Memo for supervisors for research students

These comments concerning the supervisor´s statement are primarily aimed at those written for applications for travel grants, but can mutatis mutandis be relevant for other applications. The assessments of applications for the “Yngre Forskare” travel grants (approximately 300 per annum) are made by a group of 7 members from the various disciplines covered by the Society. Statements by supervisors, which are an important part of the Ph.D. student´s application, vary in quality, and are often somewhat redundant. Obvious comments, such as the fact that a young researcher stands to gain by making new contacts within his research field and with international research, do not need to be reiterated, and do not facilitate the work of grading the applicants. However, the work of assessment is aided by information on how the Ph.D. student is performing (succeeding in) his research studies. An experienced supervisor should be able to gauge the applicant´s progress by a comparison with other Ph.D. students, i.e. give an evaluation of his progress. The student´s alertness, his aptitude for research in general, his capacity to work independently, to take initiatives, how far his work has progressed , his ability to collaborate , the originality and inventiveness of the results reached so far, etc. (are insights of value and) should be documented. It may be appropriate to note particular conditions concerning the applicant’s research project, his economic circumstances for research, maternity leave etc. For the sake of clarity, the statement should be written in Swedish.

An informative and clear supervisor´s statement enhances the chances of the success of the application.

If several research students under the same supervisor apply for a grant to participate at the same conference, then usually only one of them will be granted the stipend. For several applicants of similar qualification, it may be difficult for the assessment group to make a grading. Since the supervisor has the best knowledge and insight in this case, the assessment group is grateful for exact information and a clear grading of the applicants. We are aware of the delicate situation in which a supervisor may find himself, but the alternative ( casting a dice, perhaps) is worse. The supervisor can, if he so desires, send a grading in a separate missive to the Society´s secretary.
The supervior´s statement must be signed personally by the supervisor concerned. If this signature is missing, the application will not be taken up for consideration.

We at the Society, trust that the information provided by the supervisor and submitted by the applicant to complement his application, will help us with this work, which is occasionally somewhat burdensome. However, we always find great satisfaction in being able to provide opportunities for doctoral students to establish international contacts.