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Definition of supervisor

During your PhD a lot is expected from you. On the other hand, you may also expect some things from your supervisor. Good supervision will make it easier to finish your PhD in time, grow as a scientist and develop the skills necessary for your career after your graduation ceremony. We have listed some points in the text below. In the book Mastering your PhD (available with Renate Hippert) you can also find suggestions for what to expect from your supervisor.

You should expect your supervisor to act as a manager of the bigger picture of your PhD project. Together with your supervisor you have outlined your project(s) and related research questions, but because you can have a lot of details on your mind during your research, you might lose sight of the actual goals. It is therefore important your supervisor does not lose sight but instead keeps an overview so that chaos is prevented. A supervisor should help you to stay focused on the essentials, for example by helping you to learn to ask the right research questions and set up effective experiments to tackle these questions. Additionally, your supervisor should understand the milestones of a project from which you decide to move on, or stop the current path of research.

Practical matters, like approving travel, declarations, holidays and notifications of sickness are also done by you supervisor, for which self service tool is served as a basis of administration.

Definition of (co-)promotor

The ultimate responsibility of the entire project and the quality control lies with the first promotor. The promotor can delegate part of his responsibilities for the creative process and research operation to a daily supervisor or operational responsibilities to laboratory staff or safety personnel.

The promotor cannot delegate the decision to continue or stop a PhD-track to others. If the promotor does not indicate strong doubts about the quality and potential of the candidate early in the track, for instance during the assessments after 9 or 15 months, it is the promotors’ responsibility to devise a PhD-track that leads to a successful end of the track. If strong doubt concerning the students’ abilities rise, this should be communicated to all concerned as soon as possible and the student should be made to leave. In all these matters the promotor reports directly to the HIMS-director. All matters concerning the start and progress of the PhD-track should be properly documented using the forms the employer or funding organization of the student has developed. In case there is no support from the side of the employer the UvA forms have to be used. It is very important that such an educational and supervision plan for the PhD-track is prepared at the very start of the track.