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) 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 TAC is an opportunity to foster collaborations, encourage cross-disciplinary approaches, provide technical support as well as increase the research network of supervisor(s) and student.

The TAC is nominated in the exposé that is submitted for the public presentation.

The TAC is composed of:

  • the PhD student
  • the supervisor(s)
  • 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 to select one internal (=from the University of Vienna) and one external advisor
    • TAC members will not be allowed to assess the final dissertation


Meeting organization:

  • the TAC meeting is organized by the PhD candidate; we recommend to send a summarized report (i.e. the pre-filled annual report) to the TAC-members prior to the TAC-meeting to provide a basis for discussion.
  • we recommend integrating the TAC meeting into the annual report meeting, but it can also take place whenever necessary
  • the TAC will meet at least once per year until the thesis is completed; it can be consulted more frequently if needed.
  • If requested, the Executive Manager of the Doctoral School can chair the TAC-meeting as a neutral person. Please send and email to if needed.
  • After the meeting, the TAC-minutes are provided to the Doctoral School.

Please note: The first TAC-meeting has to take place in the first 12 months after starting the PhD.

TAC meeting format

  • Presentation (approx. 20 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 (approx. 30 minutes) a) about the project, the progress, the finalization b) about the development of the PhD-candidate, career planning, if applicable any difficulties that arose
  • Feedback round: PhD student + TAC; without the supervisor
  • Feedback round: Supervisor + TAC; without the PhD student
  • Summary and feedback round


TAC discussion and assessment of:

  • What are the PhD candidate's 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:

  • Monitoring of project progression: What is the major progress and what are potential bottlenecks?
  • Feedback on the proposed outlook, keeping in mind the timeline
  • Feedback on career perspectives