Licentiate seminar application
You should prepare your licentiate seminar application well in advance – ideally three months or more – of your chosen defence date.
- Book a venue for your chosen defence date on a weekday during semester-time. The venue must be located in the Stockholm region so that KI’s students and staff can attend. Venues are booked through your own department.
- Contact your opponent and the members of the Examination Board to make sure that they are available on the date in question, and that the board members are able to take part in the preliminary review of the constituent papers of your thesis. Appoint a coordinator from the board and inform him/her of his/her role (see Information to Examination Board).
- Contact the printing shop to find out how long it will take to have your thesis printed. Request permission to publish from the relevant journals and obtain an ISBN. See Printing your thesis.
A suitable time interval between the meetings of the Dissertation Committee and your desired defence date is about ten weeks. If the time is less than seven weeks, the application will not be considered. This is to protect you from having to postpone your defence if the process is delayed for some reason. A defence application consists of two parts.
- Part 1 comprises form no. 6 (in the original), and a number of compulsory and other possibly required annexes.
- Part 2 comprises a copy of form no. 6, copies of all ethical applications and permits, and the constituent papers of your thesis, including manuscripts, in full (manuscripts may be incomplete).
The Examination Board is to be so composed that the members’ combined expertise covers the entire field of the thesis.
The members must be free in their assessment so that no doubt can be cast on the objectivity of their decision (see Avoiding COI below). There are normally three members of the board, but in exceptional circumstances (e.g. if the thesis is explicitly multidisciplinary) this number may be increased to five.
At least one member of the Examination Board is to belong to an institution other than KI and have no current affiliation with the university. No more than one member, although not the coordinator, may belong to your department.
All members are to be docents or professors, although in exceptional cases, the Dissertation Committee may approve a proposed member who holds neither position. To apply for an exemption from the regulations, a letter of explanation and a CV (including list of publications) of the person in question is to be appended to your application.
Note that only one proposal for an Examination Board member and opponent is to be submitted. The Dissertation Committee can decide on the replacement of one or more of its members.
Avoiding conflict of interest (COI)
Demands on the impartiality and objectivity of the Examination Board members are extremely high. This is in your interests, as such demands help to prevent subsequent allegations of irregularities. If there is the slightest reason for others to doubt the objectivity of the Examination Board, it would mean that your interests have not been looked after sufficiently.
COI as defined by the Administrative Procedure Act
According to the Administrative Procedure Act, conflict of interest refers to any circumstances in which a member of a decision-making body engaged in a discussion about or the presentation of specific material can be assumed to lack objectivity of opinion. The members of an Examination Board must thus have absolutely no connection with you personally, your supervisor or your project.
Karolinska Institutet’s COI rules
KI’s COI rules (pdf in Swedish)
The Swedish Research Council’s COI rules
These rules are similar in many respects to KI’s own rules. The VR’s Scientific Council for Medicine and Health has defined how its COI rules are to be applied, specifying the following:
- A conflict of interests arises if there has been scientific collaboration and joint production over the past five year period. A co-authored article is sufficient to be considered joint production.
- A conflict of interests may arise for periods longer than five years if the collaboration has been particularly close.
- The relationship between a postgraduate student and his/her supervisor is considered a matter of conflict of interest, regardless of how long ago the collaboration took place.
- An exception from the 5-year rule can be made in the event of collaboration in the form of multicentre studies, which are judged on individual merits.
Many factors are taken into consideration by the Dissertation Committee when judging the suitability of a member of the Examination Board. Sometimes it is a matter of clear-cut COI, but situations also arise in which a reviewer is considered unsuitable owing to lack of objectivity despite there having been no formal breach of the COI rules. The purpose of these decisions is to prevent situations in which objectivity can be called to question.