PhD Peer Support


Monitoring the PhD progress

A standardized monitoring and evaluation procedure will strengthen the AMC PhD program. Potential threats to the progress and quality of PhD projects will be avoided or minimized, or signaled at an early stage. Transparency and independent feedback in the vulnerable, hierarchical relation between PhD candidate and supervisor are highly valued characteristics of AMC PhD projects, as well as good mentorship, integrity, and independence in science, to be emphasized and enhanced by the monitoring procedure.

In its report on the research performance of the AMC-UvA in 2011, the International Evaluation Committee strongly recommended to the AMC Graduate School to develop a standardized monitoring procedure. Also, the new Standard Evaluation Protocol 2015-2021 by VSNU, KNAW and NWO requires information on the quality and progress of PhD research and supervision.

The procedure for midterm monitoring the progress of AMC PhD projects, called "Peer Support", is shown below.

Go to Progress Report.


Peer Support of AMC PhD projects

Below we propose a procedure for Peer Support in the midterm monitoring of AMC PhD projects. The procedure is simple and flexible, and can be adapted to the research group’s own routine. It requires only minimal effort of one AMC PI or senior researcher, who is not directly involved in the project.

Peer Support aims to provide supportive, external input as an incentive for - rather than a check on - good research and mentorship. All AMC PhD candidates will receive Peer Support to enhance the quality and progress of their PhD projects. The actual monitoring is performed by one Peer (AMC PI), who is not directly involved in the PhD project. The Peer Support procedure is lean and efficient, in recognition of the many other tasks of AMC PI’s. We believe that Peer Support will benefit both the PhD projects and AMC research at large. The AMC Graduate School administers the Peer Support of AMC PhD projects. Peer Support is a one-time action, about halfway through the PhD project (approximately 1.5 to 2 years after the start of the project).

In short, the proposed procedure requires the AMC PI to read the Progress Report, contact the PhD candidate and the PhD supervisor separately, and provide conclusions in writing.

How to select a Peer

Each PhD project gets appointed one Peer. The Peer is an AMC PI or senior researcher, preferably from another department or research group (or from another research institute or university), and not directly involved in the PhD project.

  • The PhD supervisor(s) suggest(s) the name of the Peer - in consultancy with the PhD candidate -and invite(s) the Peer. The name is reported to the AMC Graduate School, preferably in the individual Training and Supervision Agreement (iTSA).
  • The PhD candidate may add a Peer of his/her own choice, up to two weeks before the monitoring. The PhD candidate informs the supervisor(s). The name is also reported to the AMC Graduate School.
  • The AMC Graduate School does not appoint a Peer and is not involved in setting up arrangements.

PhD Progress Report

  • The AMC Graduate School sends an e-mail to the PhD candidate and supervisor(s), approximately 1.5 years after the start of the PhD project, as signal to start Peer Support.
  • The PhD candidate writes a PhD Progress Report, using the standardized format.
  • The PhD Progress Report includes questions on the research project, the training, the supervision, and an overview of presentations, publications and results so far.
  • The PhD candidate and the PhD supervisor(s) discuss the PhD Progress Report, and all sign if agreed. The PhD Progress Report Form is then send to the Peer(s).

Go to Progress Report.


How to perform Peer Support

  • The Peer contacts the PhD candidate and the PhD supervisor(s) (and co-supervisor(s) if applicable, to be determined by the supervisor(s)) separately (by phone, e-mail or personal) to discuss the PhD Progress Report, and inquires after the plans for the remaining time of the PhD project.
  • The Peer adds his/her own comments, if any, formulates his/her conclusion and signs the PhD Progress Report Form. Any additional comments by the Peer are also given to the PhD candidate and PhD (co-)supervisor(s) in writing.
  • If the PhD candidate has invited a Peer of his/her own choice, both Peers discuss their findings together before signing the PhD Progress Report Form.

How to finalize Peer Support

  • The PhD candidate submits the completed and signed PhD Progress Report Form to the AMC Graduate School.
  • Upon request by the PhD candidate and/or the PhD supervisor(s), or on the initiative of the AMC Graduate School, the PhD candidate may be invited to talk with the PhD Candidate Advisor.
  • The Peer may, on his/her own initiative or upon request of the PhD candidate or PhD supervisor(s), intensify the monitoring of progress of the PhD project by meeting more frequently.

Contact

AMC Graduate School
E-mail
Tel: +31 (0)20 - 5663108