KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Engineering Sciences

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden’s largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all branches of engineering, as well as architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy.

Research and teaching conducted at the Department of Physics span from basic science topics in condensed matter physics, nuclear, particle and astroparticle physics to applied areas such as medical imaging, nuclear engineering and nuclear power safety.

Project description

Third-cycle subject: Physics - specialization: Atomic, Subatomic, and Astrophysics.

Global threats to human life in the form of nuclear terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons are gaining increasing awareness. IAEA, the international atomic energy agency, is an international organization within the United Nations coordinating the development of new techniques for detection of radioactive and fissile materials that could otherwise be used to harm the public or to construct illicit nuclear weapons. Its member countries, like Sweden, are contributing with research and development in this field.

The IAEA Incident Trafficking Database (ITDB) 2018 Fact Sheet reported a total of 166 confirmed interceptions of nuclear or radioactive materials in 34 member states, indicating that unauthorized activities and events involving nuclear and other radioactive material, including incidents of trafficking and malicious use, continue to occur. Since 1993, there were 278 incidents that involved confirmed or likely acts of trafficking or malicious use. At the same time it is known that today’s techniques are not sufficient for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism on a global scale. Development of more sensitive detection systems is therefore needed for:

1) Radiation portal monitors (RPM) which use radiation detectors for screening persons, personal luggage, vehicles, cargo, etc. at airports and other border crossings or at secure facilities like nuclear plants. 

2) Perform scanning of spent or fresh nuclear fuel assemblies for the purpose of nuclear safeguards or nuclear power plant operation using passive/active non-destructive assay (NDA) techniques. Nuclear safeguards aims at securing that activities using nuclear technology are conducted according to national and international regulations and to prevent that nuclear materials and nuclear facilities are used for the production av nuclear weapons, for example.

The Nuclear Physics Group within the Department of Physics at KTH in collaboration with SSM – The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, conducts research and development on radiation detection and imaging systems for applications in nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation, nuclear security, environmental research and related areas. KTH and SSM support the IAEA and the European Commission in developing methods and techniques to enhance international safeguard methods focused on techniques for non-destructive analysis of nuclear materials. The results are intended to be used for both developing novel technologies as well as developing international regulations within the area of nuclear safeguards and security. This research project is a collaboration between KTH and SSM and is financed by SSM

The research activities of the PhD student will focus on development of photon and neutron detection systems for sensitive detection and imaging of radioactive materials within the fields of nuclear security and non-proloferation. Also numerical modelling and simulations of detector response for optimization of geometries are included in the work.

The PhD student will be based at the nuclear physics research division at KTH. The research group consists of four faculty members (professors, associate professors), one postdoctoral researcher and four PhD students. We perform research in applied nuclear- and radiation physics, including projects in nuclear medicine and nuclear safeguards. The research group also has a wide range of activities in fundamental research on atomic nuclei, including both theoretical modelling of nuclear structure and experimental work using advanced detector arrays at international accelerator facilities.

What we offer

  • The possibility to study in a dynamic international research environment in close cooperation with industries and advanced universities the world over.
  • Life-long network through KTH's Alumni organization.
  • A personal study plan to support your development within your areas of interest.
  • A workplace with many employee benefits and monthly salary according to KTH's doctoral student salary agreement.
  • Work and study in Stockholm, one of Europe´s fastest growing capitals, which is close to both nature and the sea.
  • Help to relocate and get settled in Sweden and at KTH.
  • To work in a multi-disciplinary project aiming to help make the world a safer and better place to live in.


To be admitted to postgraduate education (Chapter 7, 39 § Swedish Higher Education Ordinance), the applicant must have basic eligibility in accordance with either of the following:

  • passed a degree at advanced level,
  • completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 higher education credits at advanced level, or
  • in any other way acquired within or outside the country acquired essentially equivalent knowledge.


In order to succeed as an doctoral student at KTH you need to be goal oriented and persevering in your work. In the selection of the applicants, the following will be assessed:

  • ability to independently pursue his or hers work,
  • ability to collaborate with others,
  • have a professional approach and
  • analyse and work with complex issues.

After the qualification requirements, great emphasis will be placed on personal qualities and personal suitability.

Target degree: Doctoral degree.

Information regarding admission and employment

Only those who are or have been admitted to third-cycle studies may be employed as a doctoral student. The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year and may thereafter be extended. Doctoral students may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Union representatives

You will find contact information for union representatives on KTH's website.

Doctoral section (Students’ union on KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

You will find contact information for doctoral section on the section's website.


Apply for the position and admission through KTH's recruitment system. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement.

Applications must be received at the last closing date at midnight, CET/CEST (Central European Time/entral European Summer Time).

Applications must include the following elements:

  • CV including your relevant professional experience and knowledge.
  • Application letter with a brief description of why you want to pursue research studies, about what your academic interests are and how they relate to your previous studies and future goals. (Maximum 2 pages long)
  • Copy of the degree certificate(s) and transcripts of records from your previously attended university-level institutions. Translations into English or Swedish if the original documents are not issued in one of these languages.
  • Representative publications or technical reports. For longer documents, please provide a summary (abstract) and a web link to the full text.

Other information

Gender equality, diversity and zero tolerance against discrimination and harassment are important aspects of KTH's work with quality as well as core values in our organization.

For information about processing of personal data in the recruitment process please read here.

We firmly decline all contact with staffing and recruitment agencies and job ad salespersons.

Disclaimer: In case of discrepancy between the Swedish original and the English translation of the job announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type Full time
First day of employment According to agreement
Salary Monthly salary according to KTH's doctoral student salary agreement
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100%
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number S-2019-0934
  • Bo Cederwall, +46 73 765 05 80, bc@kth.se
Published 13.Jun.2019
Last application date 01.Sep.2019 11:59 PM CET

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