Join the PhD track 2.0 and be in the lead of your own PhD track. This will improve your PhD track and personal development. Learn how to install your own PhD thesis committee here.

About PhD Thesis Committee PhD thesis committee (TC):

After a highly successful pilot with a PhD Thesis Committee for selected RIMLS PhD candidates, the RIMLS Graduate School encourages to implement a PhD Thesis Committee for all our PhD candidates. By installing a Thesis Committee per PhD candidate, we aim to improve several issues that (may) arise during the evaluation of a PhD track.
Thus, we aim to improve the quality and evaluation of each PhD track since:
Additional expertise can be added to the evaluation process by adding an external advisor.
  • Combining individual meetings between the candidate, supervisors and mentor into a single meeting will be more efficient and explicitly creates a moment to discuss the bigger picture.
  • The Training & Supervision Plan is a crucial part of the training of the PhD candidate and its use and function is increased by using it in this meeting.
  • A Thesis Committee might help to keep the length of a PhD restricted to maximally 4.5 years.
The Thesis Committee should meet minimally once per year together with the PhD candidate to assess the candidate’s progress, establish clear research goals and expectations for the period before the next meeting, and set a target date for the next meeting. Training (competencies and transferable skills) is an essential part of the committee meeting discussions. The first meeting is held around 9 months after the PhD start date (with a GO-NO GO evaluation). The Thesis Committee may also form the core body of the forthcoming manuscript committee (excluding the mentor of the PhD candidate).

Opinions of other PhD candidates

Opinions on the PhD Thesis Committee by PhD candidates:

“The committee meeting was very productive! The feedback was useful” “I expect that this helps in finishing my PhD track in time”
“This provided a good opportunity for a great discussion about my project”
“The committee and the PhD candidate thought the meeting was very productive and advise that this concept is used for every PhD candidate in the Radboudumc”
“It helps in getting the bigger picture”
“I experienced the meeting was very useful and constructive, not just on a level of professional development but also on a scientific level”.

Guidelines PhD Thesis Committee

Thesis Committee composition guidelines:

A Thesis Committee should be formed as soon as possible (around 3 months after initiating PhD start date) comprising, minimally three senior researchers, one person from each bullet-point category 
  • Promotor(s)
  • (co)-Promotor(s) / daily supervisor
  • Two independent-to-the-project senior researchers (minimally Assistant Professor). They must not be directly involved in the project. Ideally, one Radboud researcher (mentor of the PhD candidate) from a different department and one external researcher.
The PhD candidate is responsible for organizing the meeting(s) with the Thesis Committee. 

Documents to be submitted to Thesis Committee members before planned meeting date:
  • Full project description
  • Registration and updated TSP forms

Meeting program

A concept agenda for your meetings

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Meeting program

TC meeting agenda:

1. Welcome & objectives of meeting by the Promotor

2. Presentation research project by PhD candidate, including:
    o    Overall project aims.
    o    Specific objectives worked on in last period (refer SMART objectives TSP form).
    o    Results & conclusions.
    o    Plans for the forthcoming period.

3. Discussion regarding research project, considering
    o    Reflection on achievements in last year and research plans for forthcoming year.
    o    Foreseen difficulties and back-up plans.
    o    Reflection on timeline for writing publications and thesis.

4. Discussion regarding training of the candidate, considering
     o    Reflection on PhD candidate strengths and weaknesses (knowledge gaps, specific interests etc). 
           Symposia, courses, workshops etc followed to date. Outcome & relevance e.g. in the light of  
           improving weaknesses, technical expertise, future plans etc.
     o    Reflection on personal ambition & interests.

5. Independent committee member(s) – candidate discussion (in absence of supervisors)
    o    How would you assess the interaction and communication between yourself and your supervisor(s)?
    o    Reflection on expectations from the PhD project and your supervisor(s).

6. Committee members discussion (in absence of candidate)
    o    How would you assess the interaction and communication between yoursel(f)(ves) and the PhD
    o    Reflection on expectations from the PhD project and from the PhD candidate.

7. Conclusions and action points
    o    If this is the end of the first year, then a go / no-go advice should be given (This advice can then be 
          privately discussed further between the supervisor(s) and PhD candidate).
    o    Summary discussion and action points. PhD candidate should update TSP
    o    Planning next meeting.