I have been asked to consider being a second supervisor on a Ph.D. project for a doctoral candidate at a U.S. university. As I am in the Netherlands, this does not fall under my normal employment. Does anyone know where I might find information about the normal fee for this type of supervision?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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    There might be some possibilities for indirect compensation. I think it's not unreasonable to want to actually meet the candidate and that travel should be covered by the U.S. university. This in turn should allow you to save some of your own travel money, if you combine it with some other visits in the U.S. – mlk Aug 9 '19 at 10:17
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    My guess is that if they were offering any pay, they would have said so up front. – Nate Eldredge Aug 9 '19 at 15:36

As far as I know nothing.

I've never heard of outside supervisors (in industry or academia) ever getting paid anything.

You should talk to your employer, if he is willing to donate some of your time for this supervision. (Depending on the research being done, there may also be some benefit for him.)

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I really don't know about the US, but in Sweden there is at least an option to get paid if you are the official, on-paper, second supervisor for an extended period of time (e.g., multiple years). You would not get rich and the university won't like it (because of costs, and more importantly, required paperwork). As a data point, being second supervisor of a PhD student is valued at about 5% of a full-time job at my current university, so you could expect about 5% of your yearly salary as an official external second supervisor.

That said, much, much, much more commonly external people are asked informally to help out without any explicit agreement and without monetary compensation. These are essentially being paid in collaboration opportunities and papers, not in money.

In that sense I would ask, but expect that the answer will be 0$.

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    Wow! 5%. I don't even get 5% for being a first supervisor. We get 1.25% for being a second supervisor. – Ian Sudbery Aug 9 '19 at 9:36
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    @IanSudbery That seems grotesque to me. That would mean that you could co-supervise 80 students if you had nothing else to do. – xLeitix Aug 9 '19 at 9:41
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    @IanSudbery That said, I don't know what being a co-supervisor entails in your university, but around here it means regular meetings with the student, and helping with research and publications (so actual ongoing interactions, not just evaluation of the thesis). – xLeitix Aug 9 '19 at 9:42
  • Generally it involves as much or as little as you are willing to put into it. I have some second supervisees that spend 50% of there time with me, who I meet every week, and have co-supervision meetings with there first supervisor once a week, but no one forces me to do this. – Ian Sudbery Aug 9 '19 at 10:11

I, too, don't know about the US but in the UK we paid someone an honorarium of about £250 for serving as supervisor to my part time PhD student while I was on maternity leave. So that was for a calendar year of part time supervision, equivalent of serving as supervisor for 6 months. Pretty poor compensation if you ask me, but it was formal with a contract.

In the neolibral university you are likely to get no money unless you ask for it as the powers that be will hope you don't ask. Determine what you would consider to be a fair rate and start there.

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  • I think you meant to comment on the other answer :). I sure hope £250 isn't 5% of your yearly salary! – GrotesqueSI Aug 9 '19 at 9:06
  • You are right. Sorry. – Ian Sudbery Aug 9 '19 at 9:36

Certainly here in the UK the answer would be $0.

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    Not true, as I said, we pay (a little) for outside supervisors at my Russell Group Uni, at least in cases of maternity leave. – GrotesqueSI Aug 9 '19 at 9:05
  • Even if they are second supervisors? – Ian Sudbery Aug 9 '19 at 9:35
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    I suppose it depends on the uni but at mine each supervisor has a percentage of the student and the most common split is 50/50 so there really isn't a second and a first supervisor. – GrotesqueSI Aug 9 '19 at 18:55
  • All students at my place are required to have a second supervisor to provide a broader range of experience, as a safety value for if the relationship with the first supervisor goes wrong, and generally to provide accountability to the first supervisor. I have some students that are 50/50, but in many cases its much more like 80/20. – Ian Sudbery Aug 10 '19 at 9:38
  • When I got my PhD it was more like you describe. This 50/50 was new to me. – GrotesqueSI Aug 10 '19 at 15:21

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