The success of any scientific project can be greatly enhanced when it is discussed with multiple experienced scientists. (Best practice guide by Max Planck PhDnet)
During regular PAC meetings, you and your advisors deliberate extensively about results, past and future development as well as strategic decisions regarding your PhD project. Career planning and networking are also important aspects of the PAC meetings.
Writing your thesis proposal will help you to structure your work effectively. It is a powerful way to brief your PhD advisory committee members on the state of your project (and the state of the art) and will enable them to give better advise.
The PAC is a committee consisting of at least three senior scientists who guide the doctoral researcher in all aspects of her/his PhD. The PAC includes
Other scientists strongly involved in the supervision should also participate.
The most important criterion for the selection of the PAC-members is that they have the expertise and time to advise the doctoral researchers with regard to their current research project, but also regarding their future career. Different scientific perspectives are constructive as long as there is a strong common interest in the research topic.
For doctoral researchers working on special projects it can happen that none of the IMPRS faculty members fulfills the above criteria for co-advisors. In this case, the search is first extended to other professors at the FSU, then to other universities.
The PAC should meet
Of course, the doctoral researcher should also have a kick-off meeting with the core advisors from his/her institution right at the start of the project.
The doctoral researcher is in charge to initiate all meetings, with the possible exception of the kick-off meeting. Feel free to use a poll to find a date which suits all.
Please inform the IMPRS coordinator about the meeting date and place (in advance).
For the first meeting, the doctoral researcher prepares a thesis proposal in accordance with the IMPRS agreement (May 2021).
The thesis proposal should include
There are no hard page limits. However, even skilled, concise writers will have difficulties to present all of the above information in less than 5 pages. If you want to use the proposal to give a very detailed overview about the state of the art and your approach, please go ahead. Do make sure though that your document can be easily and quickly navigated by your readers.
The proposal will be sent to the PAC members and the IMPRS coordinator one weeks prior to the meeting. After the PAC meeting, a revised version of the thesis proposal might be sent to the PAC members and the IMPRS coordinator.
For all subsequent meetings, an updated version of the thesis proposal is circulated 2 weeks prior to the PAC meetings. It should include the progress made so far as well as changes in the work plan.
To write this report is an opportunity to reflect, discuss and document the work you have done for your PhD project and to define objectives for the next months. This will make both your work and meetings more productive and help you to receive more constructive feedback. You will train your writing skills and will benefit when you get to the paper writing stage.
During the 3 years of the PhD project 20 credit points must be collected according to the guidelines of the IMPRS agreement in a way that is most beneficial for the scientific development of the doctoral researcher. The doctoral researcher prepares an overview of his/her curricular activities using the list below to inform the PAC about his/her progress.
We suggest an overal time frame of maximum 90 minutes.
During the first 15 min, the doctoral researcher presents the thesis proposal (or progress report) in a talk. Afterwards the proposal (or progress report) will be discussed, along with the questions given in the >> PAC meeting report form
and the PAC meeting guidelines.
One of the PAC members fills in the report form. A copy goes to all participants and the IMPRS coordination office.
what if one or several PAC members are far a way, either permanently or on frequent travels? Try to integrate a video chat with the absent person(s) into the personal meeting. Just send your slides to the remote participant(s) in advance. These meetings are likely to be much more fruitful than just talking to the absent advisor individually.
... for a long time, the doctoral researcher might be suspended from participation in IMPRS courses until the PAC meeting has taken place. Should you as a doctoral researcher have problems to motivate your advisors, please talk to the IMPRS coordinator.
Send an email, call, or come by the IMPRS coordination office.
This page was last modified on June 11, 2021, at 12:48 PM