Doing a PhD is a huge project. Doctoral researchers and their advisors tend to focus only on the contents of the research that leads to the doctoral thesis. However, there are a lot of other things to be organized, such as getting enrolled in a university, participating in course work, giving presentations at conferences, career development, writing grant applications, etc. Thus, monitoring the progress of the PhD project becomes essential. HIGRADE has implemented various measures to support doctoral researchers and their supervisors in this task:
Regular meetings with the doctoral researcher allow the advisors to monitor the progress that is being made, fuel the project via „brain storming“as well as identify potential problems and need of changes that sometimes have to be introduced. The meetings help the advisors stay up to date. They are also a good opportunity to discuss any particular needs or deficiencies of the doctoral researcher, as well as their career aspirations.
In order to assist doctoral researchers and their advisors with progress, doctoral researchers at the UFZ have to regularly submit progress reports to HIGRADE. Progress will be monitored against the time schedule outlined in the PhD project proposal outlined in the supervision agreement . The mandatory supervision agreement:
- contains a comprehensive PhD project proposal (overall aims, research questions, methods and work steps)
- includes a time schedule in annual steps
- considers risks and potential plan B
- clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the advisory committee members as well as the doctoral researcher
- must be signed by all the members of the advisory committee and the department head
Committee Reports, are mandatory reports that need to be submitted at the 18th and 30th month into the doctoral project.
- present the current state of PhD projects and changes in the projects.
- list the past and future activities, training and research achievements
- describe the remaining steps
In addition, doctoral researchers are encouraged to present their work at least annually to their department and advisory committees. Doctoral researchers in their third year have the opportunity to present their results to the entire UFZ audience at the HIGRADE Conference.
Templates for the supervision agreement and committee reports can be found via the UFZ Intranet ( link ) and in our database myHIGRADE ( link ).
The progress reports are being uploaded into personal profiles of the doctoral researchers in myHIGRADE database. It is the general database for all UFZ doctoral researchers at UFZ. It was established to facilitate the management of data, course activities and reporting. The supervisors can also access the profiles of their doctoral researchers and follow their advances.