Workshop about Good Supervision

Supervising PhD candidates is both demanding and rewarding. Moreover, supervision is an extremely important matter: failure or success of a PhD project is largely determined by supervision. Thus good and supportive supervision is essential for PhD candidates on their way towards becoming an independent, well trained researcher who can contribute to science and society. For a supervisor it is especially important to pursue the balance between control and freedom and to give effective and motivating feedback.

It is undisputed that supervision must be personalised and can be supported to the maximum by other structures that emphasise joint (institutional) responsibility for young researchers. Effective supervision thrives in an environment where it is easy to discuss and ask questions.

This also applies to the exchange of good supervision. Traditionally, good supervision practice is regarded as tacit knowledge that senior researchers acquire through the supervision of doctoral students during the course of their academic career. However, being a good supervisor is not only a question of talent, but can also be learned, improved and professionalized as international examples show. Peer exchange and discussions on supervisory practices can provide a helpful environment in which in particular "newcomers" can learn from their experienced colleagues, e.g. in selecting good doctoral candidates, building a professional working relationship, clarifying expectations, writing articles or feedback on the work and progress of doctoral candidates, both positive and negative, and sharing knowledge about the changing environment. Because supervision is essential for the promotion of young scientists, renowned universities, in the Anglo-American region, in Scandinavia, but also in the Netherlands and Germany, have begun to establish formats that promote an open exchange on supervision practices, and have developed measures such as trainings to support young scientists who are just starting to supervise doctoral candidates.

The proposed one-day workshop at the University of Vienna following the conference on Supervision in Doctoral Education will present established formats, discuss their contents and explore how similar offers could be relevant other contexts. The following issues will be addressed:

  • The context of doctoral supervision
  • Selecting and recruiting PhD candidates
  • Clarifying Expectations
  • Creating a professional working relationship
  • Supporting the PhD project

We invite both experienced as well as young supervisors, as well as academic leaders who are themselves involved in the design of such formats and are interested in their implementation, and people who are involved in doctoral education.


  • Robin Humphrey, Director of the Postgraduate Research Training Programme, Newcastle University
  • Lucas Zinner, Head of Research Services and Career Development Unit, University of Vienna


When: Friday 15 June 2018, 9:00-15:00, including Coffee and Lunch breaks
Where: Please note the change of the location: The workshop will take place at the Center for Doctoral Studies, Berggasse 7, 1090 Vienna, seminar room 2 (2nd floor)

On 14 June 2018 a conference on Supervision in Doctoral Education will take place. Please find the programm here.


Please note: The workshop is limited to 25 participants

* Please note: The workshop about Good Supervision is limited to 25 participants