PNN quarterly update




PNN Update September 2021

PNN publishes quarterly updates in February, May, September, and December. The update is for members (local PhD representative organizations), but individual PhD candidates can also subscribe. Send an e-mail to to subscribe to the PNN Update mailing list. The update involves ongoing PNN activities as well as any developments pertaining to politics, policy, or events relevant for PhD candidates.

Opening academic year

On September 6, 2021, institutions for higher education opened their doors for students again. PNN was present at the ‘true’ opening of the academic year, an event organized by labor unions AOb and FNV, student union LSVB and WOinActie. During this event, which was held at the Pieterskerkhof in Utrecht, various universities were awarded ‘prizes’ for the most expensive executive board, the most students per lecturer, or the most temporary teaching staff. PNN awarded a prize to all universities for maintaining the system that allows PhD candidates to be appointed as a scholarship student rather than an employee. Professor Rens Bod from WOinActie presented outgoing Minister of Education van Engelshoven with an alternative budget plan, taking into account the structural underfunding of universities.
PNN board member Marc Vervuurt awards the prize to all institutions that maintain the bursary PhD system to professor and WOinActie member Remco Breuker.

Employment Conditions Monitor 2020 

PNN just published the Employment Conditions Monitor 2020. In the Monitor, we analyze PhD vacancies on the platform AcademicTransfer in order to discern the employment conditions of PhD candidates in the Netherlands. Data from 2020 show first of all that there is an increase in the number of vacancies, as well as the number of contracts offered for four years or more. Despite this; we see little improvement in the transparency of vacancy texts. In more than 3% of cases, the vacancy text does not mention the duration of the contract, and only 26% of vacancies says something about teaching tasks. Most of these however, fail to say anything about the size (in FTES) of teaching tasks. In addition, many of the rights PhD candidates have (such as pregnancy and parental leave; 30% tax rule for internationals; reimbursement of travel costs) are not mentioned. PNN calls upon institutions to be more transparent about labor conditions. You can find the Monitor 2020 here (currently only available in Dutch).

Changes in the PNN Board

It is September and that means that the PNN board will undergo some board member changes. Rosanne Anholt (chair), Angela Tol (treasurer), Keshen Mathura (external PhD candidates), and René de Vries (quality) will hand over their positions to new board members. The interview process for new board members is currently being conducted. Rosanne, Angela, Keshen and René will step down during the next General Members Meeting on 24 September 2021, during which we will also welcome and install the new board members. The current composition of the board can be found on our website here.
48 MD PhDs start their case against UMC Groningen
48 bursary MD PhDs at UMC Groningen are starting their case for having the same employment conditions as their PhD-colleagues who do have a contract. The LAD (Landelijke Vereniging van Artsen in Dienstverband) and PNN assist them. If you want to know more about this case, please read this article (in Dutch) in Medisch Contact. The case illustrates again the inequality between PhD candidates due to the Scholarship Experiment. We expect the final evaluation of the Experiment towards the end of the year. PNN is represented in the supervisory committee of the final evaluation.
Everything PhD-related in Goed Gebekt Intellect podcast

In the latest Goed Gebekt Intellect podcast PhD candidate Hajo Meijer (University of Groningen) speaks with Renske de Kleijn (assistant professor at UMC Utrecht) about supervising PhD candidates! The episode (part 1 and 2) can be found on Spotify and Apple. Do you have an interesting story you’d like to share on the Goed Gebekt Intellect podcast? Get in touch with PNN!
Want to organize a workshop ‘Career opportunities after your PhD’ with AcademicTransfer?


Did you ever consider life beyond your PhD or postdoc in terms of career perspective? About 70% of all PhD’s and 80% of all postdocs need to explore career possibilities outside academia. But where do you start your search? How do you get in touch with organisations and sectors and how can you tell if you fit in or meet the criteria?

AcademicTransfer will present you the AcademicsConnected toolbox in the workshop ‘Career Opportunities after your PhD’. The toolbox aims at supporting you on your career journey in research in the Netherlands.

Both the use of the tools and the workshop are free of charge for your PhD-network and can be a valuable workshop at your career day or career event or as a separate activity. For more information on the tools follow this link.

If you are interested in booking this workshop with us or if you have questions, please contact Audrey Peters at

AcademicTransfer is developing a new platform, AcademicsConnected, to help you and your fellow researchers find your career path in or outside of academia. This platform is a collaboration of the Dutch research universities, university medical centres and research organisations NWO, KNAW and the KB. We work closely together with PNN.

Upcoming Events
20.09.2021 Wetenschap(pers) in de publieke arena: Van wantrouwen tot bedreiging #2 (hybride)
Get in touch with PNN
Interest in knowing more about PNN? Want to organize a Know Your Rights meeting at your institution? Have an issue you wish to discuss confidentially? Want to subscribe to the PN Update? Do not hesitate to get in touch via