Protocol restart universities

This week the VSNU has published a protocol for universities while restarting university activities. Unfortunately, this protocol has come available in Dutch only. In brief the most important items for PhD candidates include:
In general:
      • Employees work from home if their work permits;
      • The current RIVM guidelines remain in force for research activities. This means, among other things, that it is possible for institutions to allow employees to carry out research activities at the physical location(s) of higher education institutions, in the event that this research work cannot be carried out remotely and provided it can be organised within the general instructions of RIVM and the Municipal Health Service (GGD);
      • In view of their own responsibility, continuity and organisation, there is scope for institutions to make their own considerations in the application of this protocol in consultation with employee participation;
      • The aim is to ensure equal rights and obligations for (foreign) students and employees when starting up education and research;
      • There is room for customisation in the protective measures to be taken, including for employees and students from at-risk groups. A good balance must be found here with the need to use these resources for care processes.
Research specific:
Universities, KNAW and NWO institutes currently use the following guidelines to fill in the space available for research:
      • For the time being, research activities that can take place at a distance will also take place at a distance;
      • Priority is given to the completion of PhD and postdoctoral research projects within university buildings. The importance of research for health care and the contribution to improving the corona situation are also important.   

Broad collaboration on corona-related problems of PhD candidates

Due to the corona crisis, many PhD candidates encounter problems for various reasons.  PNN is currently collaborating with PostdocNL, VSNU, NFU, NWO and ZonMw to find good solutions and to compensate PhD candidates for any delays they incur. In this statement (in Dutch – English version follows later) we set out the joint objectives of this collaboration. PNN is confident that this collaboration will lead to generous, tailor-made compensation for PhD candidates. In the coming weeks, the statement will be further elaborated upon, taking into account the major differences between research areas but also differences between types of PhD trajectories.

Previously, PNN has published its own statement regarding PhD trajectories in times of Corona. Our chair Lucille Mattijssen explained the recommendations of PNN to the Higher Education Press. Many of these recommendations have been incorporated into the joint statement. For example, universities are urged to ensure that health does not have to be subordinated to research, but that existing research can be continued at an appropriate time. Universities are also encouraged to offer PhD students the choice between a digital defense and postponement of the defense as much as possible.

Do you have a personal, corona-related problem that you would like to share with us, please email  and we will include it in our further conversations!

PhD trajectories in times of corona

The corona crisis has a huge impact on the entire country. Many sectors have come to a complete standstill. Academia is also affected by the crisis: teachers have to teach online from home, students fear study delays and much research cannot continue without problems. The corona crisis also poses problems for PhD candidates. Like many people, they experience stress from this situation, they may be afraid and experience difficulties in focussing on their research. Working from home can also increase loneliness. In addition to these relatable difficulties, PhD students also encounter more specific issues.

PNN has identified a number of critical problems and is making urgent recommendations to universities, UMCs and research institutions on how they can play a role in reducing these problems for PhD candidates. The PNN statement can be found here.