Guide for KI supervisors recruiting Chinese doctoral students applying for a CSC scholarship

As a KI host researcher, you can recruit a doctoral student by announcing a project with which the Chinese applicants can apply for a CSC scholarship.

Call for recruitment 2023-2024 has been cancelled

KI has decided to cancel the call fpr 2023-2024 recruitment of the KI-CSC programme. KI is negotiating with CSC regarding the current KI-CSC agreement, as the content of the contract between CSC and its awardees has been questioned. 

Further queries can be addressed to , or

The KI-CSC programme

The KI-CSC programme is based on an agreement, for the period 2020-2025, between Karolinska Institutet (KI) and China Scholarship Council (CSC), a funding institution under the Ministry of Education of China. CSC awards scholarships to Chinese scholars going abroad for doctoral studies or visiting research. 

Responsibility as KI supervisor

As a potential KI supervisor, you should:

  • Provide a research project description.
  • Interact with the potential CSC scholarship applicants who contact you, assess their possibility and scientific competence for a doctoral education at KI, and select the most suitable candidate.
  • Issue a letter of invitation to the most suitable candidate. 
  • Provide the selected candidate with required documents for CSC scholarship application.
  • Top up the CSC scholarship to the minimum level required by KI, with either a complementary scholarship or by a part-time employment. The current level of the CSC scholarship is 15 000 SEK/month for doctoral students.

Information on income level and supplementary funding for doctoral students

Before arrival in Sweden

Before the prospective doctoral student can travel to KI, the student has been;

  • granted a CSC scholarship with a project under your supervision,
  • deemed eligible for doctoral education at KI with an “eligibility statement” issued by the university administration.
  • admitted for doctoral studies at KI.

The doctoral student must have already been admitted to doctoral studies and got his/her student visa before coming to KI. It is no longer allowed to spend a period as a visiting researcher at KI before admittance.


Restrictions of recruitment

Upon a successful recruitment of a CSC scholarship-funded student, a KI supervisor is eligible to recruit new CSC scholarship-funded scholars in two years.

As a KI supervisor, you may:

  • advertise (register) up to two research projects (one for a degree study doctoral student or a visiting doctoral student, and one for a postdoc or a visiting researcher).
  • recruit a maximum of two candidates in one recruitment round,
    • one doctoral student (either a degree study doctoral student or a visiting doctoral student)
    • one visiting scholar (a postdoc or a visiting researcher).

October 18, 2022 is the deadline of research project registration for the recruitment round 2023-2024. 

Supervisors who have submitted a research project description, including green light approval for doctoral student and approval for other recruitment, by the head of department before the deadline, will be included in the subsequent recruitment process.

Timeframe and process for recruiting for 2023-2024

The call for recruitment 2023-2024 has been cancelled

KI has decided to cancell the call for 2023-2024 recruitment of the KI-CSC programme. KI is negotiating with CSC the current KI-CSC agreement, as the content of the contract between CSC and its awardees has been questioned.

Further queries can be addressed to: Nailin Li and Monika Berge.

Process and timeline CSC
Process and timeline CSC Photo: N/A

1. Define your project for advertising, deadline October 18, 2022

As a potential supervisor, you begin the recruitment by submitting the project description and defining the qualifications of the person you are recruiting. Please register and submit the research project description by using the form Registration research project description for recruiting CSC scholars .  To make changes and save the registered draft, you must log in to the KI staff portal.  It will not be possible to make changes after the deadline Oct. 18, 2022.

The research project description should be 1-2 pages and includes a project title, a description of the research, qualifications of person to be recruited, a description of the research group, as well as key words to facilitate the project searching. The information will be compiled into a list and published on both KI and CSC websites.

An approval (Green light) from your department is required to be uploaded with the project description. (This document will not be displayed to the potential applicants.)


2. Select your candidate, November 2022 through February 2023

During the period from November 2022 to February 2023, Chinese applicants will contact you based on your announced research project description and according to their research interests, in pursuit of a doctoral education.

As a potential supervisor, you should:

  • Conduct interviews with interested applicants (in person or online) for evaluation and judgement of applicant’s scientific competence and language skills.
  • Contact applicants’ references to further evaluate the applicants’ scientific competence and language skills.

If the applicant has already been admitted to doctoral education at KI, he/she can apply for a 3-year CSC scholarship during the first year of studies.

