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A central component of the PPU program, offering additional support and guidance to the students, is the thesis advisory committee (TAC) that follows the progress made by each student on their thesis project.
The role of the TAC is to discuss the project with respect to the original aims and in light of new advances in the scientific field and the research plan for the next year and to provide advice for scientific and career issues. Each Committee is composed by three to four members : the Ph.D. advisor, a tutor (mentor), an external expert in the domain of the student’s Ph.D. project and a member of the doctoral school. The latter is suggested by the university, while the Ph.D. advisor suggests the names of two experts to the PPU Program Committee.
The Teaching Director of Institut Pasteur appoints the tutor, in agreement with the director of the scientific department to which the student is affiliated. The tutor serves as chair of the TAC. This role may be given to the external expert or the representative of the doctoral school (but not the advisor) by prior agreement, informing the PPU program office. In most cases, the TAC replaces the university committees taking place in other programs.
Students meet with the TAC whenever necessary, but not less than once per year. The meetings are organized by the student, in consultation with the Ph.D. advisor and the PPU program office. The first TAC meeting takes place in February of the first year. The second and third TAC meetings are programmed between October and March of subsequent academic years.
Before the meeting, the student writes a brief progress report that addresses research progress and plans, courses, publications, and any additional information pertinent to the student’s thesis, to be sent to the TAC Committee and the PPU program office at least one week before the scheduled meeting.
The meeting is organized in the following sequence:
1. A brief discussion among the members of the TAC in the absence of the student.
2. A presentation of the research progress and future plans by the student to provide an opportunity to discuss in detail the work described in the progress report.
3. The members of the TAC address questions to the student, discuss obstacles that may arise, and offer suggestions (the advisor should not participate in the discussion, unless requested).
4. A brief discussion with the student in the absence of the thesis advisor.
After the meeting, the chair writes a report on the progress and plans for the thesis. This report is sent to the PPU program office at Institut Pasteur (firstname.lastname@example.org), within one month of the date the TAC was held, preferably sooner. The PPU office submits a copy of the report to the doctoral school of the student. This report serves the purpose of updating the PPU program and the doctoral school on the student’s progress, and suggestions made by the TAC.