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

The 2023 call for funding of doctoral students in Neuroscience within the KI-NIH doctoral programme (KI-NIH-PhD) is now open. Deadline for application is September 21, 2023.

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 programme in 2002 collaborations between research groups at KI and NIH have resulted in 57 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 applicant must be a researcher with a PhD active at KI who intends to recruit and act as principal supervisor to a doctoral student. The applicant must first have obtained a “green-light" approval from his/her department.
  • The principal supervisor must be active at the department at KI where he/she plans to enroll the student.
  • 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.
  • The following eligibility rules apply: An individual who has been granted funding as a principal supervisor is not eligible to apply for any faculty funds for financing a doctoral student as principal supervisor in another call during the same or following year. This means that a principal supervisor granted other KI funding to support a doctoral student in 2022 or 2023 (i.e. through KID 2022 or 2023, or through the research school in health science, FiV, in 2023) is not eligible to apply for a KI-NIH-PhD grant as principal supervisor in 2023. An individual who applies as principal supervisor for faculty funding in several ongoing calls simultaneously will only be allocated funds in one of these calls.
  • 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.

It should also be noted that:

  • Only those who have not already been admitted to doctoral education at KI may be recruited to a KI-NIH-PhD project.
  • According to the Rules for employment after the right to remain employed is no longer valid, it is not allowed to become principal supervisor for new doctoral students after the age of 68.
  • 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 2023.

If a grant is awarded

  • The individual study plan established when the student is admitted to doctoral education must indicate the same supervisor 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

Deadline for this call is September 21 2023.

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

Please write the reference number 2-1064/2023 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 September 21 2023. The KI-NIH PhD Office cannot provide feedback on incomplete applications after the application deadline.

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). 
  • 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 approved and signed “green light” for the principal supervisor issued by the respective department at KI.

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

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

Assessment of applications

The applications will be assessed by 5 reviewers having relevant experience within the field of neuroscience. To be a reviewer for KI-NIH PhD applications, a researcher must have obtained the title of “associate professor” (docent) .

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 sub-studies

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.


The decision concerning allocation of KI-NIH PhD funding will be taken by the Committee of Doctoral Education. 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 international coordinator Lise-Lotte Vedin or scientific coordinator Sarah Bergen. Questions regarding the application should be sent to the policy officer Paulina Mihailova.


Application form

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Lise-Lotte Vedin

International Coordinator
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Sarah Bergen

Academic coordinator KI-NIH doctoral programme