Deadline: 22.04.2024

Doctoral Student in Business Administration (Service Design and Sustainability), based at CTF/

Karlstad University


The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is accepting applications for a doctoral position leading to a PhD in Business Administration with a specialisation in service design for circular business. The doctoral student will be employed by Karlstad Business School ( and based at the interdisciplinary research unit Service Research Center, CTF (

Karlstad Business School is AACSB-accredited and was established in 2009, and comprises the disciplines Working Life Science, Business Administration, Information Systems, Law, Economics, and Statistics. The mission of Karlstad Business School is “We educate responsible professionals and conduct research with high societal impact”, which permeates all of our activities.

CTF is a world leading research center in value creation through service experiences, including domains such as service design, service innovation, and service management. Service experiences are key to competitive advantage, whether product-enabled (think devices), platform-enabled (think web/app solutions), or human-enabled (think people interactions). As an interdisciplinary research center, we internally combine various knowledge areas to tackle complex challenges, such as guiding firms in the transition to circular business models. Approximately 80 researchers are based at CTF, including about ten professors and 20 doctoral students (more information about CTF here We also work closely together with international researchers and centers, having built a strong research network with universities across the globe. Finally, CTF has a long history of closely collaborating with leading industry players, having extensive experience in setting up, engaging with, and driving successful university-industry partnerships.

Karlstad Business School and CTF comprise a vibrant PhD student community with significant professional and social activities that strengthen the PhD journey.


The doctoral position locates within a broader research area connecting service design and sustainability, considering both the development of novel circular solutions and designing organisations for such solutions through service design. Research can be connected to and conducted in collaboration with Swedish companies that aim to transition to circular business. The project will apply principles of circular economies, while considering necessary characteristics of circular solutions (products/services) and circular business more broadly. This involves exploring and potentially testing new ideas aiming to generate demand for products and services that contribute to circular economies, including reference to a consumer and management perspective.

A doctoral student is primarily expected to engage in doctoral studies. The doctoral program consists of 240 higher education credits, including the doctoral thesis. The doctoral student is expected to work independently and be prepared to contribute to the activities and development of the subject and the department. Teaching and administration may also be included in the duties, but will not constitute more than 20% of full-time. To contribute to a positive work environment and further the department’s activities, we expect the doctoral students to be present and an active part of the day-to-day operations and workplace community.

Qualification requirements

To be eligible for doctoral studies, the applicant must meet the general and specific entry requirements (Higher Education Ordinance, Chap. 7, Sect. 35).

To meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have been awarded a master’s degree. This includes the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded as part of the master’s, or acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad (Higher Education Ordinance 7, Sect. 39).

To meet the specific entry requirements for doctoral studies in Business Administration, the applicant must have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 120 credits shall be in Business Administration. The studies at Master’s level shall comprise at least 30 credits in Business Administration, of which 15 credits shall consist of an independent project. The requirements for subject courses and independent projects can be replaced by studies in a corresponding discipline or major field of study

Admission and assessment criteria

To be eligible for doctoral studies, the applicant must be considered to have the ability required to benefit from the program (Higher Education Ordinance, Chap. 7, Sect. 35). Admission is based on individual assessment.

The assessment prioritises the quality and relevance of the PhD project proposal, which should include the theoretical problem, methodological considerations and theoretical contributions, linking service design and circular business. Assessment considers the quality and relevance of the methodological and theoretical choices, as well as the consistency and coherence between the problem and the choice of method and theory. Assessment further considers rigour and feasibility of the research proposal. Finally, the applicant’s ability to complete the PhD project proposal will be assessed, as well as the relevance of the PhD project proposal to the PhD program and research agenda at CTF. We also appreciate documented knowledge about service design (or similar areas such as design thinking, human-centred design, experience design), as well as a keen interest in circular economies.

Further assessment includes the applicant’s performance in previous studies, the quality of independent projects completed during these studies, and whether the applicant intends to be a present and active part of the research environment. Applicants must have a good command of English, especially in writing, since the doctoral thesis and publications that will be produced as part of the research project will be written in English. A good command of the Swedish language is an advantage (but not a necessity), since data collection might include interviews and surveys conducted in Swedish. Experience of prior research work of relevance to the position and broader research environment is an advantage, while qualitative and quantitative methods are both appreciated. Considerable weight will also be given to personal qualities such as the ability to cooperate, sound judgement, taking responsibility, commitment and a positive attitude towards colleagues and students.


Upon admission to doctoral studies, the person will be offered the appointment of doctoral student (Higher Education Ordinance, Chap. 5, Sect. 3). The position comprises four years of full-time studies, or five years at a study rate of 80% with 20% teaching or other departmental duties. The position is fixed-term — one year initially, followed by possible extensions by a maximum of two years at a time. Start date by agreement. The salary for the doctoral studentship corresponds to the standard level of salary for doctoral students at Karlstad University.

  • Salary setting for Doctoral students

The admission and employment are subject to necessary decisions.

Further information

Karlstad University places great value on the enriching presence of diverse backgrounds and gender balance in the organisation. We welcome applicants with different cultural backgrounds, gender identities, functional abilities, and life experiences.


Submit the application via the University’s web-based recruitment tool, Varbi. Applicants are responsible for submitting a complete application in accordance with the advertisement and for ensuring that the documentation allows for objective and qualitative assessments. A complete application should be submitted by the application deadline. An incomplete application may jeopardise a fair assessment of qualifications. Include two references, such as a teacher, supervisor, or previous or current manager.

The application should include:

  • a cover letter where the applicant details the reasons behind their interest in the position,
  • a research proposal in English linked to a key area outlined in this call linking service design and circular business (to be no more than 5 pages double-spaced, font size 12, excluding references)
  • a list of qualifications (CV),
  • degree certificate with a complete transcript of the courses included, or a certified list of completed courses with grades and dates,
  • copy of Master’s thesis or equivalent,
  • where applicable, copies of publications or certificates for other qualifications,
  • any letters of recommendation,

Attach all the documents and publications you wish to be considered to the electronic application (do not just provide links). Name each uploaded document to clearly indicate its content. Documents that cannot be submitted electronically should be sent to the following address:

Karlstads universitet
HR Administrator Hanna Ljungdahl

State the REK 2024/57

Application deadline: April 22, 2024


Applicants with qualifications from abroad

If you have qualifications from a university outside Sweden or if they have not been recognised by a Swedish authority before, it is important that you attach degree certificates and official transcripts to facilitate the recognition of foreign qualifications. Provide a contact for the degree-awarding institution (phone number or email) who can verify your qualifications.


We look forward to your application!

Karlstad University has chosen advertising channels for this recruitment and firmly declines any contact with advertising or recruitment agencies.

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment By agreement
Salary By local collective agreement
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100 %
City Karlstad
County Värmlands län
Country Sweden

Apply Link


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