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How to Find Research Supervisors

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How to Find Research Supervisors

How to find research supervisors is the main question for most master’s, PhD, and postdoc applicants. Because research supervisors are the core component of their academic journey. Some traditional ways include using the Web of Science, LinkedIn, Google Scholar, ResearchGate and university websites. Applyindex aims to remove the traditional pathways for applicants when they are trying to find a supervisor. If anyone is interested, ChatGPT is another new option to look for supervisors.

How to find research supervisors on Applyindex

Applyindex logo Applyindex is a recent entrant in the field of higher education, alongside established platforms like LinkedIn, Google Scholar, FindaPhD, ResearchGate, and others. However, what sets us apart is our commitment to filling the voids left by existing platforms. Their primary objective is to connect applicants with the most suitable research supervisors. Our focus is on facilitating the matching process between master’s, PhD, and postdoctoral candidates from all corners of the globe and compatible research supervisors. We strive to make this connection easier, faster, and more efficient, moving away from the conventional, tiring, and tedious methods currently in place. Here is how to find research supervisors on our platform:  

1. Register on our platform, and define your research interests via the registration process.

2. Once you are logged in, go to the research supervisors page. Herein, you can see the shortlisted PIs with research activities compatible with your research interests or background.

3. Visit the supervisors’ profiles and proceed with one of the following options:

    (i) Select the “CLICK TO SEND E-MAIL” button to enable us to send an email to the supervisor on your behalf.

    (ii) If the supervisor has posted any available positions, submit an expression of interest (EOI) to express your interest in those positions.


How to find research supervisors using ChatGPT

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that was launched in November 2022. Crafting effective prompts is crucial when interacting with ChatGPT to obtain optimal responses. The choice of prompts can lead to diverse answers, which has sparked interest among professionals in the field, emphasizing the significance of prompt engineering. ChatGPT can serve as a valuable resource for individuals seeking assistance in finding suitable research supervisors. Here is a guide on how to utilize ChatGPT to conduct a step-by-step search for academic supervisors specializing in polymer chemistry in the USA:

1. Begin by visiting the official website of OpenAI at and create an account to access the platform.

2. Once logged in, you can initiate a conversation with ChatGPT by composing a prompt.

3. For instance, you can use the following prompt as an example: “please give me a list of 5 polymer chemistry supervisors in the USA.”

4. ChatGPT will respond as follows:

Certainly! Here is a list of polymer chemistry supervisors in the United States. These supervisors have expertise in polymer chemistry. Please note that availability and research focus may vary over time. It’s recommended to verify the current status and research interests of supervisors by visiting their respective university websites or contacting the departments directly.

  1. Professor Krzysztof Matyjaszewski – Carnegie Mellon University
  2. Professor Jeremiah A. Johnson – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. Professor Craig J. Hawker – University of California, Santa Barbara
  4. Professor Heather D. Maynard – University of California, Los Angeles
  5. Professor Brent S. Sumerlin – University of Florida

5. Next, utilize a search engine to copy and paste the names of the identified supervisors, along with their institutional affiliations, in order to find their contact details, including email addresses.

6. Compile a comprehensive list of supervisors, including their contact information, for future communication and contact purposes.


How to find research supervisors using traditional ways 

1. University websites

University websites are a valuable resource and database of research faculty members. You can follow a systematic approach to find suitable research supervisors from a university website. Below is a detailed guide:

1. Begin by visiting the official website of your target university. Conduct a search using the university’s name to easily locate their website.

2. Once on the university’s website, navigate to the department or faculty page that corresponds to your research area. For instance, if you have an interest in computer science, proceed to the Computer Science department page.

3. Look for a faculty or staff section or tab on the department page. This is where you can access information about the professors or supervisors associated with that department.

4. Afterward, explore the faculty or staff page to find a list of professors, along with their academic titles and areas of expertise. Typically, professors are presented with their names, academic designations, and research interests.

5. Pay attention to the research interests or areas of expertise mentioned alongside each professor’s name. This will assist you in identifying supervisors who specialize in your research area or share similar interests.

6. Next, click on the profile or biography of the professors you are interested in. This will provide you with more comprehensive details about their research background, publications, projects, as well as any additional qualifications or achievements.

7. While perusing the professor’s profile, make note of their contact information, such as their email address or office phone number. These details will be valuable for future communication.

8. Repeat the aforementioned steps for other departments or faculties if you are exploring interdisciplinary research areas or have multiple research interests.

9. Eventually, create a shortlist of supervisors who align with your research interests based on their expertise and research areas.


2. Web of Science

The Web of Science is a platform that grants entry to numerous databases containing citation and reference information from scholarly journals, conference proceedings, and other academic documents across various disciplines. Initially created by the Institute for Scientific Information, we will guide you on how to find a supervisor on the Web of Science through the following steps:

1. Visit Web of Science and create an account if needed.

2. Log in and go to the search bar or main search page.

3. Select “Topic” under the “DOCUMENTS” tab.

4. Specify your search query for desired research publications.

5. Refine results using filters like location, institution, research focus, or publication year to find relevant principal investigators (PIs).

6. Next, click “Analyze Results” after getting search results.

7. Change “Web of Science Categories” to “Authors” to see a ranked list of authors based on publication count.

8. Click an author’s name to view their publications.

9. Access profiles of selected authors and co-authors.

10. Note their contact information from profiles, including email addresses and affiliations.

11. Alternatively, search their names and affiliations online to find contact details, such as email addresses, for reaching out to potential supervisors.

