The supervision of doctoral students makes an important contribution to the best possible promotion of young scientists at TU Ilmenau. By working on a dissertation, doctoral students take their first step into a scientific career. Good professional supervision is essential for the scientific quality of the dissertation. In addition, supervision can have a significant influence on the general conditions for a scientific career.

The doctoral regulations govern the legal requirements for the supervision of doctoral theses. Together with the doctoral candidate, supervisors can actively plan and shape their collaboration beyond these regulations with the help of the supervision agreement.

Supervisors take on various important tasks - from accompanying doctoral candidates in their scientific activities to creating space for independent research. In doing so, supervisors and doctoral candidates are in continuous professional exchange. In addition, there are some general criteria for good supervision.

Criteria of good Supervision

Provision of technical and methodological knowledge and supervision of the doctoral process.

This includes:

  • the monitoring of the doctoral candidate's research process
  • Feedback on the status of the doctoral candidate's research and the available results
  • Discussion of further research planning
  • Mediation and control of the observance of good scientific practice.
Involvement in the scientific community

This includes:

  • Assisting with introductions to scientific networks
  • Enabling their participation in local research colloquia, national and international symposia
  • Encouraging their involvement in national and international networks.
Qualification of the doctoral candidates

This includes:

  • Support of the doctoral candidates in their (super)professional further qualification
  • Developing a qualification strategy that is aligned with individual professional and career goals
  • Allowing sufficient space for further qualification without jeopardizing the doctoral project
  • Allowing students to gain their own teaching experience in a reasonable amount of time.
Wissenschaftliche Karriere an der TU IlmenauLiane Metzler Unsplash
Andrea Piacquado Pexels

Supervision agreement

Supervision is not a standardized service, but must result from the individual and concrete requirements and needs of the doctoral candidate. The necessary scope, the appropriate forms of supervision as well as the respective rights and duties should be defined and structured in the doctoral supervisor relationship. They should be agreed upon at the beginning of the supervision relationship, set down in writing, and reviewed and updated throughout the doctoral period. The supervision agreement should take into account the different subject traditions and the different situations of the doctoral researchers (family obligations, professional activity). It has proven successful that the agreements also specify the regular supervision meetings on a long-term and binding basis. In addition, it should be stated which concrete expectations are placed on the doctoral candidate in these meetings. The supervision agreement should be signed by all supervisors and the doctoral candidate. It must be ensured that supervision agreements can be dissolved by both parties within the framework of a transparent procedure.

  • Quoted from: UniWiND Publications Volume 4 (2017): Supervision of PhD students. Recommendations and good practice for universities and supervisors, p. 13.

It is best to use our template for your supervision agreements to be drafted.

Also keep our Code of Good Working Conditions in Science in mind when drafting the agreement.

Recommended reading

Guidelines, statements and position papers

German Research Foundation (DFG), Guidelines for Ensuring Good Scientific Practice

German Research Foundation (DFG), Recommendations for the Preparation of Supervision Agreements

German Council of Science and Humanities, Position Paper, Design of doctoral studies in the German science system