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Swedish INterdisciplinary Graduate School in register-based research - SINGS

Swedish population registers constitute a unique resource for research in order to provide better public health and welfare.
The graduate school is a result of the Swedish Research Council´s initiative in providing a national focus on register-based research, through the ”Swedish Initiative for research on Microdata in the Social and Medical sciences” (SIMSAM), website
SIMSAM is organized as a network consisting of six groups of researchers and a graduate school. The overall aim is to contribute to better public health and increased knowledge of social issues.

Short, illustrative film “The benefits of using Nordic population registers for research purposes” developed by SINGS now on YouTube

Subject area

The subject area “register-based research” covers all quantitative scientific disciplines that use registers in research, such as epidemiology, public health, sociology, demography, psychology, statistics, health economics, and other medical and social sciences.

Overall programme description

The curriculum is designed in accordance with outcome-based education and is intended to develop deeper knowledge, skills and scientific and ethical approaches regarding how different sources of data and registers can and should be utilised in research, preparing for a scientific career in the area of register-based research.

The graduate school is a complement to mandatory courses required at the university where the student is registered. The programme includes a minimum of 12 higher education credits. The school runs in 2-year cycles, and students are admitted biannually.

The educational activities focus on methodological, practical, ethical and legal aspects related to register-based research. Courses represent the major part and include core courses that are strongly recommended to be taken by all students, as well as a variety of elective courses in order to enable tailoring of individualised study plans. Retreats, workshops and seminars are also arranged regularly, where issues are highlighted from theoretical, applied, methodological and practical perspectives.

Each semester, two to three core activities (courses and other activities) are arranged. Programme modules consist sessions on 2 to 5 days each. All activities are in English. Most of the educational activities are arranged at Karolinska Institutet, but some are held elsewhere. E-learning activities will also be used.

In courses and workshops, there will be some seats available for doctoral students and Post-doctoral students not part of SINGS. These seats will be announced here and on the SIMSAM website


The overall objectives are that the student shall:

  • demonstrate thorough knowledge of existing registers,
  • demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate problems of relevance for register-based research,
  • demonstrate the ability to use appropriate methods to undertake research-based research,
  • demonstrate the capacity to perform and assess register-based research, following laws and research ethical principles,
  • demonstrate methodological and practical skills when undertaking register-based research,
  • demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of register-based research.

Target groups and previous calls

The target group is doctoral students involved in register-based research within their research training. Eligible applicants are doctoral students and future doctoral students at a Swedish university. Registered doctoral students will have an advantage in the application process, but current enrolment is not an absolute requirement when applying for this programme. Applicants should not have passed half-time of their doctoral education.

There have been three previous calls within SINGS 1 (administrated from Department of Medicine, KI); Cohort 1 (spring semester 2010─spring semester 2012) when 30 students were admitted, Cohort 2 (spring semester 2011─spring semester 2013) when 19 where admitted and Cohort 3 (spring semester 2013─fall semester 2014) when 28 where admitted.

Within SINGS 2 (administrated from Institute of Environmental Medicine, KI) 28 doctoral students were admitted to the first cohort (fall semester 2014─fall semester 2016). In the second cohort (spring semester 2016-spring semester 2018), 25 doctoral students were admitted. No new calls are being planned.

Administrative Organisation and Steering Group

The administrative and educational organisation is made up a coordinator and an academic administrator.

Coordinator: Anita Berglund, Phone: +46 70 7986534, +46 8 524 874 66

Assistant coordinator: Karin Modig, Phone: +46 8 524 801 53

Educational Administrator: Johanna Bergman, Phone: +46 8 524 872 66

The steering group consists of members from the research nodes within the SIMSAM initiative and two student representative from SINGS.

Gunnar Andersson, SUNDEM, SIMSAM SU

Anita Berglund, Director/Coordinator SINGS, KI

Johanna Bergman, Education Administrator

Nele Brusselaers, SIMSAM UGIR, KI

Serhiy Dekhtyar, KI

Ilona Koupil, CHESS, SU

Karin Modig, Assisting Coordinator SINGS, KI

Erik Omling, Doctoral student representative for “medical science”

Max Petzold, GOCARTs

Kirk Scott, SIMSAM LU, Early Life and SIMSEG

Arvid Sjölander, SIMSAM MEB-family design, KI

Magnus Stenbeck, SIMSAM-Infra, KI

Rosa Weber, Doctoral student representative for “social science”

Educational activities

Fall semester 2017
Spring semester 2017
Fall semester 2016
Spring semester 2016
Fall semester 2015
Spring semester 2015
Fall semester 2014

Elective courses

Coming course occations

It is now possible to apply for the SINGS elective courses below during spring semester 2018. Also Postdocs are welcome to apply. These are announced in the KI course catalogue and application is also done through the catalogue.

