We asked a few questions to Torsten Blomkvist, analyst at the Planning Division and leader of the work to prepare the new guidelines.


What are the main differences between the new guidelines and the 2011 guidelines?

“The review has resulted in a thorough revision of the document. The important changes are the addition of a section regulating scholarship funding for doctoral students and a renewed emphasis in the guidelines on meeting standards for good research practice and ethical review in third-cycle studies.”


Why the update?

“An update was necessary given that the old guidelines were almost a decade old and there have been amendments to the Higher Education Ordinance. The amendments include new rules on scholarship funding for doctoral students and the abolition of doctoral grants.”


Are there any important elements not covered by the guidelines but that must be regulated by individual faculties?

“As the guidelines are at a university-wide level there may be several cases that require clarification at faculty level; for example, this may prove necessary regarding the new guidelines on scholarship funding and regarding the appointment of external reviewers and appointments to examination boards. The guidelines may also require updates to the general syllabus for third-cycle programmes.”


Do the new guidelines affect doctoral students who are already employed or just new doctoral students?

“The guidelines apply to everyone from 1 September 2020 and affect both already admitted and new doctoral students. The guidelines do not however apply to doctoral students admitted before 1 September 2020 to the extent that they mean a worsening of conditions for the doctoral student in question.”


Could you tell us something about what supervisors should keep in mind regarding the new guidelines?

“The guidelines involve certain changes that may affect supervisors. One important change is that the responsibility of the supervisor for ensuring good research practice and ethical review in third-cycle studies has been clarified in the guidelines.”