Selected candidates and their supervisors submit Personal Career Development Plans to the Academic Committee, identifying the advanced and transferable skills courses, specific training needs, and other actions that they should complete (e.g. oceanographic campaigns, scientific meetings, short training stays at other laboratories), as well as describing a full research plan that should indicate the potential papers to prepare. At the same time, a Thesis Committee is nominated for each student, in order to monitor the progress of the training and research plans and to provide further guidance in cross-disciplinary topics relevant for the research plan. A formal presentation and defence of the PCDP before the Thesis Committee at the end of the first semester, as well as defence of annual Dissertation Progress Reports, ensure a periodic process of mentoring and identification of difficulties.
In order to provide a more continuous and informal monitoring of the students, a system of mentoring is in place whereby each new PhD student has a Mentor appointed by the Thesis Committee from among the more experience PhD students and young postdocs at the host institute. Mentors should help in the day-to-day life of academic research (administrative procedures, laboratory rules) and report to the Academic Committee any situation that might affect the normal life of the PhD candidate, including potential conflicts with the supervisors. Students are also encouraged to contact frequently and informally with the Thesis Committee, both to seek scientific advice and report any problem that might arise.