“Causal inference: emulating a target trial to assess comparative effectiveness”, Dates: 2018-03-19 -- 2018-03-21, 1.5 HEC (Course leader: Miguel Hernán)
“Methods for life course epidemiology”, Dates: 2018-04-16 -- 2018-04-20, 1.5 HEC (Course leader: Ilona Koupil. Teachers: Gita Mishra, Bianca De Stavola, Rhian Daniel)
“Fundamentals of statistical modeling”, Dates: 2018-05-21 -- 2018-05-25, 1.5 HEC (Course leader: Matteo Bottai)
“Introduction to R”, Dates: 2018-05-28 -- 2018-06-01, 1.5 HEC (Course leader: Alexander Ploner)

These SINGS elective courses are given in collaboration with the Doctoral Programme in Epidemiology.

Previous course occations

Advanced survival models for correlated data

Doctoral course: "Methods for life-course epidemiology" (1.5 credits)

Courses doctoral programme Epidemiology, fall 2016

5 ECTS Course on Global Occupational Health in Lund

Doctoral course: "Introduction to spatial methods" (1,5 credits)

Doctoral course: “Social and life-course epidemiology” (1.5 credits)

Doctoral course: “Advanced course in SAS programming for health care data” (1.5 credits)

Doctoral course: “Design and analysis of twin and family based studies” (1.5 credits)

Advanced Demographic Methods 2


Save the date! Workshop “Causal Mediation and Interaction Analysis” with Tyler J. VanderWeele_May 17-18, 2018

EPI Seminar with Bianca De Stavola and Gita Mishra, 8 March 2016

Invitation SINGS Event December 8, 2016

The 25th Annual Postgraduate Population Studies Conference (PopFest) will take place in Stockholm May 31st - June 2nd 2017. The call for papers is now open.

Plenary talk by Christian Brzinsky-Fay, WZB Berlin: School-to-Work-Transition Patterns and Early Occupational Attainment, 5 October, 2016

Live Plenary "Causal Mediation in Epidemiology"_March 2, 2016, 1:00 - 3:00pm EST
Live Plenary featuring:
Drs. Ashley Naimi and Tyler VanderWeele
"Causal Mediation in Epidemiology"
The event is arranged by the Society for Epidemiologic Research

SIMSAM/SINGS will organize an educational event 3 December at "Medicinska Riksstämman 2015", ”Registerbaserad forskning – vad, varför och hur? En interaktiv workshop med konkreta tips och råd”

Biostatistics Seminar - Current status data: Epidemiology, avalanches and screening with Nicholas P Jewell, Professor of Biostatistics & Statistics, University of Berkeley

Seminar - ADHD Medication and Substance Use Problems: Pharmaco-epidemiology studies in Sweden and the US

The Stockholm Register Summit - learnings on register-based research in an indertisciplinary context

Arranged by SINGS (Swedish INterdisciplinary Graduate School in Register-Based Research) within SIMSAM (Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social And Medical Sciences) - supported by the Swedish Research Council.
Invited speakers and experts biographies

Latest News

2 million NOK from NordForsk's Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare to Anita Berglund, Head Doctoral Programme in Epidemiology and PI/Director for the Swedish Interdisciplinary Graduate School in register-based research (SINGS), for a Nordic graduate course entitled “Key concepts and principles for design and critical interpretation of Nordic register-based studies”.
Link to information about the call.

Course “Data visualization” given at University of Oslo. Application deadline is 16th July 2017.

Juho Härkönen promoted to professor

Doctoral course: "Methods for life-course epidemiology" (1.5 credits)

SIMSAM - re-launched by VR

What’s in a Word? Concept mapping – a graphical tool to reinforce learning of epidemiological concepts.

Article about SINGS and SIMSAM are highlighted in the web magazine Curie, issued by the Swedish Research Council (VR).

Vacancies at Quantile Regression course at GU spring 2015

There are a few vacancies at the 1.5 HECS course Qantile Regression to be given 20 April – 8 May, 2015, at the University of Gothenburg. The application dead-line has expired but PhD students can send late applications to

More info

Research Designs for Causal Inference, Department of Sociology and Human Geography University of Oslo

The Department of Sociology and Human Geography University of Oslo will give a course called SOS9019 Research Designs for Causal Inference in a few weeks’ time. The course will cover modern research designs and methods for causal inference in sociology and allied disciplines.

The course is applied, in the sense that students will learn the basics of the theory behind causal inference and in practical sessions apply the methods to actual data. The course description is found here.

The target audience is starting doctoral students / advanced master's students / researchers with a need for updating their skills. There are no formal prerequisites, but mastery of basic regression analyses and basic Stata use is an advantage.

There are still available places on this course (Travel grants may be available for students from Nordic countries doing life course analysis.)

Please contact Katalin Godberg for enrollment/questions.


Torkild Hovde Lyngstad


Department of Sociology and Human Geography University of Oslo