Profile of a good supervisor

The FWO expects the (co-)supervisor of an FWO research project or FWO research fellowship to meet a number of specific requirements. Upon acceptance of such a supervisorship, the (co-)supervisor in each case undertakes to meet the requirements, responsibilities and tasks set out below.

The (co-)supervisor (both as supervisor of a pre-doctoral student and as chief or co-supervisor of an FWO research project)

1. Research competencies

  • is himself active in research at a high academic level;
  • in a research area that is sufficiently compatible with that of the PhD student or other researchers associated with his FWO research project;
  • is able to offer the necessary expertise, infrastructure and guidance;

2. Design, planning and preconditions

  • is co-responsible for the design and planning of the research conducted by the researchers associated with his FWO research project in relation to their research competences;
  • helps ensure adequate integration into the research unit where the PhD student, the postdoctoral researcher and/or other researchers associated with his FWO research project are active; where appropriate, he shares this responsibility with the other projects managers within the unit;
  • creates the preconditions that are indispensable for the proper functioning of the PhD student, the postdoctoral researcher and/or other researchers associated with his FWO research project;

3. Consultation, evaluation and corrective action

  • supervises the research of the PhD student and provides for a sufficient number of contact moments to thoroughly discuss all relevant aspects; the degree of supervision of other researchers associated with his FWO research project is commensurate with their input in the project;
  • evaluates the performance of the researchers for which he is responsible and takes corrective action as necessary;

4. Publications

  • ensures that the PhD student publishes the results of his research when they are ready, but also prevents them from being published when they are not (yet) ready or take a form that does not conform to the generally accepted standards of research practice; this also applies with respect to postdoctoral researchers in relation to their more advanced research competences and other researchers associated with his FWO research project if justified by their input in the project; 
  • adequately informs the researchers under his responsibility about their responsibility for their contributions to a publication, and bears himself the responsibility associated with (co-)authorship;
  • ensures that the PhD student and the postdoctoral researcher are recognised as (co-)author of publications that are (partly) based on their research and (partly) written by them, and that the PhD student and the postdoctoral researcher, in case of several authors, are allocated a place in the list of authors that is commensurate with their input in the publication; where appropriate, this also applies with respect to other researchers associated with his FWO research project;

for all of these activities, takes into account the common practice within the discipline, but in each case ensures that PhD students are given maximum opportunity to act as first or main author;

5. Data management

  • ensures that all data relating to the research conducted under his supervision are stored securely and durably, taking into account the specific characteristics of the discipline and the nature of the research;

6. Training and professional experience

  • assists in monitoring the implementation of the PhD  training programme and the use of other opportunities for training and professional experience that may promote the PhD research and/or the future career of the PhD student;
  • introduces the PhD student to relevant research networks and encourages participation in those networks;

7. Research Integrity

  • monitors compliance by the PhD student, the postdoctoral researchers and other researchers associated with his FWO research project, with the generally accepted standards of research integrity;
  • complies himself with these standards and creates a climate in which these standards drive the conduct of all parties involved.