A university has the responsibility to contribute to equality, diversity and inclusion in society. They do this by researching, for example, the recognition of a heart attack (men often have different symptoms than women), the technical development of prostheses (people with a physical disability need individualized support), or the interaction between different population groups (the role of minority groups in historical developments).

But science must also search one’s own conscience. In recent years, there has been increasing attention for the themes of equality, diversity and inclusion within the walls of the university: there are more social safety policies, there are more Diversity officers installed to pay attention to this at policy level; and there is more financial support for minority groups. The figures are not good: only 20,8% of all professors are women in the Netherlands and ethnic minorities are less likely to receive scholarships for scientific research. Social insecurity in the workplace is more than sexual harassment or verbal abuse. “Micro aggression” on a daily basis can be disastrous for PhD candidates. An inappropriate joke during a consultation with colleagues, a like-knows-like network where you are only allowed if you fit in, or the feeling of not being invited to an interview because of your last name, gender or hobbies.

PhD candidates are the future of science. Inequality can scare you and give you the feeling that you do not belong. This leads to a voluntary or involuntary farewell from academia, resulting in the loss of young talent.

PNN stands for inclusion in academia in the broadest sense of the word. Regardless of your physical state, your ethnic background, your sexual orientation or gender: everyone should be given the same opportunities to excel in the academic setting. Inclusion leads to diversity, and diversity takes science to the next level.

PNN is committed to this theme and discusses this with stakeholders in the field. PNN is involved in the latest research by the National Network of Female Professors into cum laude regulations and the constitution of promotion committees. PNN actively promotes good initiatives (report LVNH, report VAWO/FNV, LERU). PNN makes an inventory via the local representation of PhD candidates and the upcomming national survey for problems and best practices amongst PhD candidates.