“Johan Larsbrink, Assistant professor at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, is a scientific and spiritual support among his PhD students”, the motivation letter for this year’s Research Supervisor of the Year Award begins. And it continues: “He [Johan] maintains a positive attitude for his students. His flexibility and empathy have provided his students a unique opportunity for professional and personal developments within and outside his group. Johan’s planning and coordination skills make him an excellent coach.”
Indeed, a worthy description of a worthy recipient. And Johan Larsbrink is very proud of the award:
"I was happily surprised already when hearing about the nomination, and to be granted the award is of course a great honour. An award like this means a lot to me, since it is a confirmation of that the way I coach my group is appreciated. The award is also very personal, it isn’t about research achievements or other more measurable results, it is about how I am perceived as a leader and as a person."
"For me as supervisor", Johan continues, "it is important to show commitment and to be involved in the group members’ projects, (though not in too detailed a manner), and to be accessible. I let them know that they are always welcome to my office or to send me an email or a chat message, at any time. And if I am not available right at that moment, I always make sure to come back to them as soon as possible. I want my group members to know and to feel that we are a team working together, but also that they will receive a flexible supervision according to their own, personal needs. I also think it is very important to be upfront about that I don’t know everything and that I always am open and willing to discuss alternative solutions to problems and such, and that I very much appreciate their input."
What Johan says about his ambitions and aims for the coaching of his groups, has been made very clear not only to his group members but also to the awarding committee. In their motivation they conclude: “He [Johan] has also been successful in creating collaboration possibilities with academic and industrial partners. In this way he helps the students for their choice on a future career. Thus, the Doctoral Student Board at Chalmers University of Technology has decided to grant the Research Supervisor of the Year, 2018-19 Award to him.”
Text: Agneta Olsson
Photo: Martina Butorac