LEAD dissertations are expected to be completed after three years and their compilation is based upon mutual rights and obligations between supervisors and doctoral candidates. A written supervision agreement, mentioning goals and measures to reach them, is signed by both the supervisory team and the PhD candidate. Achievement of the goals is monitored regularly, ensuring continuous progress of the PhD thesis. Each doctoral candidate has a team of at least two supervisors. In addition to formal meetings, students meet with their supervisors once a year to formally evaluate the progress of the doctorate project.
Reviewed reports on the planned and actual progress of the dissertation project are due in month 6 (exposé) and in months 12 and 24 of the training program. In addition to the reports, presentations of the thesis at all LEAD retreats are part of the supervisory plan. As a unique plus, feedback comes from all student colleagues and LEAD scientists.
As LEAD dissertations are publication-based, the submission of articles in high-ranking and peer-reviewed international journals is encouraged and supported throughout the training phase. Manuscript submission is expected to gradually start after the first year within LEAD. Prior to the submission of the dissertation, each PhD candidate will participate in a transition mentoring meeting which will assist the student with planning his or her academic career. As an extra benefit within LEAD, each PhD candidate receives research assistance in the form of an individual annual budget which may be used for research activities fostering the advancement of the thesis project.