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Working together with your supervisor

Working together with your supervisor

Choosing a supervisor

  • Your professional relationship with your supervisor is extremely important. Their role is to supervise your training and development as a junior researcher.
  • You may have more than one supervisor (a supervisory team). Think about the skillset that each supervisor will contribute to your Fellowship/project. Will at least one of your supervisors be an academic pathologist (with an appreciation of your training requirements and anticipated career progression)?
  • Think about your own qualities as a researcher and those of your potential supervisor – are they likely to mesh (e.g. is your potential supervisor very ‘hands-off’ or ‘hands-on’ and is this style likely to suit you?) The more senior you become, the less guidance you will need. Speak to previous/current students of your potential supervisor.
  • You may wish to look outside your current group for a supervisor.

Getting the most from supervision meetings

  • How often does your University require you to have supervision meetings? And how frequently would you like them? When you first start, you may need more frequent supervision meetings.
  • Fix supervision dates well in advance as supervisors often have full diaries.
  • Prepare for your supervision meetings: decide what you want to get from them, what you need help with and set an agenda . Consider emailing this to your supervisor ahead of the meeting.
  • Find out what your supervisor expects you to prepare/take to the supervision meetings.
  • After each supervision meeting, document what was discussed and a list of action points and timescales.
  • Consider reviewing this at the beginning of the next supervision meeting.
  • Your University may require you to formally document your supervision meetings.

What to do if you are experiencing difficulties

  • If your professional relationship with your supervisor isn’t working, consider discussing this with them. If you don’t feel that you can, consider speaking to someone impartial within the University e.g. a postgraduate tutor.