Karolinska Institutet

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Karolinska Institute
Karolinska Institutet
Motto Att förbättra människors hälsa (To improve human health)
Established 1810
Type Medical University
President Anders Hamsten
Admin. staff 3,800 (2012)[1]
Students 6,200 (FTE, 2012)[1]
Doctoral students 2,300 (2012)[1]
Location Solna, Stockholm County, Sweden
Campus Urban
Colors      KI Plum
Website www.ki.se

Karolinska Institutet (often translated from Swedish into English as the Karolinska Institute, the -et being a definite article, and in older texts often as the Royal Caroline Institute) is a medical university in Solna within the Stockholm urban area, Sweden, and one of Europe's largest and most prestigious medical universities. It was founded in 1810 on Kungsholmen on the west side of Stockholm; the main campus was relocated decades later to Solna, just outside Stockholm. A second campus was established more recently in Flemingsberg, Huddinge, south of Stockholm.

Karolinska Institute is Sweden's third oldest medical school, after Uppsala University (founded in 1477) and Lund University (founded in 1666). Research at Karolinska Institute accounts for more than 40% of all academic research in Sweden.[2] Karolinska Institute consistently ranks among the top universities in the world on a number of prestigious ranking tables, and Karolinska Institute is currently ranked among the top 10 medical universities in world.[3] According to the 2012 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Karolinska Institute is ranked 32nd worldwide, 5th in Europe directly behind Oxford university, Cambridge university and UCL, 1st in the Nordic region [4] and according to the 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities, Karolinska Institute is ranked 11th in the world in the field of clinical medicine and pharmacology, 18th in life sciences and 3rd in pharmacy.[5]

The Karolinska University Hospital, located in Solna and Huddinge, is associated with the university as a research and teaching hospital. Together they form an academic health science centre. It is one of Sweden's largest centres for training and research, accounting for 30 percent of the medical training and 40 percent of the medical academic research conducted nationwide. While most of the medical programs are taught in Swedish, the bulk of the Ph.D. projects are conducted in English.

A committee of the institute appoints the laureates for the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet is a body at Karolinska Institutet that awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The Nobel Assembly consists of fifty professors from various medical disciplines at the Karolinska Institute.



Karolinska Institutet was founded by Charles XIII of Sweden on 13 December 1810, following the Finnish War, as a training center for army surgeons.

Charles XIII of Sweden wearing the Order of Charles XIII in red

The original name was at first 'Medico-Chirurgiska Institutet'. In 1817 the prefix Karolinska was added as a reference to the then-Swedish king Karl XIII (Carolus in Latin).[6] The full name thus became Kongliga Carolinska Medico Chirurgiska Institutet.[7] In 1968, this name was abbreviated to 'Karolinska Institutet'.

19th century[edit]

  • 1810 Karolinska Institutet is founded by Kung Karl XIII on 13 December 1810.
  • 1811 Karolinska Institutet is licensed to train not only surgeons but medical practitioners in general.
  • 1813 As one of KI's first professors, Jöns Jacob Berzelius lays the foundations of KI's scientific orientation.
  • 1816 The newly inaugurated institute is named "Carolinska Institutet", a title that never really makes an an impact. "Carolinska Medico Chirurgiska institutet", however, proves more popular, especially when preceded by the epithet "Kongliga" (Royal), as introduced in 1822. It is in connection with the student revolt of 1968 that the name is shortened to Karolinska Institutet, or KI as it is now commonly known.
  • 1861 The institute is awarded the right to confer degrees and is granted a status equal to that of a university.
  • 1866 The old building on the Glasbruk plot is torn down and replaced by a new, larger one. The new institute is built in stages, mostly during the 1880s and into the first decade of the 20th century.
  • 1874 KI is licensed to confer medical degrees. Previously, even though the institute could run courses in medicine, the right to confer medical degrees was almost exclusively that of Uppsala University.
  • 1875 The first doctoral thesis is defended at KI by Alfred Levertin, with his "Om Torpa Källa".
  • 1877 The Medical Students' Union is formed.
  • 1878 Stockholm University College is inaugurated, but without a medical faculty as Karolinska Institutet is already established as a separate medical institute in Stockholm.
  • 1884 In May, Karolina Widerström is the first woman to obtain a Bachelor's degree in medicine from Karolinska Institutet.
  • 1888 In May, Karolina Widerström goes on to obtain a Licentiate degree in medicine from Karolinska Institutet, and chooses to specialise in women's medicine and gynaecology.
  • 1895 Alfred Nobel's testament bequeaths Karolinska Institutet the right to select the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • 1897 The Institute of Dentistry is incorporated into Karolinska Institutet (becomes independent again in 1947).

