To move beyond the traditionally close link between the supervisor and the PhD student, often resulting in an undesirable dependence of the PhD student on the supervisor, the Graduate School adopts the following supervision and mentoring concept.
The supervision of the PhD student is in the hands of a thesis committee instead of a single supervisor. Each thesis committee consists of the project leader responsible for the research project that funds the PhD position, a senior scientist from another working group, a third scientist that could be the PhD student’s immediate research advisor (often junior scientists such as assistant or junior professors, and postdocs), and if suitable, an external (international) scientist.
The thesis committee advises the PhD student on all scientific and management aspects of the research project she/he is involved in and monitors the progress of the PhD student.
Personal Career Planning
A special task of the thesis committee is to support the PhD students in their personal career planning for the time after having received the doctoral degree. Although career planning is an item on the evaluation meeting agenda from the very first meeting onwards and is covered by the soft-skill course program, special emphasis is put on this topic during the final stage of the PhD program.
The terms of supervision and mentoring are defined in a compulsory supervision agreement compiled and signed at the beginning of a PhD term. This agreement between the individual PhD student and her/his thesis committee outlines the mutual tasks and claims and describes the terms of supervision and the basic framework. Furthermore, it outlines the research work to be conducted and it describes the terms of safeguarding good scientific practice. This agreement might be subject to modification after each evaluation interval, taking into account new developments and results related to the research topic.