Announcement of funding for financing of doctoral students in Neuroscience within the KI-NIH doctoral programme

The 2017 KI-NIH PhD Call is now closed!

Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Sweden and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States of America (USA) offer a joint doctoral programme in neuroscience. Since the beginning of the program in 2002 collaborations between research groups at KI and NIH have resulted in 41 successfully defended doctoral theses. Please find more information about the program here:

The KI-NIH PhD programme is a block grant for partial funding of one doctoral student’s salary costs over a period of 4 years. The grant covers 75 percent (including INDI) of the salary costs and cannot be used for any other purpose. The student is expected to conduct research at both KI and NIH during the programme with a minimum of 18 months at NIH (can be divided into several periods depending on project requirements).


To be eligible to apply:

  • The principal supervisor must be active at the department at KI where the student is to be enrolled.
  • The application should include a neuroscience project developed in collaboration with a co-supervisor based at NIH.
  • The application should clearly state how the collaboration will be executed.

If a grant is awarded for the KI-NIH PhD programme, a doctoral student has to be recruited through open competition and enrolled at the KI department specified in the application. Please read more about recruiting a doctoral student below.

If a grant is awarded

  • The individual study plan established when the student is admitted to doctoral education must indicate the same supervision constellation and project plan as in the application granted funding. In case of changes, the permission of the scientific coordinators for KI-NIH PhD programme and the Head of Department at KI is required.
  • NIH co-supervisors will be required to take a short web course for supervisors of doctoral students at KI.
  • KI supervisors will be required to submit a copy of the certificate documenting their supervisor training.
  • KI supervisors and doctoral student will be required to sign a Researcher’s Consent document, confirming consent with §6 Use of intellectual property in the MoU between KI and NIH1.

1 §6. Acknowledging the differences in law and practice between (i) Sweden, where intellectual property belongs to a high extent to the inventors, however, always subject to agreement, and that materials and/or any other background owned by KI shall never be included in any intellectual property owned by the inventor, and the (ii) U.S., where intellectual property is owned by the Institution that employs the inventor. The rights and obligations of the parties to this Agreement with regard to intellectual property shall be determined and governed by the jurisdiction in which such research is being conducted, so that any invention shall be assigned by the inventor to NIH if the invention is made at NIH. Notwithstanding anything else stated in this Agreement and always abiding with the assignment obligation of inventions stated in this paragraph above, the individual researcher shall always retain a non-exclusive, irrevocable, world-wide, fully-paid license to use any of his/her intellectual property results for internal research and academic purposes only.

All rules that apply for PhD supervision and PhD education at KI in general also apply for those who are granted KI-NIH PhD funding.

Rules for doctoral education at KI

How to apply

To participate in the 2017 Call, you have to send a complete application via email to

Your application (including all attachments) has to arrive as one single document in pdf format.

Please write the reference number 2-3105/2017 in the subject field.

Only complete applications will be registered and thereafter assessed. No additions to your application will be accepted after midnight (Stockholm time) on the application closing date 15 September 2017. The KI-NIH PhD Office cannot provide feedback on incomplete applications after the application deadline.

N.B.! It is mandatory for applicants to have obtained a ’green light’ by the latest on 15 September, to be eligible.

The application

The application should be written in English.

A complete application must include (see application form, point 7, mandatory attachments):

  • Application form (with all signatures). The form will be uploaded on this website on 26 June 2017
  • Research plan (max 5 (A4) pages, including the reference list, Times New Roman 12 pt)
  • The ten most project-relevant publications for each participating supervisor
  • Principal- and co-supervisors’ CV (including complete publication list and funding ID/list of grants)
  • Description of proposed collaboration (max 1 (A4) page, Times New Roman 12 pt)
  • A copy of the “green light” decision issued by the respective department at KI to the principal supervisor.

Outcomes for degree of doctor

How the outcomes for degree of doctor according to the Higher Education Ordinance is planned to be reached should be described in the application.

Outcomes for degree of doctor

Recruitment of doctoral students

Only persons not yet admitted to doctoral studies at the time of the decision to award NIH PhD-funding, are eligible for admission to KI-NIH PhD-funded projects.

N.B.! The requirement of recruiting PhD students through open announcement of the PhD position also applies to KI-NIH PhD-funded students.

Recruit doctoral students

Assessment of applications

The applications will be assessed by 7 reviewers having relevant experience within the field of neuroscience. To be reviewers for KI-NIH PhD, researchers must have obtained the docent (“associate professor”) title. The following scale will be applied:
5 points = outstanding
4 points = excellent
3 points = very good
2 points = good
1 points = insufficient

Assessment criteria

Each application will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Scientific quality and potential of the proposed project
  • Project feasibility
  • The project's suitability as a doctoral education project
  • Quality and potential of the supervision
  • Coherence between the proposed KI and NIH substudies

Read more about assessment of KI-NIH applications

Applications that fall below a total average of 3.0, regardless of their position in the ranking, will not be granted funding.

Please note

  • A researcher can only take part as principal supervisor in one application per application round, but can take part in several applications as co-supervisor.
  • If a researcher occurs in two applications as principal supervisor, both applications will be disqualified.
  • A principal supervisor who has been awarded and has accepted faculty funding for doctoral students at KI, within KID, CSTP or the Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences in 2016 or 2017, is not eligible to apply as principal supervisor for KI-NIH PhD funding in 2017.
  • A researcher who is applying for faculty funding for doctoral students at KI as principal supervisor in more than one application round at the same time (KI-NIH PhD, KID, CSTP or the Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences) can only be granted funding within one of the application rounds (principal supervisors can themselves choose which one).
  • A principal supervisor who already has active, ongoing doctoral students funded by KI within the KI-NIH PhD programme, is not eligible to apply for KI-NIH PhD funding as principal supervisor in 2017.
  • It is mandatory for KI principal supervisors to have obtained “green light” from the respective department at KI.
  • A researcher is no longer allowed to become principal supervisor for new doctoral students after the age of 67.
  • Awarded projects requiring ethical approval will only be funded provided that a decision of approval is granted by the appropriate authority and presented to the KI-NIH policy officer.


The decision concerning allocation of KI-NIH PhD funding will be taken by the Board of Doctoral Education in November 2017. It will be sent via email to all principal supervisors. No written feedback on the applications will be provided.


You are welcome to contact us. Questions concerning the joint program should be sent to the international coordinator Johanna Diehl or the scientific coordinator André Fisahn. Questions regarding the application should be sent to the policy officer Assia Viachka.

Administrative officer

Paulina Mihailova

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 863 60
Organizational unit: Grants Office

International coordinator

Johanna Diehl

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 863 84

Academic coordinator

André Fisahn

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 873 54