12. Finally, compile a shortlist of compatible supervisors, focusing on PIs at universities or research institutes. (Note: Exclude students or postdocs from the shortlist.)


3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social media platform that primarily focuses on professional networks, connections, companies, and academic institutions. To locate suitable supervisors on LinkedIn, you can utilize a systematic approach. Here is a comprehensive guide:

1. Sign in or create a LinkedIn account.

2. Visit the LinkedIn homepage after logging in.

3. Use relevant keywords in the search bar to find your research area or field of interest.

4. Afterward, click on the “People” tab to filter the search for individuals.

5. Refine your search with additional filters like location, industry, connections, and current company/institution.

6. Review profiles of individuals matching your research interests, noting their background, education, experience, and research-related information.

7. Look for indicators such as publications, research projects, or collaborations in your field of interest.

8. Read their LinkedIn profiles for more details on research expertise, publications, and achievements. Note down contact information if available.

9. Finally, connect with potential supervisors on LinkedIn, sending a personalized message expressing your interest.

10. Alternatively, collect contact information and reach out via email or preferred method. Create a shortlist of compatible supervisors for your research goals.


4. Google Scholar

How to find research supervisors using Google ScholarGoogle Scholar is a platform provided by Google LLC. To find relevant supervisors through Google Scholar, applicants can follow a step-by-step process. Here is a detailed explanation:

1. Go to the website and enter your research interest(s) in the search bar.

2. The search results will display a list of publications related to your research interest(s).

3. In the list of authors, those with an underline indicate that they have a Google Scholar account. Clicking on their names will allow you to access their profiles.

4. Take note of their names and institutional affiliations. You can then use a search engine to find their contact information, such as email addresses.

5. Create a list of research supervisors and their contact information who share your research objectives and interests. It is important to focus specifically on principal investigators (PIs) affiliated with universities or research institutes, excluding students or postdoctoral researchers.

6. Keep in mind that if you click on a specific research area on a profile, you will be presented with a comprehensive list of researchers worldwide who are working in that particular field.


5. ResearchGate

How to find research supervisors using ResearchGateResearchGate is an online platform for scientists, researchers, and academics to share and access scientific publications, collaborate, and showcase their work. It provides a centralized hub for interdisciplinary knowledge exchange, allowing users to create profiles, upload publications, and engage in discussions and collaborations. With a user-friendly interface and diverse tools, ResearchGate aims to foster scientific progress and build a global research community. Let’s walk you through how to find research supervisors on ResearchGate:

  1. If you don’t have an account, create one by following the registration process.

  2. Once logged in, use the search bar or navigate to the main search page.

  3. Specify your search query to find research supervisors in your desired academic discipline or field.

  4. Explore the search results and review the profiles of potential research supervisors. Pay attention to their expertise, research interests, publication records, and affiliations.

  5. Read the abstracts or summaries of a few of their publications to gain insights into their research areas and methodologies. This will help you evaluate if their expertise aligns with your research interests.

  6. To obtain the contact details, including email addresses, of the identified supervisors and their institutional affiliations, you can employ a search engine and simply copy and paste their names.

  7. Eventually, consider creating a shortlist of supervisors who seem compatible with your research goals and interests.

  8. Alternatively, utilize the “Message” feature to send a well-crafted message introducing yourself, expressing your interest in their research, and inquiring about potential research opportunities under their guidance. Personalize each message to demonstrate your knowledge of their work and explain why you believe they would be a suitable research supervisor for you.


Pros and Cons

Below is a comprehensive table that compares the advantages and disadvantages of each platform for finding supervisors. As you can observe, Applyindex clearly emerges as the superior option among the available pathways.

Table 1. Comparison between different websites and platforms when it comes to “how to find research supervisors”.





Web of





Instant access to supervisors’ contact info. Green tick for How to find research supervisors
Access to PIs from all over the world, and not restricted to a single country.
Able to sort the researchers from an intended country.
Access to supervisors from multiple departments/schools working on multi/interdisciplinary fields. Green tick for How to find research supervisors
Ability to search for supervisors from multiple research areas simultaneously.
On-platform messaging
Access to the abstract of PIs’ all publications. Green tick for How to find research supervisors




Web of




Required to create an account to be able to search for faculty members.
Need for copying people’s name and their institutional affiliations into a search engine to find their contact info.
Need for making your own list of supervisors and their contact info.
Possibility of wrongly having students or postdocs in your list.
Need for repeating your search every time you visit the platform.



Irrespective of how to find research supervisors, it is essential to compose a meticulously crafted email (or message) that introduces yourself, communicates your enthusiasm for their research, and seeks information about potential research opportunities under their supervision. Remember to maintain a professional and concise tone in your email (or message), emphasizing your relevant qualifications and explaining why their supervision would be beneficial for your research aspirations. To assist you in this endeavor, we have furnished a set of guidelines outlining how to approach supervisors.

Remember, finding the right research supervisor requires careful consideration and compatibility with your research interests and goals. It’s essential to conduct thorough research and communicate effectively when reaching out to potential supervisors.

Do you have any comments on how to find research supervisors? How do you find PIs and academic supervisors in your academic journey? 

Amin Reyhani

Author Since: April 20, 2024

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