Training and Supervision Plan (TSP)

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The Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) has been developed to assist PhD candidates in obtaining T-shaped skills and in meeting the end terms of the PE&RC PhD Programme. Although the formulation of a TSP is voluntary, about 95% of all PhD candidates of PE&RC will formulate a TSP. External and staff PhD candidates generally are the exception, and often do their PhD without formulating a TSP and graduate without an education certificate. The TSP form needs to be handed in to Lennart Suselbeek (=PhD Programme Coordinator) within 3 months after the start of the PhD project, but the sooner, the better. The latest version of the TSP can be found here.

The Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) describes a PhD candidate's planned education / training activities, teaching activities, agreements on supervision and co-authorship. Although the TSP document has a formal function, it should primarily be seen as a document that facilitates the planning of training / education activities and the frequency, format and responsibilities of supervision. Therefore, the candidate should use the TSP to discuss these issues with supervisors so that both parties agree on the PhD candidate's training and supervision. Do realise that the Graduate School does not determine what must be done. Rather, it facilitates PhD candidates in acquiring the skills needed to function as an independent, highly qualified scientist. Facilitation occurs through the TSP and the organisation of a variety of courses, workshops and symposia. In order to facilitate as best as possible the graduate school highly values the PhDs opinion on existing educational activities.

The TSP:

  • Must be submitted by the PhD candidate within the first 3 months of the project, but preferably within 2 months after the start of the project;
  • Is officially signed by (co)-promoter(s) and supervisor(s), and approved by the Graduate School. Therefore, rights and obligations can be derived from this document;
  • Is officially approved by the Graduate School;
  • Can be altered in the course of the PhD period where the PE&RC office must be informed on changes with respect to supervision and research scope. The PE&RC Office does not need to be informed about specific changes in the education/training components as final evaluation of education and training activities occurs upon submission of the Training and Education Statement Form (TESF) at the end of the PhD project when the reading version of the thesis is submitted for evaluation;
  • Allows for a PE&RC education and training certificate at the end of the PhD project if all TSP requirements are met.

Before submitting the final signed version of the TSP to PE&RC, please send a draft version by email to one of the PE&RC PhD Programme Coordinators (lennart.suselbeek@wur.nl or claudius.vandevijver@wur.nl), so they can check whether all requirements have been met. When signed by the PhD candidate, promoter(s), (co-)promoter(s), supervisor(s) and Head of the Research Group, please send a digital scan of the form to Lennart Suselbeek (lennart.suselbeek@wur.nl).

Once signed and approved by the Graduate School, the TSP provides:

  • Statutory rights and obligations to the PhD candidate and the supervisor(s);
  • Access to a financial rucksack of at least € 2.500,- with which education and training activities can be financed (guaranteed by the university or institute at which the PhD candidate will defend his/her thesis);
  • A reduction (generally 50%) in the fee of courses and activities organised by PE&RC (only for those defending their thesis at Wageningen University);
  • A reduction (generally 50%) in the fee of courses organised by WGS (Wageningen Graduate Schools) (only for those defending their thesis at Wageningen University);
  • Free participation in specific PE&RC activities, such as the PE&RC Weekends and the annual PE&RC Day.
 
The PE&RC Training and Education Programme

Of the 4-year PE&RC PhD programme a minimum of 75% is spent on research activities (planning and performing research, reporting the results and presenting them to an international audience), a minimum 15% on training and education, and optionally a maximum of 10% on teaching. The PhD research activities are formulated in the project proposal which is submitted to the Graduate School and accordingly is subject to international peer review. To fulfil the training and education criteria of PE&RC, training and education activities must add up to a minimum of 32 ECTS (= 22 weeks). To comply with the criteria set by the Graduate School, the minimum of 32 ECTS must be spread out over the following four categories:

  • In-depth knowledge and insight
  • Knowledge overview, skills and competences
  • Scientific Exposure
  • Teaching (optional)

NOTE: The minimum number of ECTS required and maximum number given per sub-category is given in brackets behind each sub-category heading. Summation of minimum credits does not lead to the minimum total required.

The table below shows the set-up of the TSP and the training and education criteria that need to be met to obtain a Graduate School certificate as well as the elements that need to be discussed and formalised regarding supervision and co-authorship.

Category Credits (ECTS)
(Min required /
Max given)
CATEGORY 1: IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT
Activities closely related to the research project which involve in-depth knowledge development
 
a. Review of literature 4.5 / 6
b. Writing of project proposal 0 / 4.5
c. Postgraduate courses  
     c1. In-depth / Topical / On-site Postgraduate Courses 2.5 / 5
     c2. Methodological / Statistical Postgraduate Courses 0 / 2.5
d. Laboratory training and working visits 0 / 4.5
e. Invited review of journal manuscripts 0 / 2
CATEGORY 2: KNOWLEDGE OVERVIEW, SKILLS AND COMPETENCES
Activities supporting PhD candidates to obtain a scientific birds-eye view as well as obtaining skills and competences to function as a higher academic
 
a. Deficiency, Refresh, Brush-up courses 0 / 3
b. Competence Strengthening / Skills courses (of which 0.6 ECTS must be related to ethics in science) 2 / 4.5
c. PE&RC Weekend, PE&RC Day, and other PE&RC events 1 / 3
CATEGORY 3: SCIENTIFIC EXPOSURE
Activities which stimulate PhD candidates to present /expose themselves in a scientific arena for scientific interaction, stimulations and networking
 
a. Discussion groups / local seminars or scientific meetings 4.5 / 7.5
b. International symposia, workshops and conferences (at least two meetings, with a presentation (poster/talk)) 3 / 9
CATEGORY 4: TEACHING (optional)
Teaching is stimulated as it further fills the professional toolbox of the PhD candidate with additional / unique skills. To obtain credits, learning goals must be defined and demonstrated
0 / 4.5
a. Lecturing / Supervision of practicals / tutorials 0 / 3
b. MSc supervision 0 / 3

The final section of the TSP elaborates on supervision. Here too the first goal is to allow for a discussion between PhD candidates and supervisor(s) on the way supervision will be organised. In this section the frequency, format of supervision / meetings as well as the responsibilities of supervisors (who does what) are described. When research is (partly) conducted abroad an elaboration is required on supervision when abroad. The final element addressed in the supervision section of the TSP involves agreements about the criteria of co-authorship. Doing a PhD involves writing scientific publications. Being relatively inexperienced, PhD candidates often lack the knowledge and insight on how to deal with issues of co-authorship. Hence, PE&RC has included a section in the TSP in which we ask PhD candidates and their supervisor(s) to formulate a general agreement on co-authorship (click here for a PDF-version of these guidelines) and, if applicable, on which aspects this deviates from the general guidelines of PE&RC.

Please note the following:

  1. Apart from initiatives of the PE&RC office and PE&RC staff members, activities are also organised based on request and suggestions by the PhD candidates themselves. This request can either go directly to the PE&RC PhD Programme coordinators or via the PE&RC PhD Council (PPC) that represent and act on behalf of the PE&RC PhDs;
  2. Courses and other training activities organised outside the realm of PE&RC are also credited in the TSP, as long as the supervisor acknowledges the quality and relevance.