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

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During spring 2018 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.

Access requirements for applicants to doctoral education and principal supervisors

Applicants to doctoral education are assigned the role "Doctoral student" in the ISP system to enable them to write their individual study plan before they are admitted to doctoral education. 

The following requirements have to be met by the applicant in order to be granted access to the ISP system and assigned the role "doctoral student"

  • The applicant must have approved eligibiltiy to doctoral education, both general and specific entry requirements.
  • The principal supervisor must have obtained green light for the doctoral project.
  • The principal supervisor must have attended and passed the web course for supervisors for doctoral students at KI.

The principal supervisor can not create a study plan for applicants who do not have the role  "doctoral student" in the system. The above requirements for the principal supervisor must be met for each individual applicant to doctoral education.

Doctoral students with an approved individual study plan do not need to fulfil these requirements.

Process and procedure

At admittance to doctoral education

Flow chart of the process at admission to doctoral education with the ISP system is found here.

  1. Department administrator assigns roles to the prospective doctoral student and supervisors.
  2. The principal supervisor creates the study plan. The prospective doctoral student and the supervisors discuss the content of the individual study plan. The prospective doctoral student and the principal supervisor edit the study plan, co-supervisors can only view the study plan.
  3. Depending on processes at the department there are different alternatives of which two is given here. Alternative 1: Prospective doctoral student prints the study plan before it enters the approval procedure. The printed study plan is attached to the application for admission to doctoral studies. Alternative 2: When the prospective doctoral student and the supervisors are satisifed with the study plan the prospective doctoral student approves the study plan, and the study plan enters the approval procedure. When the Director of doctoral education and the departmnet adminsitrator receives the study plant they control that the study plan fulfills the requirement for an application. If everything is ok the prospective doctoral student may send in the application for admission. If, instead, the study plan needs to be improven the prospective doctoral student is given feed back on needed improvements. After revision the prospective doctoral student may send in the application for admission.
  4. The prospective doctoral student gives the admission seminar. The study plan is revised according to comments from the admission board and the requests from the Director of doctoral education. The study plan is approved by the prospective doctoral student and enters the approval procedure.
  5. When the Director of doctoral education approves the revisions, the Head of the department may decide on admission, supervisor combination and financing plan. The decission is taken outside the ISP system.
  6. If the Head of department approves the admission the study plan is established in the ISP system.
  7. The admission is registrered in Ladok by the department administrator.

At yearly and new establishment

Flow charts of processes at yearly and new establishment of an individual study plan in the ISP-system is found here.

An individual study plan shall be revised and established

  • at yearly revsion.
  • at half-time review.
  • after decision on new supervisor combination.
  • after decsion on change of department and/or subject.

Time plan


New prospective doctoral students write their study plan in the ISP system.

Doctoral students doing their half time review after the implementation of the ISP system should transfer their individual study plan to the ISP system.


The departments may decide if and when doctoral students having one or ceveral years left to half time review and doctoral students who has conducted their half time review should transfer their individual study plan to the ISP system. Transfer to the ISP system can for example be conducted at yearly follw up.

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

If you have any questions you are welcome to contact

Doctoral education