20th century[edit]

  • 1900 Anna Stecksén is the first woman to obtain a doctoral degree from Karolinska Institutet. Her thesis is entitled: "Studie öfver Curtis blastomyocel - från svulst - etiologisk synpunkt".
  • 1906 The first conferment ceremony takes place at KI.
  • 1930 The Swedish parliament decides that a new teaching hospital is to be built on Norrbacka in Solna, with its theoretical and practical functions side by side. The chief architect is Carl Westman. The hospital is named Karolinska Hospital after a proposal by Karolinska Institutet.
  • 1937 Nanna Svartz is appointed professor at Karolinska Institutet, becoming Sweden's first state-employed female professor.

KI's departments for radiophysics and radiopathology move into the Radiumhemmet building on Norrbacka, the first building of the new Karolinska Hospital.

  • 1940 The main Karolinska Hospital building reaches completion and is officially opened. The Department of Public Health, KI's first building in the hospital complex, also opens.
  • 1945 KI moves in its entirety from Kungsholmen to the Norrbacka area in Solna, now KI's Solna Campus.

Over 350 students take their PhD degree each year. Photo: Ulf Sirborn 1955 Hugo Theorell becomes KI's first Nobel Laureate, receiving the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning the nature and mode of action of oxidation enzymes.

  • 1959 The Stockholm Institute of Physiotherapy is incorporated into KI.
  • 1964 The Speech Pathology and Therapy programme commences.

The University College of Dentistry becomes an odontological faculty at KI.

The future Huddinge Hospital is upgraded as a new teaching and research hospital, operating in partnership with KI.

  • 1965 Astrid Fagréus becomes the second female professor at Karolinska Institutet. By now, KI has around fifty professors.
  • 1967 Ragnar Granit is KI's second Nobel Laureate, receiving a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions to the analysis of retinal function and how optical nerve cells respond to light stimuli, colour and frequency.

The medical information centre for computer-based citation research (MIC) is set up, making Karolinska Institutet the first MEDLARS CENTRE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System) outside the USA.

  • 1970 Ulf von Euler is KI's third Nobel Laureate, receiving a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions for discoveries concerning the humoral transmittors in the nerve terminals and the mechanism for their storage, release and inactivation.
  • 1972 Huddinge Hospital opens as a new university hospital. As more and more of Karolinska Institutet's departments start to move into the hospital buildings, the area is gradually developed to become what is today KI's Huddinge Campus.
  • 1976 Sweden's first toxicology programme commences at KI.
  • 1977 The Stockholm Institute of Physiotherapy closes, and the study programme is transferred to a new physiotherapy department at KI.
  • 1979 The psychotherapy programme commences.
  • 1982 Sune Bergström and Bengt Samuelsson become the fourth and fifth Nobel Laureates, receiving a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning prostaglandins and related biologically active substances.

The NOVUM research centre is built in Huddinge, with the foundations for biotechnology, oral biology, nutrition and toxicology, and structural biochemistry.

  • 1993 The KI93 reorganisation is implemented, which involves reducing 150 departments to 30.

The dental technology programme commences.

  • 1994 The optometry programme commences.
  • 1995 Karolinska Institutet Holding AB is formed and the institute intensifies its relations with the business community.

The biomedicine programme commences.

