Go to eugreenalliance

Research presentation

Svend Erik Mathiassen

Svend Erik Mathiassen, Högskolan i Gävle.

Research presentation

Svend Erik Mathiassen

Professor in Work-related musculoskeletal disorder research

Research subject: Occupational Health Sciences

  • B.Sc., Biology, Physical Education
  • M.Sc., Work Physiology
  • PhD, Work physiology
  • Appointed associate Professsor, Occupational and Environmental Medicine; Lund University
  • Adjunct professor; Curtin University, Perth


  • Cost-efficient strategies for data collection and analysis
  • Motor variability in occupational tasks: individual patterns, occupational determinants and effects
  • Variation in physical and mental work load: measurement, occurrence, effects
  • Equality and justice in occupational work: gender and origin



2003 Graphic techniques in media; Teknik i Media, Malmö (3 weeks)    
2003 Popular Science in writing; Ordfront, Stockholm (1 week)    
1995 Science journalism; Upsala Nya Tidning, Uppsala (1 month)    
1993 PhD / Dr.Med.Sc., Work Physiology; Karolinska Institute / National Institute of Occupational Health, Stockholm
Thesis title: Variation in shoulder-neck activity — physiological, psychophysical and methodological studies of isometric exercise and light assembly work    
1986 M.Sc., Work Physiology; August Krogh Institute, Copenhagen University    
1981 B.Sc., Biology; Odense University    
1979 Advanced course in Statistics; Dept. of Mathematics, Odense University    
1974 B.Sc., Physical Education; Odense University


2008-2011 Head secretary; Scientific advisory committee on work environment issues, Ministry of Employment, Stockholm
2006- Professor in Work-related musculoskeletal disorder research; Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, University of Gävle
2004-2006 Guest Professor; Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, University of Gävle    
2004- Adjunct Professor; School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
2001-2004 Professor in Production Ergonomics; Faculty of Technology and Society, Malmö University
2003 Invited visiting researcher; Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, MA, USA    
1999-2001 Senior researcher, Production Ergonomics programme; Faculty of Technology and Society, Malmö University
1998- Appointed associate Professsor ("docent"); Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University
1993-1999 Senior Researcher; Dept. of Work and Health, National Institute for Working Life, Stockholm
1989-1993 Junior Researcher; Dept. of Work and Health, National Institute for Working Life, Stockholm    
1987-1989 PhD student; Dept. of Applied Work Physiology, National Institute of Occupational Health / Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
1982-1987 Teacher in Physiology and Biomechanics; School of Physiotherapy, Odense University, Denmark
1974-1984 Teacher in Biomechanics and Experimental Work Physiology; Dept. of Sports Sciences, Odense University, Denmark

Grants 2005-2020

2019 Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. Project “Retail 4.0? Work environment and inequality in e-retail” Grant: SEK 3.700.000.- (SvEM Co-applicant)

2019 Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. Project “Flexible work – opportunity and challenge” Grant: SEK 17.000.000.- (SvEM Co-applicant)

2018 AFA insurance, Stockholm. Project “The influence of psychosocial factors on physical load, pain and sickness absence in elderly care.” Grant: SEK 2.902.000.- (SvEM Co-applicant)

2017 Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. Project “Time patterns of physical load, performance and musculoskeletal disorders. A longitudinal study of male and female string players.” Grant: SEK 3.030.000.- (SvEM Co-applicant)

2016 Swedish Work Environment Authority. Project: “Equal health at work? Gender, work organisation and physical load in retail stores.”. Grant: SEK 3.200.000.-

2014 Swedish Work Environment Authority. Project: ”Physical variation and disorders in working life”. Grant: SEK 375.000.-

2013 AFA insurance, Stockholm. Project: ”Alternating physical and cognitive loads – effects on performance, fatigue and recovery”. Grant: SEK 3.569.000.-

2012 Swedish Work Environment Authority. Project: ”Physical work, gender, and health in working life. State of knowledge report”. Grant: SEK 600.000.-

2011 Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare / EU Marie Curie. Project ”Motor variability in occupational work: Determinants & physiological effects” (Post-doc grant, SvEM researcher in charge). Grant: SEK 3.050.000.- (SvEM scientifically responsible)

2010 AFA insurance, Stockholm. Project: ”Healthy flight loaders”. Grant: SEK 2.800.000.- (SvEM co-applicant)

2009 FAS, Stockholm. Centre of excellence "The body at work — from problem to potential" (Dnr 2009-1761). Grant: SEK 50.500.000.-

2006 National Institute for Working Life, Stockholm. Project: editing a new textbook in working life physiology. Grant SEK 450.000.-

2006 Prevent, Stockholm. Project: writing up a course book in basic industrial ergonomics. Grant: SEK 150.000.-

2005 Sparbanksstiftelsen Nya, Gävle. Project: “Ergopriset — profitable production through a good work environment". Grant: SEK 500.000.-

2005 FAS, Stockholm. Project "Cost-efficient collection and analysis of data on physical loads in working life — guidelines for practitioners" (Dnr 2005-0183). Grant: SEK 1.900.000.-

