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

This call is closed. Next KI-NIH PhD Call will open 2021.

The 2019 KI-NIH PhD Call will open on 16 September – the application deadline is 25 November 2019!

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 49 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 admitted to doctoral education 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 coordinator for the 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. For more information visit: Web course for supervisors
  • KI supervisors and doctoral students will be required to sign a Researcher’s Consent document,  by which they confirm that they have read the MoU between KI and NIH and undertake to comply with the regulations and commitments contained in the above mentioned agreement, also confirming consent with §6 Use of intellectual property.[1]

[1] §6. Use of intellectual property. 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. Please note that a principal supervisor to a doctoral student at KI must be either employed by or affiliated to KI. Read more about rules for doctoral education at KI here:

How to apply

To participate in the 2019 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 2-4253/2019 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 25 November 2019. The KI-NIH PhD Office cannot provide feedback on incomplete applications after the application deadline.

N.B.! The application has to be signed by the Head of Department at KI.

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 16 September 2019
  • 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.

Read more about the 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 here

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 faculty funding for doctoral students at KI, within KID, CSTP or the Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences in 2018 or 2019, is not eligible to apply as principal supervisor for KI-NIH PhD funding in 2019.
  • 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 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 2019.
  • It is mandatory for KI principal supervisors to have obtained “green light” from the respective department at KI.
  • According to Rules for employment after the right to remain employed is no longer valid it is not allowed to become principal supervisor for new doctoral student after the age of 68.


The decision concerning allocation of KI-NIH PhD funding will be taken by the Committee of Doctoral Education in March 2020. 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 KI-NIH program should be sent to the international coordinator Johanna Diehl or professor Lennart Brodin. Questions regarding the application should be sent to the policy officer Paulina Mihailova.

Lise-Lotte Vedin

International coordinator

André Fisahn

Scientific coordinator

Indu Motwani

Policy Officer