All medical students at Linköping University perform a scientific study during their 8th semester (K8). The project work comprises about 17 weeks of full-time work under the supervision of an experienced scientist.
The project is an important part of the students’ education, as it introduces practical experience in the scientific process and fosters a scientific attitude. The scientific projects are individual projects, which mean that each student must write an individual contract and report, even if two students are working with different subprojects in a research group.

Apart from offering the supervisor assistance in performing scientific assignments, the project may help in the recruitment of future research collaborators. Teachers employed by the Faculty of Medicine at Linköping University (LiU) obtain scores that underlie the allocation of basic education grants to their institutions and departments. For supervisors employed by a County Council affiliated to LiU, the corresponding economic compensation is paid to the clinical unit in the form of an "ALF” grant (Swedish acronym for "Agreement on Medical Education and Research"), currently 60 points for approved work performed in Sweden and 20 points for approved work performed abroad. One point corresponds to one hour of work.

The main supervisor, who must have a PhD degree, is responsible for the scientific content of the project. Co-supervisors are not required to be PhDs.

Each semester, a teacher/researcher is normally allowed to be the main supervisor for maximum two projects. Note: Because of Covid19 an exception has been made for projects that are to be carried out during fall semester 2020 to sprin semester 2022, which means that the main supervisor is allowed to supervise more than two students. If a project is in full or partially carried out abroad, a main supervisor employed at Linköping University or an associated County Council is required. In these cases, the supervisor abroad is a formal co-supervisor of the project.

In association with the student's choice of scientific project, the chief K8 examiner appoints an assistant examiner (“tentator”) among the teachers at the Faculty of Medicine. The assistant examiner´s role is to scrutinize and rate the student's manuscript according to a structured protocol in order to provide a basis for the chief examiner´s final grading (pass or fail).

More about the project

Content and extent

During the seventh semester (K7), each student should write a project description in collaboration with their supervisor. This is done as part of a contract:

Kontrakt för det självständiga arbetet (applicable when the project is performed in Sweden) (word)
Scientific Project Contract (applicable when the project is - in whole or in part - performed outside Sweden) (word)

The student first submits a draft of the Scientific Project Contract. Afterwards shall the student work on the contract in dialogue with the supervisor/supervisors and after feedback from the assistant examiner. The Scientific Project Contract is signed by the main supervisor at LiU after is has been approved by the assistant examiner. Note that if two students work with different subprojects within the same major project, no part of the contract shall contain verbatim equivalent text.

The study consists of a scientific investigation in which the student generates and interprets the data. Studies based solely on literature reviews are not accepted. Importantly, although the project is supervised, the work should be performed as independently as possible.

Specific assessment criteria exist for the Scientific Project:
Assessment criteria (PDF)

The project work must comprise about 17 weeks of full-time work altogether (30hp). At least 75% of these weeks should be dedicated to data collection/experimental work or analysis and data processing of already available research data. The project must be individual, but it is allowed that two students are active in the same research group (with different student projects). Each student must complete their own written report.

It is important that the main supervisor, the student and the appointed assistant examiner agree on the scope of the work and that a realistic assessment is made of the time the project will take. A thirty-point work must therefore be completed at around 17 weeks of work (planning, lab/data collection, analysis and report compilation). It is also important that the supervisor and student, when planning, consider the time for the reporting of the work.

From an educational point of view, it is essential that the student becomes involved and takes an active part in the planning, practical realization, analysis, and presentation of the scientific project. However, there are no requirements for the student to have obtained actual results after these 17 weeks. The written report should contain information on the study rationale and the methods used, along with a presentation and discussion of the results. The importance of the findings should also be highlighted. It is important that the student actively takes part in the considerations regarding choice of methods (including statistics), practical elaborations, data analyses, and graphical data presentations.

After 9 weeks into K8, a half-time follow-up of the project's progress takes place. The student completes and submits two forms in Lisam to the assistant examiner as well as a thorough draft of the following parts of the scientific report (according to established guidelines): "Introduction including aim/hypothesis/goal formulation", "Materials and methods" and outline for other parts of the scientific report.

Written presentation (submission of scientific report)

The study is to be presented as a written scientific report in English or in Swedish. A brief, scientific resume in English and a summary readable by the general public should always be included. If the report is written in English, no Swedish title is necessary. The main supervisor must read through the manuscript and together with the student correct any spelling errors and other linguistic errors before submission.

The main supervisor shall always approve the manuscript and confirm that the study corresponds to about 17 weeks of full-time work, that the report is written according to the instructions, and that it meets the demands of scientific quality. After approval (possibly after revision of the scientific report), a certificate is supplied for the completed scientific project:

Certificate from supervisor of completed scientific project (PDF)

After the student has submitted the report in Lisam no later than on the date stated on the K8 website, will the student have the possibility to give an oral presentation of the work. Afterwards will the report be reviewed by the previously appointed assistant examiner.

Oral presentation with opposition

The oral presentation takes place at the end of the 8th semester. At a scheduled examining seminar, the student will present his/her work for 15 minutes followed by 10 minutes opposition and 10 minutes questions from the auditorium. The report and the opposition are assessed by the seminar's moderator with passed or failed. Supervisors are invited by the students to attend. If the presentation fails, re-examination is offered at a later date. The student shall do a possible revision according to appointed assistant examiner's review and eventually opponent´s feedback. Only then may the report be finally approved by the assistant examiner.