Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

- for PhD students who started after 2020WS and students who have not yet passed the public presentation.

The Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) functions as a review panel and also allows for any problems, scientific or otherwise, to be aired and discussed as appropriate. The TAC evaluates the PhD student’s progress and gives external advice to the PhD student and the supervisor(s). Moreover, the TAC offers formalized support, and a ‘protected space’ to resolve possible conflicts between PhD students, supervisors, and other research/training team members.

The committee is composed of:

  • the PhD student
  • the supervisor(s)
  • the 2-3 mentors chosen by the PhD student:
    • should be well-experienced in the respective research area of your PhD thesis topic, so that they can provide profound feedback during the process
    • at least Senior PostDoc level with profound international research experience
    • we recommend one internal one external advisor

Meeting organization:

  • the TAC meeting is organized by the PhD candidate
  • we recommend integrating the TAC meeting into the annual report meeting, but it can also take place whenever necessary
  • the TAC will meet once per year until the thesis is completed

TAC meeting format

Recommended structure of the TAC meeting: 

  • Presentation (max. 15 minutes), includes introduction, key proof-of-principle experiments and results, timeline and achievements. The presentation should focus on key points the committee needs to assess for the project
  • Discussion (max. 20 minutes) about the project, the progress, the finalization 
  • 'Feedback round': PhD student + TAC (without the supervisor)
  • 'Feedback round': Supervisor + TAC (without the PhD student)
  • Summary and feedback

TAC discussion and assessment of:

  • What are the PhD candidate goals/achievements/problems?
  • Is the PhD candidate on a good track to become an independent scientist?
  • Is the proposed plan realistic?

The TAC will check that:

  • Expectations and progress perception of PhD candidate and supervisor(s) are aligned
  • Regular meetings are happening
  • Resources and support are in place or targeted
  • Proposed plan for publication(s) and/or the PhD thesis writing and defense

The TAC will offer:

  • Monitor project progression: what is the major progress and what are potential bottlenecks?
  • Outlook: what are the goals for the next year? Career perspectives?
  • Feedback on the proposed outlook, keeping in mind the timeline