During the General Members meeting of 23 september 2022, Anneke Kastelein has been elected as the new chair of Promovendi Netwerk Nederland, the national interest group of PhD Candidates. Kastelein works at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) and investigates cancer related fatigue. She takes over from Meaghan Polack, who has left the board after two years.
Four new members have been installed in the board. Kastelein: “We have a strong and highly motivated team, with a diverse set of experiences and background”. Marije Sluiskes (LUMC) takes over as secretary and vice-chair. Marcella Ibarra (Vrije Universiteit) takes on the external, international and scholarship PhDs portfolio, Junfeng Zhu (Utrecht University) will focus on cooperation and support of the members of PNN and Roël Vrooman (Radboudumc) will start as boadmember employment conditions – Hospitals. Charlotte de Blecourt (Donders Institute Nijmegen), formerly career board member, will start working on the employment conditions portfolio for universities, Lisa Oskam (Utrecht University) will remain as board member for recognition and rewards and will succeed Kastelein as treasurer.
In the coming period, PNN will focus on various topics. Special attention will be given to increasing transparancy and accesibility of information on the rights and obligations of a PhD candidate. Kastelein: “It is important that PhD candidates know what is expected of them and what steps they can take if cooperation with the supervisory team or the institute is not going smoothly. Information about the requirements for promotion and defense is often not fully public, complete and/or findable.” In addition, the board work towards gaining more insight into, and attention for, the problems that international, scholarship and external PhD candidates are confronted with. Kastelein: “These groups have remained under the radar for too long, and there is insufficient insight into the structural problems they encounter.” The board will also focus on the roll-out of the new Recognition and Rewards programme and the National Open Science Programme, the collective labor agreement negotiations, mental health and social safety, and the finalisation of the PhD bursary experiment. By collaborating with national authorities such as the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the UNL, the NFU and the trade unions, Kastelein hopes to strengthen the position of PhD candidates in the Netherlands.