meetings and international conferences are important tasks. This project is a major collaborative project, which means collaborating and interacting with different parties. This also involves leading and coordinating parts of the project. Teaching and supervision of bachelor students may occur.

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

The applicant should have relevant background (such as a master’s in psychology or neuroscience). Coding skills (e.g. MATLAB, shell-scripting, R) and previous experience in and knowledge of analysis of fNIRS or similar imaging techniques and motion analysis systems are highly meritorious. Previous experience with other multivariate analysis and neuroimaging software are also meritorious. Clinical experience and in-depth knowledge in individuals with neurological disorders is a plus as well as experience of cognitive neuroscience and motor function in people with Parkinson’s disease.

The research group collaborates with several research groups and clinicians, thus good collaborative and social skills are necessary. Very good ability to speak and write English is a requirement. Being fluent in speech and writing in Swedish is a merit. The successful candidate is expected to have a strong drive to pursue research, be organized and structured and have an ambitious and innovative attitude.

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.

Research group: Franzén

Erika Franzén profile

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
Working hours 100
City Huddinge och Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-1607/2021
Professor Erika Franzén, 073-712 15 93 ,
Samordnare forskarutb./HR Catarina Cleveson, 08-524 868 32,
Union representative
Carina Eklund, OFR, 08-585 826 65
Henry Wölling, SEKO,
Taher Darreh-Shori, SACO, 08-524 835 29
Published 30.Mar.2021
Last application date 27.Apr.2021 11:59 PM CET