Thesis Advisory Committee

Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

The thesis advisory committee (TAC) is responsible for monitoring the progress and development of the PhD Student and to provide advice and support to both student and supervisor. 

The TAC should include two faculty members, one external, plus the student’s supervisor. The TAC meets yearly with the PhD student to review progress and to give advice. By default there will be three meetings (each meeting with different focus/aims, see below). 

TAC Meetings

The Thesis Advisory Committee Meetings will take the following format:

  • Student gives “public presentation” of project (30 minutes)
  • Thesis committee discusses with student and group leader (30+ minutes)
  • Thesis committee meeting with student only (10 minutes)/with group leader only (10 minutes)
  • Final discussion with all participants (10 minutes)

The student needs to inform Chris Robinson and Ines Crisostomo of the date of each meeting. Ines will try to be present at the meetings, to impartially monitor the progress of each student, and ensure that all parties fulfil their responsibilities.

For each meeting a report needs to be filled out and a copy of it submitted to Chris Robinson and/or Ines Crisostomo.

Specific procedures for TAC Meetings

TAC Metting #1 (Month 6-7)

The aim of the first TAC Meeting are to discuss the Project Proposal and:

Assess the match student <-> project

Check the Student-Supervisor relationship

Assess the match student <-> PhD programthe meeting the student needs to:

  1. Send Initiates file downloadthesis proposal ("Exposé") to Committee Members at least 1 week before the meeting. The proposal needs to be signed by both student and supervisor.
  2. Print and bring one copy of the Initiates file downloadTAC Report Form to the meeting. 

During the meeting: 

  • During the meeting one of the TAC Members should act as a chair and fill out the report, which is then signed by all members of the committee.
  • The student presents the thesis proposal, including introduction (with biological significance), key proof-of-principle experiments and results, timeline and resources. The presentation should avoid technical details and focus on key points the committee needs to assess the project, aiming for 15-20min total (max. 30-40mins with discussion).
  • A tentative date for the next meeting should be discussed (no later than month 18-20, and written on the report).

After the meeting:

  • A copy of the signed Report Form needs to be sent to Chris Robinson and/or Ines Crisostomo
  • Submit to the university the Opens internal link in current windowThesis Proposal for approval, and accompanying forms (if not done before)

Note: A TAC meeting may be scheduled to discuss the Student-Supervisor relationship in the event of a conflict/mismatch. If this happens the student does not need to present a Project Proposal.

TAC Meeting #2 (Month 18-20)

In the second meeting the TAC will discuss and assess the project's progress and the student's professional development, namely:

  • What are the students’ (additional) goals/achievements/problems? Did he/she discuss them with their supervisor?
  • Is the student on a good track to become an independent scientist, which is a prerequisite to obtain the PhD Degree?
  • Is the proposed plan realistic?

The TAC will also check whether:

  • Expectations and progress perception of student and supervisor are aligned.
  • Regular meetings are happening.
  • Resources and support are in place.

Before the meeting the student needs to:

  1. Write a brief report on the project’s progress (Initiates file downloadTemplate Progress Report). This needs to be signed by both student and supervisor, and sent to the TAC members together with the protocol of the last meeting at least 1 week before the meeting
  2. Print and bring to the meeting one copy of the Initiates file downloadTAC Report Form

During the meeting: 

  • One of the TAC Members should act as a chair and fill out the report, which is then signed by all members of the committee.
  • The student presents the project, starting with a brief introduction, covering a review of the last meeting (outcomes/report) and an updated assessment of the relevance of the project (i.e. how relevant and promising is the project today?)
    • The presentation should avoid technical details and focus on the key points needed to assess the project and/or for which advice is wanted.
    • The presentation should be prepared for ~20min total (max. 40-50mins with discussion).
  • The TAC will monitor project progression:
    • What is the major progress and what are potential bottlenecks?
    • Outlook: what are the goals for the next year?
    • Give feedback on the proposed outlook, keeping in mind the timeline. If needed propose/advise revisions to the original proposal.
  • A tentative date for the next meeting should be discussed (no later than month 33, and written on the report).

After the meeting:

  • A copy of the signed Report Form needs to be sent to Chris Robinson and/or Ines Crisostomo.
  • Students needs to submit to the university the Opens internal link in current windowAnnual Report. The progress report can be used to fill out the University Annual Report, and the TAC Report replaces the supervisor statement (just write: attached please find the TAC Report)

TAC Meeting #3 (Month 30-33)

In the second meeting the TAC will discuss and assess the project's progress and the student's professional development, namely:

  • What are the students’ (additional) goals/achievements/problems? Did he/she discuss them with their supervisor?
  • Is the student on a good track to become an independent scientist, which is a prerequisite to obtain the PhD Degree?
  • Check the proposed plan for publication(s) and/or the PhD thesis writing and defense.

The TAC will also check whether:

  • Expectations and progress perception of student and supervisor are aligned.
  • Regular meetings are happening.
  • Resources and support are in place.

Before the meeting the student needs to:

  1. Write a brief report on the project’s progress (Initiates file downloadTemplate Progress Report). This needs to be signed by both student and supervisor, and sent to TAC members together with the protocol of the last meeting at least 1 week before the meeting.
  2. Print and bring to the meeting one copy of the Initiates file downloadTAC Report Form

During the meeting: 

  • one of the TAC Members should act as a chair and fill out the report, which is then signed by all members of the committee.
  • The student presents the project, starting with a brief introduction, covering a review of the last meeting (outcomes/report) and an updated assessment of the relevance of the project (i.e. how relevant and promising is the project today?)
    • The presentation should avoid technical details and focus on the key points needed to assess the project and/or for which advice is wanted.
    • The presentation should be prepared for ~20min total (max. 40-50mins with discussion).
  • The TAC will monitor project progression:
    • What is the major progress and what are potential bottlenecks?
    • Outlook: what are the goals for the next year?
    • Give feedback on the proposed outlook, keeping in mind the timeline. If needed propose/advise revisions to the original proposal.
    • Make a recommendation regarding contract extension.
  • Is there a need for another meeting? If yes, schedule next meeting.
    • Note that another meeting is required if an extension to a fifth year is proposed. 

After the meeting:

  • A copy of the signed Report Form needs to be sent to Chris Robinson and/or Ines Crisostomo.
  • Students needs to submit to the university the Opens internal link in current windowAnnual Report. The progress report can be used to fill out the University Annual Report, and the TAC Report replaces the supervisor statement (just write: attached please find the TAC Report).