The ISP-system, a digital tool for individual study plans for doctoral students

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In December 2017 KI will implement a digital tool intended for support of writing, approving and follow-up of individual study plans for doctoral students. Main users will be doctoral students, supervisors, directors of doctoral studies and educational administrators.


According to the Higher Education Ordinance every doctoral student should have an individual study plan that is decided in consultation with the doctoral student and his or hers supervisors. In order to improve the support to the organization regarding individual study plans, the Board of doctoral education has decided to implement a digital tool. The tool will support the organization by improving internal reports, as well as simplifying the follow-up of the individual progression of each doctoral student. The ISP-system is developed by Gothenburg University and has been in use since 2014. In 2016 and 2017 KTH and two faculties at Lund University have, in addition to KI, started a collaboration with Gothenburg University regarding the system.

On the ISP-system

The system is based on a form filled in by the doctoral student and the principal supervisor. The form becomes available as a study plan in pdf format. The study plan is reviewed and approved electronically in the system and the form will be locked for editing at the time of approval. When the study plan is in need of revision, the principal supervisor opens a new version of the study plan which can be edited and there after approved.

The ISP system is web-based and therefore also accessible outside KI's network.

Some of the forms currently used when writing and revising individual study plans will be discarded or revised when KI switches to digital management of study plans. For this reason, the document management plan for doctoral studies will also be revised.

The ISP-system improves the handling of individual study plans by for example:

  • ensuring that correct users are involved in the approval of a study plan.
  • sending an email when a user has a study plan waiting for approval.
  • including a message log where users can write messages to each other. A director of doctoral studies can for example write a message to a doctoral student with information regarding necessary improvements before the study plan can be approved, when returning it to the doctoral student.
  • sending an automatically generated reminder to the doctoral student and principal supervisor when it is time for the annual review.
  • retrieving data on finished courses and transferred credits from Ladok.
  • providing the most recent study plan and previous versions electronically.
  • providing access to all study plans a user has access to, for example, a supervisor has access to all study plans for his/hers doctoral students and a director of doctoral studies has access to all study plans at his/hers department.

Time plan

The ISP system is scheduled to be implemented in December 2017, and tested at a few of the departments represented in the project group. From March 2018 the system should be in use at all departments at KI. During the first phase of implementation, new doctoral students will use the tool for writing and creating the study plan. Thereafter, study plans for already admitted doctoral students will be incorporated in the system. A strategy for already admitted doctoral students will be decided during spring 2018 by the project steering committee.

Project organisation

Steering committee

Marianne Schultzberg Chair, Dean doctoral education
Lennart Nilsson Vice-chair, Pro-Dean doctoral education
Kristina Broliden Head of department, Dep of medicine, Solna
Elias Arnér Director of doctoral studies, Dep of medical biochemistry and biophysics
Åsa Nandorf Object manager, Education support office, 
Christopher Sönnerbrandt Head of study administrative unit, Education support office
Leif Karlsson Doctoral student representative

Project group

Maria Ankarcrona Director of doctoral studies, Dep of neurobiology, care sciences and society
Matti Nikkola Director of doctoral studies, Dep of cell and molecular biology
Michael Fored Director of doctoral studies, Dep of medicine, Solna
Jan-Bernd Stukenborg Supervisor, Dep of women’s and children’s health
Anna Sandberg Educational administrator, Dep of women’s and children’s health
Sofia Pettersson Educational administrator, Dep of physiology and pharmacology
Karin Vågstrand Coordinator doctoral studies, Faculty office and international relations
Leif Karlsson Doctoral student representative


Project manager

Anna-Karin Kolseth

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 864 70

Doctoral education