CNERG Community Expectations

Advisor Expectations

One defining requirement of my job as a professor is to initiate interesting research that will make contributions to science and to society. My success depends on mentoring people like you as you help me carry out that research. That mentoring will have many faces, but ultimately you will need to work independently on an original contribution to earn your degree.

Duties of your Advisor

One of my primary duties is to represent our research group externally by

  • writing proposals for new and innovative research ideas,
  • writing journal articles and conference papers,
  • attending meetings and workshops,
  • participating in professional societies, and
  • performing other professional services to the scientific community.

Your ability to independently produce quality research products makes it easier for me to succeed in my role, which should, in turn, enhance your graduate experience.

Expectations of your Advisor

You have a right to the following from me as your advisor:

  • Maintenance/support of your research tools and environment to maximize your research progress,
  • Timely review of your research products,
  • Access to my time to address questions and obstacles to your research,
  • Constructive assessment of the quality and progress of your research,
  • Management of the health of the CNERG community,
  • Flexibility in accommodating individual circumstances, and
  • Opportunities for you to provide feedback on my role as an advisor.

Semester Review

A private meeting at the beginning of January and July will provide an opportunity to review your research progress and performance as a researcher under the expectations described here. This will also provide you a time to provide feedback to me on my role as an advisor. You will be asked to provide a formal report of the following: Your progress during the previous time period, including a self-assessment of that work Your goals for the coming semester Any concerns of frustrations you have with the CNERG community, including myself.

Student Expectations

Research Progress

You are expected to make steady progress towards your research goals at all times. We will work together to establish short, medium and long term goals, including milestone dates and deliverables. Over time you will become increasingly responsible for independently defining these goals. During the academic semester, performing well in your courses is certainly important, but should not result in a complete lack of research productivity.

Research Documentation

The best way to track your own research progress is to keep good documentation of your work. In a traditional laboratory environment, this meant keeping a detailed lab notebook that described all the research tasks you carried out each day. In our computational research environment, the need for documentation is not diminished. Please keep a detailed record of your work as it will both help us understand results that you are producing as well as avoid repeating efforts that have proven unsuccessful in the past. An electronic record is suitable as long as it in a location with robust storage including duplication or backups.


Journal publications are the most important way to share your knowledge and creativity with the rest of the scientific community. Students pursuing a Masters degree will be expected to author or make major contributions to at least one journal paper submission. Students pursuing a doctoral degree will be expected to author at least two journal papers submissions. In many cases, these publications will be directly related to your thesis research and will contribute to your ability to communicate your final research product. Reviewing student writing is one of the most time-consuming and important parts of my job. The ability to write well about your research will demonstrate a deep understanding and amplify your scientific successes. We will work together to identify strategies for improving your writing throughout your training. Over time you will become a more independent writer, needing less feedback from me to achieve high quality publications. For publications that we co-author, you can expect me to directly edit and rewrite sections. However, you will be the sole author of your thesis – I will offer comments, suggestions and other feedback but will not edit or rewrite sections.

Presenting Your Work

Presenting your work at conferences is an important way to draw attention to your contributions and leads to valuable interactions with peers about your research. Both oral and poster presentations allow you to attach a personal element to your work and convince the audience to learn more about your research through your written publications. The quality of the presentations can be important in establishing your professional identity. We will work together to identify the most important information to include and the most effective way to present it, both in oral and poster presentations. Over time you will become comfortable at presenting your work to peers in a variety of formats and environments. You are encouraged to submit your work to technical conferences and will receive reasonable travel support to present your work. Travel to ANS Student conferences will generally not be supported.

Community Interactions

Fostering a sense of community requires regular interaction and individual investment in that community. The simplest way to contribute is by attending group meetings and spending time in your office during common hours. The combination of formal and informal interactions that results from these two simple steps creates a sense of familiarity that will directly contribute to our combined success.

Meeting Attendance

In order to make productive contributions to the group you are required to attend and actively participate in appropriate CNERG meetings. These meetings are an important opportunity for all CNERG members to learn about and identify new connections to other members’ research. Furthermore, by being an active participant in the research group, you can share your experience and expertise to improve the quality of all the projects being pursued by the group. It may at times seem as though the work of others is not related to your own, but making an effort to understand their work will add creative energy to your own work and allow you to recognize the overlaps that are sure to exist.

Office Hours

Choosing when you will spend time in the office as a professional is a matter of finding a balance between your personal lifestyle and work habits and being available to your advisor and colleagues for impromptu meetings and consultations. It is therefore necessary to establish some regular work-day hours when you can generally be found in your office.

Working with Scientists

The CNERG community includes scientists and other staff who are a valuable part of your support network. Whether or not they have a formal role in evaluating your work, their guidance and input to your work should be considered in the same way as guidance and input from your advisor. Similarly, you should expect their role in your research to be similar to that of your advisor, including co-authorship on publications, when appropriate.

Working with PhD Committees

The members of your PhD committee should be considered a valuable resource to support your research progress. While it may be common to select these individuals for the expertise that they will bring to evaluating your finished work, this same expertise is often useful during the process of completing that work. There are likely to be facets of your research for which those committee members can provide more valuable advice than your advisor, and they should be consulted on those topics. This will both improve the quality of the final work and also keep your committee members abreast of your progress, helping them better understand your completed work with less effort.

Professional Development and Growth

Literature Review

An important part of being a successful researcher is understanding the work that has already been done in your field and finding a place for your research in that body of research. Learning to use the literature review tools to locate relevant articles and then reading those articles will not only provide you with valuable information, but will also guide your research to ensure it can be an original contribution. We will work together to identify the best strategies for finding useful and interesting articles. Over time, you will become proficient at finding good quality articles that are relevant to your work. Reading other people’s published work will also contribute to improved writing skills. A goal of a detailed reading of one publication per month is a good minimum standard.


The Nuclear Engineering & Engineering Physics department conducts a regular seminar series with a wide range of topics from all the research areas of the department. These seminars are generally scheduled on Tuesdays at 12 PM and you should receive notification from the department office. All graduate students in the EP department are expected to attend these seminars. While it may be tempting to dismiss some topics as unrelated to your work, this is an opportunity to learn about a wide variety of interesting research. More importantly, it is common to find connections to your own work, even if they are weak connections, and in so doing you will develop a deeper understanding of the work you are pursuing.

Technical Conferences and Professional Networks

You are encouraged to attend technical conferences even if you are not presenting CNERG research, but should not expect to receive financial support. The personal interactions that are possible in face-to-face meetings are uniquely valuable and are likely to provide near term input to your research and professional development as well as establish your place in a professional network for the long term. We will work together to identify important and relevant conferences and creating ties to other scientists working in your field. Over time you will become connected to a network of peers and colleagues. Travel to ANS National Meetings and Student Conferences can be organized in conjunction with the UW-ANS Student Section.

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