”Green light” – approval of a supervisor before the start of a new doctoral project

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The purpose with "green light" is to assure that all doctoral students at KI have the opportunities and resources needed for a high quality doctoral education. "Green light" is a tool for interfering at an early stage to avoid situations where some of the prerequisites for a good doctoral education are missing.  


To get a "green light" means that the department has given its approval to an intended principal supervisor to recruit a doctoral student. All supervisors must apply for a "green light" even if the doctoral student is recruited in other ways than through advertising, for example when the intended doctoral student is employed by SLL.

The "green light" routine does not replace the admission seminar or diminish the responsibility of the admission board. The admission board will make a full assessment of all aspects (the doctoral student, the scientific project, time plan, co-supervisors etc), at a later stage, while the ‘green light’ is focused on the supervisor and is made at a much earlier stage.

A "green light" is normally only valid for a specific doctoral project and should not be considered as a general approval to supervise. One application is needed for each potential new doctoral student.

Application and assessment

An application for "green light" is filed by the intended principal supervisor as early as possible in the process leading to the admission of a new doctoral student.

Please contact the director of doctoral studies, the administrator of doctoral education or the human resource administration of your department for more information.

An assessment will be done of the suitability as supervisor, previous track record and available time for supervision, as well as the financial resources of the applicant.


The "green light" decision is made by the head of the department together with at least two other people at the department (usually the director of doctoral studies and head of administration).

A new doctoral student can from 1 January 2018 only be admitted to doctoral education at KI on the premises that the main supervisor can present an approved "green light" decision at the admission seminar.

Denied "green light"

If an application for "green light" is denied the decision has to be accompanied by a clear and articulate written motivation.

Examples of reasons for a denied application:

  • Lacking financial resources
  • Has already a large number of doctoral students and has neither time nor space for more.  
  • Has been involved in one or more conflicts with previous doctoral students
  • Has done inappropriate ethical assessments at a number of occasions.
  • Has shown lack of accessibility or support in the learning process of earlier doctoral students.

If an application is declined the applicant has the right to apply again if the situation has changed. If a supervisor has moved to another department, the new department has to be informed of previous decisions. The new department has to make their own assessment.  


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