- Thesis director (EDMS member): Responsible for project supervision
- Thesis co-director (optional): Recommended if supervision requires complementary expertise
- Mentor: An EPFL faculty member unrelated to the supervision of your project
- A mentor is proposed jointly by the doctoral student and the thesis director, contingent on the approval of the EDMS program director who ensures that the mentor is independent of the project supervision, but sufficiently familiar with the field to estimate progress.
- The name of the mentor of each PhD student is listed in IS-Academia.
- The student should regularly meet with the mentor, at least annually, e.g. to discuss the Annual Report, and for independent career advice and support.
- Mentors should follow the progress and well-being of the student, also at their own initiative as seen fit, to identify needs and help to address them, respecting requests for confidentiality.
- When the mentor detects a difficult situation, e.g. between the doctoral student and the thesis director or other EPFL employees, an additional role is to be a neutral academic mediator, or to invite other personnel to help, if considered appropriate and compatible with confidentiality (see below in the section “Compliance guide”).
- To assure scientific progress, thesis directors regularly meet the student to discuss overall goals, experimental designs and fall-back strategies.
- In addition, thesis supervision involves personal coaching and feedback: This includes both encouragement and constructive criticism on agreed milestones and timelines. Patterns of systematic manipulative or abusive demeanor are not tolerated.
- EDMS recommends that students and thesis director meet early after the start of the project to clarify mutual expectations about supervision, using e.g. the form EstablishingGoodRelationships.pdf
- Another independent contact point to seek advice or mediation is the doctoral program director: In rare cases, problematic situations arise. The sooner they are addressed, the more likely one can jointly find a satisfactory solution.
- Within the bounds of respecting confidentiality, the program director in such cases proposes the most efficient solutions to possible problems, including the involvement of additional personnel as deemed appropriate.
A comprehensive description of EPFL rules, practices and values, and points of contact for support can be found in the EPFL Compliance Guide.
If you think you observe that clear rules and guidelines are not respected, ask for help to discuss it as soon as possible. Silence does not solve anything, and problems are easier to address early than after a long time. Our guide on how to proceed can be found on the EPFL Respect page.