Thesis Advisory Committee

Meetings with the Thesis Advisory Committee

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 should be present at the meetings, to impartially monitor the progress of each student, and ensure that all parties fulfil their responsibilities

By default there will be three meetings, each with a different focus/aim:

TAC Meeting #1 (Month 6)

TAC Meeting #1 (Month 6)

  • Send thesis proposal ("Exposé") to Committee Members at least 1 week before the meeting. The proposal needs to be signed by both student and supervisor.
  • Presentation of 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).
  • The TAC will then
    • Assess the match student <-> project
    • Check the Student-Supervisor relationship
    • Assess the match student <-> PhD program
  • Schedule next meeting

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)

  • Write a brief report on the project’s progress (Template 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
  • The project presentation should start 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).
  • Monitor project progression: what is the major progress and what are potential bottlenecks?
  • Outlook: what are the goals for the next year? Feedback on the proposed outlook, keeping in mind the timeline. If needed propose/advise revisions to the original proposal.

The TAC will then discuss and assess:

  • 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?
  • Check whether:
    • Expectations and progress perception of student and supervisor are aligned.
    • Regular meetings are happening.
    • Resources and support are in place.
  • Schedule next meeting

TAC Meeting #3 (Month 30-33)

TAC Meeting #3 (Month 30-33)

  • Write a brief report on the project’s progress (Template 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
  • The project presentation should start 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).
  • Monitor project progression: what is the major progress and what are potential bottlenecks?
  • Outlook: what are the goals for the next year? Feedback on the proposed outlook, keeping in mind the timeline. If needed propose/advise revisions to the original proposal. Is an extension needed?
  • Proposed plan for publication(s) and/or the PhD thesis writing and defense.

The TAC will then discuss and assess:Is the student an independent scientist, which is a pre requisite for the PhD Award.

  • Is the proposed plan realistic?
  • check that:
    • Expectations and progress perception of student and supervisor are aligned;
    • Regular meetings are happening;
    • Resources and support are in place, including funding for the remainder of the PhD (and a potential extension if needed)
  • Is there a need for another meeting (note that another meeting is required if an extension to a fifth year is proposed)? If yes, schedule next meeting.

Extraordinary meetings

Extraordinary meetings can be called at any time by the student, supervisor or by the Scientific Training Coordinator.

In the event of unsatisfactory progress, additional meetings will be scheduled as appropriate, with explicit milestones that need to be achieved by the next meeting. If there are two consecutive meetings where the student does not demonstrate satisfactory progress, the committee may recommend that the student leaves the PhD Program, and advise on a different program and/or career path.