  • 1996 Karolinska Innovations AB is formed to help scientists commercialise their own discoveries.
  • 1997 Karolinska Institutet is granted official status as a university, with a mission to "contribute to the improvement of human health through research, education and information".
  • 1998 The Stockholm University of Health Sciences is incorporated into KI, bringing with it seven new study programmes: occupational therapy, audionomy, midwifery, biomedical laboratory science, nursing, radiology nursing and dental hygiene.

The public health science programme commences. The KI prospectus now comprises a total of 19 study programmes.

There are also now three student unions: The Medical Students' Union, the Dental Students' Union, and the Physiotherapy Students' Union.

  • 1999 The medical and odontological faculties are merged and a new three-board management organisation is introduced, with one board each for research, postgraduate education and higher education.

21st century[edit]

  • 2000 Karolinska Education AB and Karolinska Research Services AB are formed.
  • 2001 The medical informatics programme commences.
  • 2004 Karolinska Institutet appoints its first female president - Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, professor of integrative physiology.
  • 2006 The podiatry programme commences.

The one and two-year Master's programmes commence.

  • 2007 The psychology programme commences.
  • 2008 Karolinska Institutet's fundraising campaign, with its target of raising an extra 1 billion kronor for research between 2007 and 2010, passes the 600 million mark.
  • 2009 King Karl XVI Gustaf consents to become the Royal Patron of the Karolinska Institutet bicentenary.
  • 2010 Karolinska Institutet celebrates its 200th anniversary!
  • 2013 Professor Anders Hamsten assumes his new position as vice chancellor of Karolinska Institutet.


Karolinska Institutet offers the widest range of medical education under one roof in Sweden. Several of the programmes include clinical training or other training within the healthcare system.The close proximity of the Karolinska University Hospital and other teaching hospitals in the Stockholm area thus plays an important role during the education. Approximately 6,000 full-time students are taking educational and single subject courses at Bachelor and Master levels at Karolinska Institutet.

Departments of research (by location)[edit]

Campus Solna

Karolinska Hospital, Solna

Campus Huddinge


Rankings and reputation[edit]

Celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2010, Karolinska is a top global medical university and a member of the 22-strong League of European Research Universities. On two campuses it covers the gamut of research and clinical medicine and pharmacology, with a faculty of more than 2,300 serving around 8,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. For the year 2013, Academic ranking of world universities ranks Karolinska Institutet at number 44 overall in the world, and number 11 in the world/number 2 in Europe in the field of Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy. For the year of 2013/2014, Karolinska Institutet is placed at overall number 36 in the world and number 7 in Europe as well as number 14 in the world and number 6 in Europe among Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health Universities. For the year of 2014, QS World University Rankings ranks Karolinska Institutet the top 16th university in the world within the subject of medicine, and the 5th in Europe, and the top 7th university in the world within the subject of pharmacy and pharmacology, and the 6th in Europe.[8]

Karolinska Institutet is not measured in the overall university ranking of QS since being a multi-faculty university is one of their requirements.

Karolinska University Hospital[edit]

Karolinska University Hospital is one of Scandinavia’s premier health facilities. Together with the world-respected Karolinska Institutet, it leads in medical break throughs in Sweden. Karolinska University Hospital has a primary responsibility to deliver highly specialized care to patients in the Stockholm area. The hospital also serves many patients from other parts of Sweden and from countries around the world.

Notable alumni or faculty[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual report 2013" (PDF) (in Swedish). Swedish Higher Education Authority (Högskoleverket). 2013. 
  2. ^ http://ki.se/en/research-at-ki.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ http://www.topuniversities.com/courses/medicine/top-10-universities-medicine.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "THE World University Rankings 2011-2012". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 32 Oct 2011. 
  5. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities in Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy 2012". ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. Retrieved 26 Jun 2013. 
  6. ^ Ljunggren,, Bengt; Bruyn, George W. (2002). The Nobel Prize in Medicine and the Karolinska Institute: The Story of Axel Key and Alfred Nobel. Karger Publishers. p. 22. ISBN 9783805572972. 
  7. ^ "KIs historia". Karolinska Institutet. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  8. ^ "KIs rankings". Karolinska Institutet. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°20′56″N 18°01′36″E / 59.34889°N 18.02667°E / 59.34889; 18.02667