Award for Best Doctoral Supervision 2023

On Thursday, October 12, 2023, outstanding professors* of Goethe University were awarded the prize for the best doctoral supervision by the Goethe Research Academy for Early Career Researchers (GRADE). The prize was awarded for the fourth time and this years number of nominees was higher than ever before. Among the 43 nominees were supervisors from all departments, who were invited together with their doctoral students to join the award ceremony at Campus Westend.


After the welcome with drinks in the foyer of the Casino building, GRADE's managing director, Dr. Sybille Küster, and the chairman of the GRADE board, Vice President Prof. Dr. Bernhard Brüne, opened the ceremony with their greetings. Both speakers emphasized the necessity for a sustainable development of standards for the supervision of doctoral candidates. Besides scientific excellence, they also pointed out the importance of networking, career advancement, and diversity.


In her keynote speech, Prof. Maresi Nerad (Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education, University of Washington), chair of the GRADE Scientific Advisory Board, discussed the different roles of PhD supervisors. In addition to the challenge of supporting doctoral candidates on their career pathway, she mentioned the dimension of the employment relationship between supervisor and supervisee, and the necessity of advancing the personal development of early career researchers. In this respect, communication gaps and culturally specific taboos between the doctoral candidates and supervisors can be an obstacle. Prof. Nerad gave an outline of possible approaches to overcoming these obstacles, first of all by creating a safe communication environment.

In the following, all nominees were invited to the stage and were honored individually for their outstanding commitment to the supervision of their doctoral candidates. You can find excerpts from the nomination texts here. Eagerly awaited, Dr. Sybille Küster finally anounces this year's winners, who received the check for the prize money of 2500 euros.


In contrast to the previous awards, this year the selection committee decided to award the prize in three categories:

  • All-round outstanding supervisor
  • New-generation dissertation supervisor
  • Life-long supervision achievement

The winner in the first category is Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera (FB 02, Department of Marketing). In their nomination, his doctoral candidates emphasized his high scientific standards as well as his competence and comprehensive support in applying for third-party funding. They also praised his ability to engage in an open and critical exchange about possible career options in academia and outside the university.


GRADE congratulates all nominees as well as the winners and thanks all visitors for a successful award ceremony, which contributed to the visibility of the topic of doctoral supervision at Goethe University.

The text has been edited for length and clarity. Link to original article: here (GRADE)