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Do you think you are a “good” advisor? Can “good” supervision be taught and learned? And what is “good” supervision actually?

Every working relationship between advisors and doctoral researcher is unique and experienced advisors would probably agree that the kind of supervision that works with one student might not work with another, and also has to be adjusted over time. If e.g. the supervision is “hands-off”, doctoral researcher who are already independent, well-organized and structured will probably thrive. However, unexperienced doctoral researchers who still need to learn to organize themselves, might struggle. Likewise, if the supervision is more like “micro-managing”, more independent doctoral researchers might feel constrained, while a less organized doctoral researcher might thrive in this environment.

Doctoral researchers do an important part of research. But usually when they start they are not independent researchers already – they need to learn. Supervision of doctoral researchers is therefore challenging, because learning processes take place on several levels: in science, in communication, in collaboration, in self-organization etc.
It is helpful to reflect how to supervise and develop doctoral researchers in a way that enables them to produce the best possible results and to become independent researchers. It is our goal to support the supervisors in creating good relationships with their doctoral researchers.

Supervision in HIGRADE

Supervision is one of the most important elements of HIGRADE, and we aim at fostering cooperative and respectful working relationships, promoting environmental awareness and responsibility as well as enabling interdisciplinary work in a social context in an international environment with the aim of solving complex environmental problems.

Each doctoral researcher at the UFZ is supported by an advisory committee. The committee typically consists of 3-4 advisors: the 1st and 2nd from UFZ, and an additional university advisor, if neither UFZ advisor holds a university position with the capacity to award doctoral degrees. Further, the doctoral researcher can include a person of trust or mentor (more) and/or additional UFZ or external advisors. A supervision agreement is signed by all parties within the first five months of the PhD project, including a jointly developed, comprehensive work plan and a clarification of roles and responsibilities of all parties. Regular meetings with the advisory committee are highly recommended to ensure the continuous support and progress of the doctoral researcher.

Moreover, doctoral researchers at UFZ are closely integrated in the research environment of their department(s). They are members of small working groups and actively take part in regular internal seminars and have the opportunity to present their work and engage in scientific discussions.

If you have further questions concerning your supervision, please do not hesitate to contact HIGRADE .    

More Information

Regulations for Doctoral Researchers and Advisors at the UFZ   
Link (UFZ internal)

UFZ Rules on Good Scientific Practice

Link (UFZ internal)

University Doctoral Degree Regulations (Promotionsordnungen)

Please note that in addition to the participation in HIGRADE doctoral researcher have to get enrolled in the university/faculty, which will award the doctoral degree. Further information on the university doctoral degree regulations (Promotionsordnungen) can be found here.

Further information on the guidelines of the Helmholtz Association can be found here.