Promovendi Netwerk Nederland (PNN) is disappointed that the UMCG is appealing to the Supereme Court in the MD/PhD lawsuit. In May 2023, the Court of Appeal in Arnhem-Leeuwarden ruled that this group of MD/PhD contract PhD candidates is entitled to an employment contract and should receive the same employment conditions as other employee PhD candidates. Chair Anneke Kastelein stated, "It is particularly disappointing that the UMCG is taking this step. Due to this appeal, the MD/PhD candidates will have to wait even longer for the overdue wages and pension benefits they are entitled to according to the Court of Appeal."

The MD/PhD candidates were hired between 2016 and 2018 as 'students' under the scholarship PhD experiment. As a result, they did not receive an employment contract with a corresponding salary but instead received a scholarship. In practice, these scholarship PhD candidates performed the same research work and had the same responsibilities as employee PhD candidates but were paid significantly less, had no pension benefits, did not receive holiday pay, and were not protected under the collective labor agreement (cla). Kastelein stated, "The Court of Appeal clearly and extensively substantiated that these candidates were performing work for the UMCG, there was an employer-employee relationship, and the scholarship should be considered as remuneration." The UMCG claims there is uncertainty because a other judges previously made a different ruling, which is the reason for their appeal to the Supreme Court. Kastelein responded, "The Court of Appeal has overturned the judgment of the lower court. By appealing to the Supreme Court at the very last possible day, the UMCG is creating uncertainty itself. This case has been ongoing for over four years and is now further delayed."

Photo by Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash

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