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

A prospective principal supervisor must get a ”green light” from the department in order to recruit a new doctoral student. This contribute to ensuring that all doctoral students have the prerequisites for a good doctoral education


A green light is an assessment of the suitability as supervisor; track-record, time to supervise and financial resources. Without a green light a principal supervisor cannot be appointed, nor can a doctoral student be recruited.

Green light is part of the assessment done when a supervisor applies for establishing a doctoral position. More information on the admission process.

A green light can in some situations be issued separately from the decision of establishing a doctoral position, for example for a KID-application or when a new principal supervisor is to be appointed during ongoing doctoral education.

Assessment and decision

An application for "green light" is filed by the intended principal supervisor as an attachment to the application for establishing a doctoral position. It is the department where the doctoral student will be registered that process the application.


The 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).

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.