Regular meetings with a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) are a staple of good PhD supervision. The MPIMG and IMPRS-BAC are committed to giving every PhD student the opportunity to benefit from a TAC. Please find further information on how to set up and hold TAC meetings below.
Why should you have a TAC?
- Receive scientific guidance from people with a range of perspectives and expertise
- Strengthen your (local) scientific network
- Have somebody to contact if you are experiencing problems in your student-supervisor relationship
- If you are an IMPRS student, you cannot access your travel budget without an active TAC, and you cannot get a graduation certificate from the IMPRS.
Form your TAC
- Your thesis advisory committee should consist of your direct supervisor plus at least two other scientists. They may be group leaders, professors or postdocs and should ideally be based in Berlin to avoid extra journeys. They do not need to be affiliated with the MPIMG.
- None of your TAC members should be directly hierarchically dependent on another TAC member.
- Attending TAC meetings by video call is also possible.
- Discuss with your supervisor who would be suitable additional TAC members after 3-4 months of your PhD, approach them with a project outline and explain what their responsibilities would be
- Schedule your first meeting
Preparing your TAC meeting
- The first meeting should take place after six months at the latest
- Further TAC meetings should take place after each passing year.
- Bear in mind it can take several months to find an appointment with at least three very busy people.
- About one week before each TAC meeting, send a written progress report (1-2 pages) to your TAC members. This should include:
- Some background on your research, as not all TAC members may be experts in the field
- Summary of your work to date with a focus on work done since last TAC meeting
- Your plans for the next 12 months
- Questions you hope to address during your TAC meeting
- Ask one TAC member who is not your direct supervisor to chair the TAC meeting
- Fill out part A of the TAC meeting protocol (or as editable word doc)
- A note on guests: If it is relevant to your research project to have guest scientists attend your TAC meeting, please clear this with the TAC in advance of the meeting.
During your TAC meeting
- Give a presentation of work done to date with a focus on work done since the last TAC meeting
- Discuss progress and future steps with your TAC members
- Ask for career advice if you are interested
- Fill out part B of the TAC meeting protocol (as editable word doc)
- Chair asks you to leave the room so the TAC members can discuss your progress in private
- Chair asks your supervisor to leave the room so you and the other TAC members can discuss any issues you might have