VDS-P mentoring system

In addition to the close supervision by their immediate academic advisor, the doctoral candidates profit from the mentoring by a senior scientist from either a national higher education institute or a research institute abroad.

The academic advisor and the scientific mentor form the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). The students’ research progress is monitored in frequent meetings with their supervisors and in annual reports followed up by personal consultation with their mentors.

Once a year, the VDSP fellows are requested to provide a summary of the progress of their research project and training, a statement on their research environment and a self-assessment of their professional and personal development. This information is intended as a starting point for a personal exchange between the VDSP fellows and their mentors.

The material is collected by the VDSP office and forwarded to the mentors of the fellows. Shortly thereafter the VDSP fellows need to arrange personal meetings with their mentors, the annual TAC meeting.

As a suggested framework for the personal exchange between mentee and mentor, the “Guidelines for the annual meeting between the second Thesis Advisory Committee Member and a Fellow of the Vienna Doctoral School in Physics” are communicated to the mentors. These are meant as a preparation tool to serve the conversation. The mentors are reminded by the VDSP office that in the course of the annual TAC meeting it should be clearly communicated which parts of the conversation are confidential and which details should –in consultation with the VDSP fellow– be redirected to the VDSP officer for doctoral training who will take appropriate actions, either seeking a conversation with the supervisor, the fellow or with external experts advising on possible further steps concerning the mental or physical well-being of the fellow. The mentors are asked to send an email to the VDSP office once the TAC meeting has taken place with their mentees in Cc summarizing in a short, general statement on their overall impression of the meeting including potential recommendations.