Hybrid thesis defences

Public defences at KI, doctoral and licentiate, will take place on site with participants present in the room, but it is also possible to combine this with digital participation, creating a hybrid thesis defence.

Thesis defences - beyond the pandemic

From October 2021, the following options are available for a thesis defence at KI:

  1. Everyone is physically present in the room 
  2. One or more members of the examination board and/or the opponent participate remotely using digital solutions (read more below)
  3. An audience is present in the room, but another audience is also taking part through digital solutions (read more below)
  4. A combination of 2 and 3.

The respondent and the chairperson must be present in person. Exceptions can be made if exceptional reasons apply (e.g. an ongoing pandemic) upon the approval of the Dissertation Committee (apply via form 12.1).

Remote participation by examination board or opponent

Members of the examination board and the opponent can participate at a thesis defence through digital solutions, under the condition that this is not affected the quality of the examination or the quality of the public defence act.

It is desirable that all are present on site, but by allowing remote participation more international scientist could be chosen to participate in KI’s public defences. It is also in line with KI’s work for sustainable development to decrease the number of airfares. 

How to assure high quality defence act:

  • All members of the examination board and the opponent must be present throughout the examination. This means that the technology must work throughout the seminar for both those present at the location and for those participating online.    
  • Those participating digitally must, before the start of the defence, exchange phone numbers with the chair of the defence. Contact must be taken as soon as the technology fails.
  • The Chairperson inform everyone at the beginning which practical routines apply, for example how to raise hand, if the video shall be turned off when not speaking, if everyone is responsible for their own microphone or if someone else is in charge, etc. 
  • If the technology is faulty, the Chairperson must suspend the defence until the issue has been rectified. 
  • It is recommended to appoint a person, other than the Chairperson, to be in charge of the technology.

Information on the public defence

Online audience

A thesis defence must be public. This is achieved by announcing the address to an easily accessible venue where the defence will take place, and by allowing the audience who come to the venue to interact with the respondent.

Beside this, it is also possible to allow on online audience. The purpose of this is to make it easier for people to participate in KI’s public defences, and to facilitate for collaboration partners. 

The online audience must be aware of that the seminar not necessarily will be interrupted if technical problems occur, and that there is no guarantee that they can interact with the respondent. 

When making the decision if an online audience should be invited or not, the wish of the doctoral student as well as technical limitations and the content of the research should be taken into consideration.

Online audience is allowed under the following conditions:

  • It must be in the interest of the doctoral student. The supervisors as well as the KI department have a responsibility to assess what is in the interest of the doctoral student.
  • The online audience must me informed about the difference between being physical on site or being part of a digital audience, see above.
  • Opponent, respondent, chairperson, examination board members and supervisors must all be informed that the defence will be available online. It is only these persons that should be visible online, not the audience in the room. 


  • Should the link to the webinar be spread widely or only to a specific group? Think especially of any collaboration partners.
  • Do not use social media to spread the link.
  • Are there reasons for not inviting online audience? Could that imply any unwanted consequences.
  • Be aware of that you have any control over if someone records or copy parts of the defence act.
  • Make sure that the room you choose is suitable for hybrid defence
  • Make sure that there is a person in the room in charge of the technology
  • Test the technology in good time before the defence!

Digital tools 

There are different technical solutions available. Below is a description of the difference between Zoom-webinar and Zoom-meeting, but there are also similar solutions using Teams. 

Appoint a person in charge of the technology. 

Rooms adapted for hybrid education (in Swedish)

Public defence as a Zoom webinar

  • Suitable for a large online audience.
  • License: An individual licence must be bought, using the purchasing tool Wisum, in good time before the defence. It costs 600 SEK and is valid for 1 year. The license owner is the person hosting the webinar. The license cannot be used at more than one defence at a time.
  • Host/Chair: The chair of the defence and the person in charge of the technology must both be wither host or co-host at the webinar. If someone else is the owner of the license, the owner must appoint the co-hosts at the beginning of the webinar. 
  • Panelists: If the opponent or examination board members are participating digitally, they should be appointed as Panelists at the webinar. Panelists use a different link than the audience. Tip: Send an extra e-mail with the link to the panelist(s) the same morning.
  • Security: Webinars cannot be sabotaged by Zoom bombers and is therefore a more secure alternative than Zoom meetings. 

Public defence as a Zoom-meeting

  • Suitable when there are only a few people participating digitally.
  • Advantages: 
    • No individual license needed
    • More flexibility regarding who can be host
    • Easier to have a dialogue with the audience
  • Security: If a Zoom meeting is used instead of webinar for online audience be aware that a Zoom-meeting is easier to interrupt and potentially sabotage than a webinar. To minimize the risk of sabotage, use the following instructions:
    • The “waiting room” option should be used (default in KI Zoom). This is the only way to remove a saboteur. You cannot activate the waiting room after the meeting has started.  
    • Activate the option to mute all microphones on entry by default.
    • Limit the number of people that can share their screen. 
    • Do not spread the Zoom link through social media such as Twitter!

The Dissertation Committee

Questions about the public defence