3. Invite your candidate – before mid-March 2023

If a mutual agreement is reached between you and a potential candidate, you should send the following documents to the candidate:

  • A letter of invitation, using the KI template. The letter should be co-signed by the head of department. Send a copy of your letter of invitation to the KI-CSC programme ( ) for KI’s endorsement to CSC. Only applicants with invitation letters included in the official KI endorsement list will be considered.
  • A detailed research plan for the doctoral education (2-4 pages)
  • A CV with your dated signature. You should include a description of your current research projects and a list of your publications in the past five years. CSC might have other special requirements for the CV and study/research plan. Please ask the applicants for clarification.

It is crucial that the letter of invitation is issued with the pre-conditions of a successful application of CSC scholarship, of fulfilling the entry requirements, as well as a successful assessment by the department leading to an admission decision. Notably, when a candidate has been selected and is assessed as eligible for doctoral education, an Eligibility Statement is issued by the university administration. This statement is appended to the admission decision.

Template letter of invitation

4. Procedure to apply for a CSC scholarship (Chinese applicants), March-April 2023

For your information, the following is the application procedure for the Chinese applicants:

  1. Applicant should submit his/her online application for CSC scholarships at the CSC website under the category of CSC-KI collaborative project (国家留学基金委与卡罗林斯卡医学院合作项目) and find the deadline for submission there.
  2. The applicant provides, prior to or at the time of CSC scholarship approval, a qualified English proficiency test result recognized by both CSC and KI.
    For more information about English requirement at KI:
  3. Upon completion of the online application, the applicant submits the hardcopy of the application, including all required documents, to the home university/institution for institutional endorsement/recommendation to CSC.
  4. After going through institutional endorsement procedures, the home university/institution will mail the hardcopy applications to CSC. Notably, CSC must receive the complete application (both online and hardcopy application) by mid April 2023. Hence, it is highly recommended that all applicants complete the online application early and proceed to institutional endorsement as early as possible.

If your Chinese applicant is currently in a master’s degree programme in Sweden, he or she can submit the hardcopy of the application through the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm.

As mentioned earlier, for endorsement of applicants by KI, an official list of the applicants is made from the copies of the invitation letters sent to . The list of endorsed applicants is then sent to CSC. Only applicants that have been endorsed by KI will be considered by CSC.

5. Selection of candidates by CSC, April - May 2023

CSC organizes independent evaluations of all submitted applications during April to May, 2023. CSC informs the applicant’s home university/institution, as well as KI, of the outcome of the applications in May 2023.  

The KI International Relations Office, Monika Berge, informs the KI supervisors of the outcome of the CSC scholarship applications upon receiving the notifications from CSC.

If your candidate has been selected, you should proceed in planning the doctoral education together with the CSC scholarship awardee.

General and specific admission requirements for doctoral education at KI

Please make sure that the candidates meet both the general and specific requirements for doctoral education at KI.

General eligibility

A prospective doctoral student meets the general entry requirement for doctoral education if he or she:

  1. has been awarded a degree of advanced university education  (equivalent to second cycle in Sweden), or
  2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits (ECTS) of which at least 60 credits (ECTS) were awarded at advanced level, or
  3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Information on entry requirements for doctoral education at KI.

Specific eligibility (English language requirements)

All prospective doctoral students must prove proficiency in English. For information on how to certify English language proficiency (through tests or university level studies), please see English language requirements for doctoral education, where you can find information on accepted English language proficiency tests and further information.


Admission process

Please make sure that the candidates follow the official admission procedures for doctoral studies at KI:

  1. Apply for an assessment of eligibility at KI, as soon as possible after receiving notice of an awarded scholarship.
  2. Apply for admittance to doctoral studies at KI.
  3. Once eligibility is established and an Eligibility Statement has been issued, follow the instructions for Admission procedure in the case of exemption from the announcement requirement.
  4. Apply for a student visa, after being admitted to doctoral studies at KI.


Can the supervisors add positions to the recruitment after the deadline?

No. It is not possible to add more positions to the recruitment list of CSC funded students after the deadline. 

How can a supervisor top up a CSC scholarship-funded doctoral student?

A supervisor can top up a CSC scholarship-funded doctoral student either a partial employment or with a scholarship. If you plan to use governmental funds, for instance from VR, you will need to pay in form of a partial salary, because state funds cannot be used as scholarships. If you plan to use non-state funds, e.g., grants from Cancerfonden or Hjärt-Lungfonden, top-up can be a scholarship, upon a approval by the funder for the disbursement of scholarships.

What should I do as a supervisor if the scholarship awardees cannot return to China as planned?

According to the administrative procedure at China Scholarship Council, all CSC scholarship awardees must have an approval of delay from the supervisors or hosts if there is any delay of their returns. They must inform China Scholarship Council and apply for the approval of the delay. Supervisors or hosts should provide the CSC scholarship awardees the approval of delay.