Ulla Hammarstrand, Prefekt
Michael Tjernström, Professor

Beslut

Vid MISU ska finnas en skriftlig överenskommelse, undertecknad av handledare och prefekt, vilken klargör vem av handledarna som har varit ”de facto huvudhandledare” för en doktorand. Studierektor för forskarutbildningen vid MISU är ansvarig för att ett sådant dokument skrivs i samband med varje disputation.

Det ska också finnas en möjlighet att ompröva utseendet av huvudhandledare, vilket gjordes i samband med antagningen, efter ett eller flera då det står klart vem som tar det verkliga ansvaret som huvudhandledare.

Beredning

Detta beslut har diskuterats i Lärarrådet samt med representanter för de juniora lärarna.

Bakgrund

At the time of admittance to the PhD programme, a minimum of two supervisors have to be appointed for each student. Both supervisors must be named on the application form. The Faculty of Sciences rules for graduate supervision stipulates minimum criteria for the supervisors:

Varje doktorand ska ha minst två handledare, varav en ska utses till huvudhandledare (HF 6 kap. § 31). Handledare utses av institutionsstyrelsen i samband med antagningen. Minst en av handledarna ska vara docentkompetent och ha genomgått handledarutbildning alternativt ha handlett minst tre forskarstuderande till examen och deltagit fakultetsnämndens seminarium om regelverk för utbildning på forskarnivå. Om möjligt ska institutionen utse en manlig och en kvinnlig handledare.

One of the supervisors must therefore be appointed as the main supervisor (“huvudhandledare”). However, this role is not defined, neither regarding specific tasks nor qualifications. When the supervision is split so that one of the supervisors takes a larger part of the supervision than the other(s) this supervisor naturally has the main responsibility for the regular everyday supervision. A junior supervisor with relatively less experience who take on this responsibility, must, according to these rules, share the supervision with an experienced supervisor that fulfils the criteria.

Who should be the formal main supervisor? The Faculty rules do not provide any guidance on this question and the situation can therefore vary from case to case. In some cases it is natural that the supervisor taking the largest responsibility for the actual supervision, also is the main supervisor. In other cases, for example if the PhD student is financed from an external project for which one of supervisor is responsible, the main supervisor can be the leader of the externally funded project, regardless of whom of the supervisors that takes on the largest part of the actual supervision. This is because the project leader is responsible for the whole external project, including the PhD part. An additional restriction is that the main supervisor must have an employment at MISU. Thus external scientists may be main supervisors only if they are so called “adjuct teachers” regardless of how the PhD-student is funded. One of the supervisors must still fulfil the criteria stipulated in the rules.

The Faculty rules on “Criteria for the assessment of research and teaching proficiency in employment as or promotion to senior lecturer and professor at the Faculty of Science, Stockholm University”, states:

The applicant must present documented experience of education at third-cycle level. As part of this, the applicant should have been the de facto main supervisor of at least two research students who have been awarded a Ph.D. The term de facto main supervisor means responsibility for the whole process, including active supervision of the actual research work.

The applicant must present documented experience of individual supervision over and above the supervision of research students, for example of degree project supervision or postdoc supervision.

It is therefore very important for everyone who is nota professor to have the roles as “de facto main supervisor” in order to qualify for promotion sometime in the future.

The expression “de facto main supervisor” indicates that this person does not necessarily have to be the formal main supervisor. As discussed above, a junior supervisor may be the de facto main supervisor, even if a more senior supervisor is appointed as main supervisor. In this case it is very important that this is well documented.

At MISU there has to be a written agreement, signed by both supervisors and the prefect, stating who is the “de facto main supervisor”. At MISU the director of PhD studies is responsible that such a document is written in connection with dissertations.

There is also a possibility to reconsider the appointment as main supervisor, taken in connection with the students application, after one or more years when it becomes clear who takes the real responsibility as main supervisor.