Thesis Advisory Panels

TAPs must be recorded via Skills Forge 


The Supervisor and the Thesis Advisory Panel (TAP) monitor student progress.

Supervisors:

  • Send the proposed TAP membership via Google form by the end of October (for October start students) or after the student has completed the first month of the studentship for students commencing at other times of the year. TAP membership requires formal approval by the departmental Graduate School Board.

Students:

  • For PhD students the first TAP Meeting takes place within 3 months and the second within 9 months and coinciding with the first Formal Review of Progress. Meetings occur every six months after that with the second meeting of the year coinciding with a Formal Review of Progress.  
  • For Masters by Research Students the first TAP meeting takes place within 3 months and the second within 9 months. 
  • Organise your TAP meetings well in advance and preferably near the start of the academic year (academics have very busy diaries and TAP meetings must keep to schedule). Doodle is a useful tool. 
  • Discuss the content of your TAP report with your supervisor/s and allow time for them to comment on drafts;
  • Students must complete, with their supervisor, the TAP preparation form on Skills Forge at least in one week in advance of the meeting date;
  • Enter all TAP meeting notes directly into Skills Forge and take a copy of the review of supervision form to EVERY meeting.

TAP meeting requirements during write-up period

Skills Forge: Completing a TAP preparation form (Students)

Skills Forge: Completing a TAP meeting record form (TAP Panel)

Research Student engagement

RESEARCH STUDENT ENGAGEMENT

The following points indicate the minimum level of engagement expected of our students, if you are not achieving these levels then you are advised to seek help at the earliest opportunity: 

  • Working the equivalent of full-time in the lab/office (unless officially half-time), ie 5 days per week 09.00 to 17.00 (plus evenings and weekends when experiments require)
  • Working from home requires prior permission from supervisor/s
  • Regular attendance at lab meetings and seminars

Student responsibilities include: 

  • Ensuring that TAP meetings are taking place on schedule
  • Ensure all Skills Forge milestones are met
  • Ensuring that supervisory reports are up to date 
  • Any periods of sick leave need to be documented by completion of the self-certification process any periods in addition/not covered by the self-certification process need to be covered by medical certificates

What can students expect from their Academic Supervisor/s and the Department

Please see guidance on Departmental policy regarding supervision

What help is available should things go wrong?

In the Department, talk to one or some of the following people:

Outside of the Department:

Contact the Student Hub

Other sources of assistance for students

Contact the GSA (Graduate Students’ Assoc.)

TAP membership

The TAP membership includes all supervisors, including industrial supervisors of CASE projects and co-supervisors. In addition to your supervisors, students will nominate a TAP member from the department who is able to advise on progress and is independant to the research project.

TAP membership allows for inclusion of independently-funded research fellows, as long as the leading TAP member is a member of the academic staff with successful PhD supervisory experience.  

In addition to the TAP member, PhD students will nominate a Progression chair to lead Formal Review of Progress Meetings. 

Who should attend the meetings?

The full TAP (the full supervisory team and TAP member) is required to attend the 3 month meeting. TAP meetings that coincide with Formal Reviews of Progress must include both the TAP member and Progression Chair for the Formal Review of Progress stage of the meeting. Supervisors are not present for the Formal Review of Progress stage of the meeting. For the TAP meeting stage, the Progression Chair does not need to be present. In the case a TAP member or Progression Chair cannot attend a Formal Review of Progress, substitutes must be approved from the Director/Associate Director of BGSB.

Full attendance is preferable at the other meetings, but if this proves impractical, it is sufficient that the meeting should include the student, the main supervisor and one TAP member who is a member of the academic staff in the Biology Department. Virtual meetings, which are more likely to occur later in the studentship, are acceptable with prior approval from the Director/Associate Director of BGSB.

Information regarding TAP report content

Information about TAP deadlines, report length and content can be found in Biology PGR student progression: Criteria and timelines 

Year 1 

  • Year 1 TAP 1 (3 months)Before the meeting: A 1000 word report outlining the proposed project and experimental/research plans; An adequate SkillsForge record. At the meeting: normally a short presentation on the background material supporting their research project.
  • Year 1 TAP 2 (9 months) - Coinciding with Formal Review of Progress Meeting 1.

Year 2

  • Year 2 TAP 1 (15 months)Before the meeting: A report of up to 3000 word report including introduction, methods, preliminary results, discussion and a plan for future work; An adequate Skills Forge training record. At the meeting: normally a short presentation.
  • Year 2 TAP 2 (21 months) - Coinciding with Formal Review of Progress Meeting 2.

Year 3 of 3

  • Year 3 TAP 1 (27 months)Before the meeting: A report of up to 3000 words including Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion; An adequate SkillsForge record; A thesis plan; A timeline for completion. At the meeting: normally a short presentation.
  • Year 3 TAP 2 (32 months)Before the meeting: A first draft of some part of the thesis, and a timetable for completion of the thesis. At the meeting: normally a short presentation on progress. Discussion to ensure that the experimental programme has been completed or, if any further work is planned, that it is essential and realistic.

Year 3 of 4

  • Year 3 TAP 1 (27 months) - Before the meeting: A report of up to 3000 word report including introduction, methods, preliminary results, discussion and a plan for future work; An adequate Skills Forge training record. At the meeting: normally a short presentation.
  • Year 3 TAP 2 (32 months) - Coinciding with Formal Review of Progress Meeting. 

Year 4 of 4

  • Year 4 TAP 1 (39 months) - Before the meeting: A first draft of some part of the thesis, and a timetable for completion of the thesis. At the meeting: normally a short presentation on progress. Discussion to ensure that the experimental programme has been completed or, if any further work is planned, that it is essential and realistic.
  • Year 4 TAP 2 (45 months) - Before the meeting: A draft of some part of the thesis, and a timetable for completion of the thesis. At the meeting: Discussion to ensure that the timetable for completion of the thesis is achievable.  

Review of supervision

Feeding back information on supervision

TAP members are asked to discuss supervision with the student once the supervisor/s has left the room. This form is completed and returned by the student to Biology Student Services, B/T008.

 

The Researcher Development Framework

The Researcher Development Framework guidelines

TAP Meeting Structure

A 1 hour meeting focused on the student’s progress and plans, with: A 10 min presentation by the student covering work completed since the last TAP meeting.

With questions and discussion this is be expected to extend beyond 10 minutes, but it provides an indication of length and number of slides to be used (10-15).

Discussion on the student’s plans for the next few months working towards the FRP meeting. 

Review of Supervision Meeting between the student and independent TAP members and with the supervisors out of the room.

Complete a hard copy of the Review of Supervision Form (this should be handed in to BGSO in the Student Services Office, B/T008). Skillsforge TAP form completed and submitted at the end of the meeting. Understandably, if there are particular issues or student needs, the meeting would extended.