Assessing research internship ("Forskar-AT") applications

Decisions on research internships (in Swedish Forskar-AT) are taken by the steering group on the basis of the ranked quality of the applicants and on the outcome of their personal interview. 

Assessment criteria and grading scale for ranking applicants

All applications are to be assessed on equal grounds with respect to the fact that they can be either doctoral students or PhDs: it is the scientific quality that is assessed, not the progress the applicants have made in their research.

Each application is assessed on five criteria, including a feasibility criterion. Updated criteria by January 2021. 


  • Is there the necessary infrastructure for the implementation of the research project and an affiliation with Karolinska Institutet?
  • Is there the methodological knowhow to carry out the research project in the way described?
  • Are the materials and methods suited to the specific point of inquiry?
  • Does the research project have an ethical permit? If not, is there good reason for why this is the case?

Feasibility is judged either satisfactory/not satisfactory. If half or more of the assessors judge a project’s feasibility to be “not satisfactory”, the application is rejected.

The remaining four criteria are judged individually on a scale of 1-5, where:

5 = outstanding
4 = excellent
3 = very good
2 = good
1 = poor

The criteria are weighted 1 + 1 + 1 + 1. 

1. The project’s scientific quality and potential

  • Is the research original, pioneering and challenging in terms of prevailing opinions or practice?
  • Does the project include an innovative hypothesis or does it try to remove important obstacles to continuing research in the field?
  • Does the project embody new ideas, treatments or interpretations?
  • If the goals of the project are achieved, will they significantly enhance knowledge within the field and our knowledge of health and disease?

2. The applicant’s scientific merits and potential

  • Would the applicant’s knowledge, skills, experience and motivation benefit the project?
  • Is there any other documented experience testifying to the applicant’s powers of initiative and creativity?
  • Has the applicant been able to describe his or her choice of research project convincingly in the statement of motivation?
  • How is the applicant recommended for research in the appended letter of recommendation/testimonial?

3. Integration of research and future clinical activity

  • Has the applicant shown in his or her application that the planned research internship will contribute to integrated research and clinical activities in the long term?

4. Suitability/potential for clinical practice during the research internship

  • Does the applicant have experience of clinical practice that is deemed to benefit his or her internship?
  • Has the applicant demonstrated clinical interest through engagement in practical healthcare?
  • Is there a letter of recommendation?

Quality assurance of applicants

The research internship steering group grades the applicants on the above criteria. An average score of three is required for inclusion in the final ranking.

Personal interview

The highest-ranking applicants are then invited to a personal interview, which is also graded.


Allocation decisions are taken on the basis of the final ranking (total criteria score plus interview score).


Administrative officer, Forskar-AT

Kia Olsson


Content reviewer:
Kia Olsson