Externally employed doctoral students within food-related research (LivsID)

Last changed: 13 November 2017
Doktorand i mikrobiologi. Foto: JSG

By assignment of the government, SLU is launching a programme for externally employed doctoral students (LivsID). As of 2018, the programme will include up to ten externally employed doctoral students working within food-related research. This effort is part of the national food strategy.

The Swedish food industry is facing a variety of challenges. Now, SLU will intensify and develop collaboration with this industry.

The new externally employed doctoral students within the programme LivsID will focus on projects and issues proposed by companies, organisations, public authorities and other stakeholders working within the food industry.

The doctoral students will be employed at their companies/organisations/authorities and spend 20 per cent of their time on regular tasks. Their doctoral studies will be carried out during five years, at 80 per cent of their working hours. The programme is scheduled to start in autumn 2018.

Focus on industry demands

The LivsID programme will focus on the challenges of the food industry. Accordingly, companies and organisations will start the process by formulating research proposals. These proposals will then be developed into possible research questions and possible doctoral projects in collaboration with researchers at SLU

Submit proposals

SLU is inviting companies, organisations, public authorities and other stakeholders to submit project proposals for externally employed doctoral students. We also welcome suggestions for employees or new recruitments who could be potential doctoral students.

Each company/organisation is welcome to submit several proposals. They must relate to SLU’s research activities, but not necessarily target a specific research environment or department.

How proposals are selected

Around 15 proposals will be selected for further evaluation. At the end of this process, 10 LivsID projects will be selected.

The selected proposals will be adjusted in collaboration with the intended main supervisors and the respective head of department at SLU. The intended doctoral student can then be hired for the project; it is not necessary that this person is already employed.

An agreement will be drawn up between the employer and SLU, regulating duties and rights of the involved parties during the studies. The agreement is a condition for admitting doctoral students to SLU.

Material for download

Presentations (in Swedish) from the information meeting on 31 October can now be downloaded
Download presentation

Expression of interest

What to include in the expression of interest

  • A description of the question on which the thesis will be based. The description must clearly indicate how the project relates to the activities of the company/organisation as well as to SLU. The proposal should be 7.500 characters (including spaces) at most, and it must have been discussed with an SLU researcher (not necessarily the intended main supervisor), and the name of this researcher must be mentioned in the proposal.
  • If the proposed doctoral student is already employed at the company/organisation, their CV must be included (max. 7.500 characters, including spaces). The CV must contain information about the candidate’s previous studies (which must meet the entry requirements for doctoral studies: a Master’s degree or at least four years of full-time study, of which at least one year at Master’s level). Their previous studies must also be relevant for the research domain. Describe the proposed student’s professional experience, as well as any experience in research, development and innovation. List any publications. Finally, include a personal motivation of why the proposed research project should be selected.

A proposal must include one potential doctoral student and cannot be dependent on the admittance of other projects or doctoral students.

Where to send the expression of interest

Please send your expression of interest to registrator@slu.se by Monday, 20 November 2017 at the latest. Mark your proposal with the registration number SLU ua 2017.4.1-3908.


Project selection and selection criteria

Persons responsible for selection

The SLU group for collaboration on food issues will, with support from external advisors from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Vinnova and the food industry, select the successful projects and the doctoral students in charge of them. The final decision will be made by SLU’s pro vice-chancellor for external collaboration


The selection of research projects and potential doctoral students will mainly be based on the following criteria:

How socially relevant is the project?

  • Relevance for the national food strategy.
  • Relevance for the employer.

Feasibility of the research project

  • Potential of the research project to result in a thesis topic.

Innovative nature

  • Degree of innovation.

Motivation and prerequisites

if there is already an intended doctoral student:

  • The doctoral student’s background and experience and potential to carry out third-cycle studies.
  • The intended doctoral student’s personal motivation.

Agreement, finance and other formalities


Financial details, IP rights, organisation and supervision, responsibility for the working environment etc. will be regulated in an agreement, which must be drawn up before the doctoral student admission application is sent to the faculty board.


The doctoral student’s employer will receive a grant of SEK 300.000 per year for five years from SLU as compensation for the doctoral student’s participation in the research project, provided the studies are carried out to the agreed extend and according to plan.

Travel costs, subsistence allowance, conference and course fees, etc. will be covered by the employer, within a framework defined in the agreement.

Intellectual property rights

Management of IPRs for research findings, for instance copyrights and patents, must follow current university and labour market regulations.

Any details and clarifications will be regulated in the agreement

Supervision and organisation

SLU will provide a main supervisor and at least one assistant supervisor. The employer must provide at least provide one supervisor from the company/organisation (who may be appointed assistant supervisor provided they have a doctoral degree). Both partners provide the equipment and infrastructure necessary for the thesis project. Details will be regulated by the agreement.

A dedicated group will be set up with the task to discuss and safeguard the interests of the doctoral student, both at the regular place of work and within the research project. The group must, at a minimum, consist of the doctoral student, the main supervisor, the head of the department where the student is admitted, the immediate manager at the student’s regular workplace and the LivsID project manager. When relevant, the doctoral student will be linked to the national LiFT research school.

Interaction between research at SLU and the employer will be developed as much as possible during the duration of the project. The main responsibility for this will rest with the employer and the LivsID project manager at SLU, not with the doctoral student. Activities are aimed at other employees at the company/organisation.


Selection process calendar

  • 31 October, Information meeting about how to submit project proposals. The meeting was webcasted and is available via this weblink: (only in Swedish).
    Watch the webcast here
  • 20 November: Deadline for sending in proposals.
  • 6 December, 1pm–4pm: An open “pitch event” will take place in Ultuna, where several proposals will have the opportunity to be presented in public in order to convince the evaluators.
  • 15 December: The final decision on the proposals selected for further developed is announced.


Where to send an expression of interest?

Please send your expression of interest to registrator@slu.se by Monday, 20 November 2017 at the latest. Mark it using the registration number SLU ua 2017.4.1-3908.

Frågor besvaras av

Bengt Persson, Senior Lecturer and External Collaboration Specialist
Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management                                                     
bengt.persson@slu.se, +46 40-41 51 41

Page editor: anna.bleckert@slu.se