Follow-up group for doctoral training

The follow-up group supports the progress of the individual student’s doctoral training and career plans. It gives constructive feedback on the research and studies. Also it follows that the training is progressing according to the planned schedule. One task is to follow that the training environment and supervision of the doctoral student are sufficient in the context of the announced plans.

  • In the first year, the follow-up group evaluates if the Doctoral Training Plan of the student is ready to be accepted by the Doctoral Training Committee.
  • In the following annual meetings, the follow-up group oversees how the progress of the training, both in the studies and research, proceeds in comparison to the Doctoral Training Plan and schedule.
  • In the final meeting, the follow-up group takes a stand on the proposed pre-examiners and opponent(s) of the doctoral thesis. The chair of the follow-up group also approves the pre-examiners proposed by the supervisor (the pre-examiners are then officially appointed by the Doctoral Training Committee).

Each student presents his progress in research and studies annually to the follow-up group. In addition, the student will present his research (or research plan) to the wider audience at least once at a research (plan) seminar. This is organised by the doctoral degree programme, doctoral programme or equivalent. Each student usually has his/her own personally appointed follow-up group, but al programmes also have the possibility to arrange the follow-up whereby a group of experts follows the progress of a larger group of students. The group of experts should show enough interest in following the progress of individual students within the group. In general, the participation as a member of follow-up groups is considered as an integral part of the job of all teachers and researchers.

The chair of the Doctoral Training Committee formally appoints the follow-up group based on the proposals made by the principal supervisor and the doctoral student (OY KJ 3§). This must be done at the beginning of the studies, or, at the latest, during the first year of studies.

Follow-up group structure

  1. At least two doctor-level members that know the field of the doctoral thesis.
  2. A third member is recommended. He/she should preferably be at least a doctor-level member, but may also be a master-level expert from outside the university with a strong knowledge of the field in a non-academic context (e.g. industry, government …).
  3. The chair should be at least docent-level (docent, Academy Researcher, or other that has been externally evaluated).
  4. At least one of the members is from the University of Oulu (has work contract or is a docent).
  5. Follow-up group members may not:
  1. be directly connected to the research, or to the doctoral student;
  2. have joint publications with the student;
  3. be his/her close relatives, or family members.
  1. Supervisors cannot be members of the follow-up group. However, when expressly invited by the doctoral student, they may attend a meeting.

Emeritus/emerita -professor, who has not made an emeritus/emerita –agreement, can be nominated as a member of the follow-up group, but not as a chair.  However, emeritus/emerita -professor, who has made an emeritus/emerita –agreement, can be nominated also as a chair.

A close person cannot be a member of a follow-up group. A close person is defined as in the Finnish legislation of 434/2003 Administrative Procedure Act 28 §: (1) the spouse of the official, a child, grandchild, sibling, parent, grandparent of the official, a person otherwise especially close to the official, as well as the spouse of the same; (2) a sibling of a parent of the official and the spouse of the same, a child of a sibling of the official and a previous spouse of the official; and (3) a child, grandchild, sibling, parent and grandparent of the spouse of the official, the spouse of the same, as well as a child of a sibling of the spouse of the official. (3) A comparable half-relative shall also be considered a close person. For purposes of this section, a spouse is defined as a partner in wedlock, a domestic partner and a partner in a registered partnership.

It is the duty of the doctoral student to convene the follow-up group meeting annually. The student submits a brief report to the follow-up group before the meeting, describing the progress of her/his studies, as well as the plans for the following year. After each meeting, the student and the supervisor will receive a brief written report from the follow-up group.

The detailed instructions are in the forms and instructions library:

  • The follow-up group (instructions, nomination, meetings, reports) and
  • Doctoral Training Plan instructions

All doctoral students have to follow the study requirements and fulfill the obligatory course requirements included. Without accepted Doctoral Training Plan and the follow-up group meeting(s), the degree cannot be completed.

Last updated: 4.5.2017