Scientific commitments

Expert assignments

2019- Member of expert committe reviewing associations between work enviroment factors and disorders in the neck, shoulders and arms, Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services

2018- Member of the scientific expert committee evaluating applications for research funding, AFA Insurance

2016-2019 Coordinator for Mid-Sweden in the VINNOVA-funded platform “Sustainable work as a resource for health, innovation and growth”

2014 Member of international expert committee evaluating the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen

2011-2014 Member of expert committe reviewing associations between work enviroment factors and low back disorders, The Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment

2010-2013 Expert member, prioritization committee Work, environment and Health, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (then FAS, now Forte)

2011 Chairman of the group developing the (successful) application of the University of Gävle to the Swedish Higher Education Authority for PhD examination rights in “Health-promoting working life”

2010- Numerous assignments in reference groups and expert committees, e.g. for the Swedish Work Environment Authority; the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Member of scientific evaluation committee / PhD thesis opponent:

Umeå University
Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg
Jönköping University
University of Southern Denmark, Odense
Norwegian University of Technology, Trondheim
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Erasmus University Rotterdam
University at Buffalo
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogota

Journal commitments

Assistant editor: Annals of Work Exposures and Health
Editorial board: Ergonomics, Applied Ergonomics

Appointed reviewer for the journals:

American Journal of Industrial Medicine; Applied Ergonomics; Ergonomics; European Journal of Applied Physiology; IMA Journal of Management Mathematics; International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics; Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology; Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health; Occupational and Environmental Medicine; Psychology & Health; Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health; Work and Stress

Invited keynotes at international conferences

8th International Conference on Prevention of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders, Busan, Korea 2013
Nordic Ergonomics Society Annual Congress, Stockholm 2012
Swedish Forum for Working Life Research, Luleå 2011
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 51st Annual Meeting, 2007, Baltimore.
IEA2006 conference "Diversity in Ergonomics", Maastricht 2006.
X2004 conference "Exposure assessment in a changing environment", Utrecht 2004.

Editorial commitments

Special Issue of J Electromyogr Kinesiol on Normalization of Trapezius EMG, 1995
Special issue of Int J Environ Res Public Health , titled "Physical Activity and Occupational Health in a 24/7 Perspective", 2020

International standardization

Appointed expert in SIS/TK120 “Ergonomics", and thus in ISO/TC159/SC3 “Anthropometry/Biomechanics" and CEN/TC122/WG4 “Biomechanics".

Organisation of scientific courses, workshops, etc

Co-organizer of the Nordic symposium “EMG amplitude as an indicator of upper trapezius load- how do we calibrate?"; National Institute of Occupational Health, Stockholm, February 1994
Co-organizer of COPE-workshop "Methods for collecting and analysing data on mechanical exposure in developing production systems"; National Institute for Working Life, Stockholm, March 1999
Organizer of workshop "Exposure assessment in intervention studies - design of efficient measurement strategies" vid konferensen "X2001 — Exposure assessment in epidemiology and practice", Göteborg 2001 (co-operation with AJ van der Beek, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Co-organizer of two sessions "More variation in the job: will it improve musculoskeletal health?" at the XVth Triennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association in Seoul, August 2003 (co-operation with Paul Kuijer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Mardy Frazer, University of Waterloo, Canada)
Co-organizer of session “Exposure assessment strategies" at the 17th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, Beijing, August 2009 (co-operation with Jens Wahlström, Dept Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Umeå University).
Member of the scientific board for several conferences in musculoskeletal disorders and occupational exposure assessment.



Main supervisor

Susanna Mixter, current PhD student
Jennie Jackson, PhD 2017
Eva Bergsten, PhD 2017
Mahmoud Rezagholi, PhD 2012
Per Liv, PhD 2012
Therese Möller, Licentiate 2001


Johanna Edvinsson, current PhD student
Sofie Bjärntoft, current PhD student
Monica Kaltenbrunner, PhD 2020
Malin Håkansson PhD 2019
Peter Palm, PhD 2017
Marina Ciccarelli, PhD 2009
Inger Arvidsson, PhD 2008
Gerd Flodgren, PhD 2007
Catarina Nordander, PhD 2004
Patric Neumann, PhD 2005
Susanne Svendsen, PhD 2003
Nils Petersson, Licentiate 1997
Monica Attebrant, Licentiate 1995

Leadership and administrative experience

During the years 1993-2001, co-responsible for building up the Production Ergonomics research group at the National Institute for Working Life (head: professor Jörgen Winkel).

Since 2004 research director at the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, University in Gävle. This includes responsibility for:
- quality development, planning, surveillance and evaluation of the R&D of the Centre, including budget proposals and allocation
- initiating activities for increased external funding of the R&D
- initiating, developing and sustaining national and international R&D co-operations
- national and international visibility of the Centre
- promoting, developing, implementing and surveilling commissioned R&D

Since 2009 chief coordinator for the national R&D centre “The Body at Work — from problem to potential", funded by the Swedish Research Council for Working Life and SocialResearch (FAS).

Numerous administrative assignments at the University of Gävle

Published by: Svend Erik Mathiassen Page responsible: Magnus Isaksson Updated: 2020-02-19
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)