PhD assessment tests: poster session, final report

PhD assessment tests: poster
session, final report and exams
XXXI PhD Course Welcome Day
Alberto Di Renzo
Dottorato in Scienze ed Ingegneria dell’Ambiente, delle Costruzioni e dell’Energia
Embarking in a doctorate…
• Understanding PhD (philosophiae doctor)
• Cultural growth at the highest level
• Specialization vs. transferable skills
• Training programme (courses)
• Training by highly focused research
• Advance research at the frontier and beyond
• Communication, exploitation of results, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR),
research integrity and ethics, entrepreneurship
• Project management, scientific writing, presentation abilities, team skills
Expected program of the PhD
Tasks in the course of a PhD
• First year: training programme (a lot), individual study
(literature survey), laboratory/instrumentation practice and
start of the research work;
• Second year: training, research activities (a lot), participation in
events and conferences;
• Third year: completing the research, exploitation of results,
presentation at conferences, thesis writing (…a lot!)
(Self) Assessment
Three levels:
1. With (or against) the internal committee
• Annual report, poster presentation, examination
At events/conferences
• Presentations/posters, preparation of contributions
With (or against) scientific journal reviewers
and editors
• Preparation and submission of journal articles
Formal assessment in SIACE
Basic element: Career Development Plan (CDP)
• Laid down initially, contains the plan for training/research/acquisition of
skills/competences and is signed by the PhD student and the supervisor
End of first and second year (September/October)
• Poster session (this year informal)
• Free presentation of the project aims, research activities and results and
future directions.
• Written report
• A report must be submitted containing a detailed summary of all the
training and research activities, participation in events, publications
(format available)
• Oral presentation
• Presentation in front of the Examination Committee, generally followed
by detailed questions
Poster session
Presentation of the research project in front of a printed poster
• Experience with poster preparation, i.e. presenting the
research in a structured, mixed text/graphics format
• Practise with live communication of research aims,
methodology and results to senior researchers from different
• Gain abilities in catching collaboration opportunities and
• Expected to be able to defend from questions and confront
with criticism
• Useful for getting comments/suggestions by experts.
Written report
Preparation and submission of a written report for evaluation
• Length is 10-15 pages (format available)
• Contents
• Training activities
• Detailed list of training activities (seminars, summer schools, stages or mobility
periods, courses and tutorials)
• Individual study (of journal articles, books, literature)
• Teaching experience (optional) (lectures in courses, tutoring)
• Research activities
• Discussion of the research basis, the objectives, methodology, materials and
methods, modeling/laboratory/field research conducted
• Main results achieved
• Plan for future (next year) activities
Oral examination
Live presentation using slides and Q&A session afterwards
• About half an hour with questions
• Focused on the research carried out, will present project
objectives, methodology and discuss main results and future
• Prove your presentation skills both in preparing the projected
material and communicating it clearly and effectively;
• Prove ability to defend your work against critical evaluation and
questioning and demonstrate your approach convincingly.
Formal assessment in SIACE
End of PhD assessment
• Preparation of the thesis for external examiners’ evaluation
(March of the third year)
• End of third year final exam admission (October/November)
• Oral examination/defence in front of the internal committee
• Final live exam (Viva: viva voce) in front of the external experts’
committee (January/February after the end of the PhD)
• Oral presentation and detailed defence of the thesis
Assessment and grading scheme
Assessment is carried out always with reference to the career
development plan
Detail grading will be given to
• Clarity of the objectives and awareness of the state-of-art
• Coherence with the activities in the CDP
• Individual study
• Training activities
• Research activities (start or advancement of the activities, main results)
• Quality of the presentation and communication
• Dissemination and publications
• (Experience in teaching)
Final personal remarks
• Don’t think about exams, rewarding from a career in research
can be unparalleled if it’s done with passion!
Build your professional development and your future
Attend courses (not because you are required to), participate
actively and squeeze everything you can from them
Make contacts with colleagues, establish networks, be active
Enjoy travelling and visiting different research/educational
Always confront yourself with colleagues/supervisors/mentors
Good luck!