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

A digital tool will replace the individual study plans that we now have on paper. The system has been tested in a smaller scale and is now up and running at four departments with newly admitted doctoral students. The implementation is being evaluated. A new version of the ISP system ("ISP2") was scheduled to arrive in February but has now been delayed until April. Implementation at other institutions will take place once the new version of ISP (ISP2) is tested and well-functioning

Background to why the system shall be used at KI

According to the Higher Education Ordinance every doctoral student should have an individual study plan that is decided on in consultation with the doctoral student and his or hers supervisors. In order to improve the quality of the individual study plans and to give a better support to all involved in the individual study plans, the Board of Doctoral Education has decided that KI should use a digital management tool, the ISP-system.

About the ISP system

The main supervisor creates an ISP in the system and thereafter the doctoral student and the supervisor can complete the ISP together.  At the time of creation data from Ladok will be retrieved so that, for example, completed courses and financing will be shown. The study plan is reviewed and approved electronically in the system and the form will be locked for editing at the time of approval (establishment). The form then becomes available in a pdf format. When it is time for an annual revision, half-time review or if the study plan is in need of revision for any other reason, the principal supervisor opens a new version of the study plan which then can be edited and there after approved. The system is designed so that both the progression of the student as well as any changes or additions should be documented at the annual follow-up or half-time review.

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

Some of the forms currently used related to the individual study plans will be discarded or revised when KI switches to digital management of study plans. 

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • giving a possibility to follow the students progression through her or his doctoral education.

How an ISP is created and established - the process

  1. The doctoral student is admitted to the doctoral education at KI. The admission is registered in Ladok by the department administrator
  2. The department administrator assigns roles to the supervisors.
  3. The principal supervisor creates the study plan. The doctoral student and the supervisors discuss the content of the individual study plan. The doctoral student and the principal supervisor edit the study plan, co-supervisors can only view the study plan.
  4. When the doctoral student and the supervisors are satisfied with the study plan the doctoral student approves the study plan, and the study plan enters the approval procedure. When the Director of doctoral education and the department administrator receives the study plant they control that the study plan fulfills the criteria and approve the study plan.
  5. The last step in the process is the approval by the person responsible at the department to establish individual study plans (most commonly the Director of doctoral education). 

Flow chart of the ISP process.

Time plan

Aug-Sep 2019

Department administrators, Directors of the doctoral education, principal supervisors and newly admitted doctoral students from NVS, KBH, CNS and MedS will be offered training in the ISP system.

Spring 2020

ISP2 is coming in April. The version must be tested and ensured that it works well before the other institutions can start using the system for their newly admitted doctoral students.

Training/workshops will be held for Department administrators, Directors of the doctoral education, principal supervisors and newly admitted doctoral students in preparation for that all Departments will start using the system.

Preliminary fall 2020

Doctoral students that are not newly admitted, but have not done their half-time, shall be entered in the ISP system at the latest 31st of December 2020.



All concerned staff from NVS, KBH, CNS and MedS will be offered training during 2019. Thereafter, training will be given during the spring of 2020. We aim to give the training as close to the starting point as possible. 

User guides and forms

Here are the user guides for the ISP system.

Project organisation

Project manager

Catherine Bollö

E-mail: Catherine.Bollö


Steering committee

Robert Harris, Chair, Academic Vice President for Doctoral Education

Erika Franzén, Vice-chair, Deputy-chairperson of the Committee for Doctoral Education

Kristina Broliden, Head of Department, Department of Medicine, Solna

Elias Arnér, Director of Doctoral Studies, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics

Åsa Nandorf, Object Manager, Head of Office, Education Support Office

Christopher Sönnerbrandt, Head of Unit, Unit for Admissions, Graduation and Dissertation

Leif Karlsson, Doctoral Student Representative


If you have any questions please contact