About the Doctoral Programme in Tumour Biology and Oncology (FoTO)

The main objective of the programme is to aid the acquisition of the learning outcomes of the doctoral education within the complex field of cancer biology and oncology, and to foster translational research. Launched in 2003, the programme is designated as the research training programme in Tumor Biology and Oncology (FoTO).


This programme is supervised and integrated with the Cancer Research KI.

The programme promotes interactive research, favours a good environment for the doctoral studies, with the long-term vision to prepare the students for their future career.

Several activities have been developed over the years to achieve these objectives.

Doctoral courses are key components and tailored to knowledge acquisition (basic and advanced) and development of critical thinking.

A national school for clinical cancer research students was initiated from the network, and its very good outcomes inspires the FoTO-programme to analyse this as a concept for the whole programme.

The student-supervisor annual meeting serves as a platform to collect input and keep the programme aims updated, as well as anticipate the need of the future research.

The tight interaction with the KICancer and the Cancer Research KI networks offers meeting venues for tutors and researchers (national and international), identifies issues that are relevant in the field, discusses the need of infrastructures or the use of the current ones, favors collaboration between different disciplines, including epidemiology, patient-oriented clinical research and basic biomedical research.

The “Meet the scientist” sessions, collaboration with international Cancer Centers (e.g. DKFZ, Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson, Weizmann institute), and student-organised conferences stimulate networking, promote direct contact between students and prominent researchers to discuss cancer research and leadership.

The natural follow up to the carrier development is the Young Cancer Leader programme designed to promote interaction between young researchers. Fostering a new generation of doctoral students starts at the level of undergraduate education, therefore FoTO organizes the “cancer track” within the master programme in Biomedicine.

Sign-up information

As a doctoral student at Karolinska Institutet (KI) you can sign up for one or more doctoral programmes and thus obtain information on the courses and activities that are offered.

When you apply for admission to doctoral education (or at any time during the doctoral education), an expression of interest is submitted by sending an email to lisa.westerberg@ki.se.

You will receive information about the programme, its courses and activities. You may choose from what is offered, but you do not commit to participate in any activity, nor are you guaranteed admission to any of the courses organized within the framework of the programme.

Application and admission to doctoral courses

All freestanding courses as well as courses within the doctoral programmes are presented in the course catalogue.

The course catalogue is published each semester around 15 April respectively 15 October and is open for application during one month.

Application is made directly in the catalogue.

After the application period is closed the applicant can only be admitted according to availability. A late application is made directly to the course organizer.

KI's courses are open for registered doctoral students at all higher education institutions, as well as for KI post docs. If space allows, other applicants with a PhD may also be accepted. If space allows, other applicants may also be accepted.

Doctoral education at KI (aiming for a Ph.D. degree) is to a large extent based on the individual research project of each doctoral student.

The starting date is different for each doctoral student. The thematic doctoral programmes at KI are not common “programmes” (like master’s degree programmes) where a whole class studies together.

Information about how to become a doctoral student at KI and the procedure from recruitment to admission

Sara Lidman