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Trust is essential to this year’s ‘Supervisor of the Year’

A smiling man holding a diploma. He is surrounded by three men and a woman.
Supervisor of the Year Rafael Eduardo Guedez Mata, with his award and four of his students. Photo: Private
Published Aug 19, 2022

This year’s ‘Supervisor of the Year 2021/2022’ award goes to Rafael Eduardo Guedez Mata, a researcher at the EKV Heat and Power Technology division at the ITM School. This is the second year the Ph.D. Chapter at THS has awarded the prize – the winner is picked by an independent jury from all five KTH schools.

Congratulations! What does the ‘Supervisor of the Year’ award mean to you?
It was a huge surprise. Actually, I didn’t know that the prize existed. It felt great, one of the finest accolades I’ve received! It’s an acknowledgement by the jury and those who nominated me in the first place.

How do you view your role as a supervisor?
My job is to give the students I supervise the opportunity to become even better at their work – not to do the work for them, but to guide them forward. So, for me it’s a lot about being accessible. My door is almost always open. Building trust and being a good listener is very important.

What’s the best part about being a Ph.D. student supervisor?
The most rewarding part is interacting with the students and seeing their development. We become a bit of a mentor-mentee family. At the start, it’s a relationship where you’re building trust with someone on a professional basis, but with time they become part of your network, friends you keep in touch with.

Your best tips for being a good supervisor?
It will help if you are attentive. Everyone is different, and the students’ needs vary according to how they are as people. Then I think that being accessible is key to being a good supervisor, as well as being clear about expectations. Both regarding what students may expect of me and what I expect of them, so we can be a good team.

‘Supervisor of the Year’ award

The ‘Supervisor of the Year’ award has been given out since 2020 and is awarded to a doctoral-student supervisor in order to highlight exemplary mentors in third-cycle education at KTH.

55 Ph.D. supervisors were nominated for the ‘Supervisor of the Year’ award by current students and alumni. An independent jury then selected the winner made up of Ph.D. student representatives from all five KTH schools. The jury examined the nominations during two rounds, with a focus on the supervisors’ academic and non-academic attributes, such as networking and their ability to attend to the Ph.D. students’ social and psychological wellbeing.

Since 1985, the ‘Teacher of the Year’ prize is also awarded at KTH to promote pedagogical development and spread good practice, with a clear focus on first and second-cycle education.

Belongs to: Current
Last changed: Aug 19, 2022