Each doctoral researcher of the GRK will be affiliated to one research group. Together with the supervisor a supervision agreement will be set-up including the names of the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) members, a research and time plan for the thesis and the individual qualification programme. Supervision of the doctoral students is guaranteed on different levels. In their daily work they are supported by postdoctoral researchers, who are available to give advice in methodological and experimental approaches and questions. Regular meetings with the primary supervisor, which will be held at least once a month, will ensure a consistent high communication level among both parties and will help to avoid aberrations. In yearly TAC meetings, the progress of the PhD project is under in-depth scrutiny.
Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)
In addition to the close and direct interaction with the supervisor, doctoral students regularly meet with and report to their individual Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). The purpose of the TAC is not only to monitor the progress of the student’s work and to advise a student regarding the development of the research project but also to assist the student in aspects of career planning and networking. TACs usually are composed of the direct supervisor, a PI of the GRK2062 and a PI of the research field. To ensure a balanced TAC, ideally at least one TAC member should be external i.e. come from an institute other than the direct supervisor’s institute. However, the board of examiners for the final oral thesis defense is assembled by the university department that will award the doctoral degree to a given student and may or may not be identical with the TAC.
The most critical stages of a thesis project are likely the initial phase, where a project is defined and established and the final phase when a project is to be completed and interests of student and supervisor may differ significantly. In both cases, a well assembled balanced TAC can make a significant difference regarding the successful development and completion of a thesis project.