Positions

beeld: Pixabay

In 2018, around 5,000 PhD’s completed their PhD trajectory. This has been an upward trend for years with an average growth of 3.6% per year. PhD’s therefore cover a large group of higher educated people in the Netherlands and it is therefore important that the interests of all these PhD’s are represented by an organization such as the PNN.

To ensure the (long term) vision of PNN is more clear, we have established three focal points that are inextricably linked to PNN. Furthermore, problems, points of view and goals have been formulated for each portfolio, which is published in our Policy plan.

  1. Investing in science is investing in PhD’s

– PhD’s are an important basis for science in the Netherlands. By investing in PhD’s, you invest directly in Dutch science.

– A doctorate is work and for that reason PhD’s must be treated as employees. PhD’s are responsible for a large part of the research conducted in the Netherlands and must be rewarded for this. You retain and attract talented young researchers through attractive employment conditions. This improves the quality of research.

– Investing in young researchers does not stop with investing in research. Universities must commit to the broader development and career opportunities of PhD’s. In this way, society outside the academy can also benefit from the knowledge and skills of these scientists.

  1. PhD trajectory possible and feasible for everyone

– Doing research and working at the academy must be possible for everyone regardless of gender, orientation, ethnicity or health. Universities are committed to a diverse group of scientists to serve as an example and to be a role model for an equally diverse group of Dutch people.

– Moreover, these researchers must be given the space to grow in what they distinguish themselves to promote diversity outside of science. There must be a proper balance between workload and workability in order to be able to optimize the creativity required for science. PhD’s must receive the guidance that enables them to achieve their final goals. This guidance must therefore be offered individually and tailor-made.

– PhD’s are at the bottom of the hierarchy within the university and are therefore by definition in an unequal balance of power. This makes PhD’s vulnerable as a group. Universities and promoters must be aware of these relationships and ensure that PhD’s are not affected negatively.

  1. Future-proof trajectory

– Science is full of perverse incentives with a strong focus on output standards, such as the number of publications, the number of citations and the amount of scholarships that have been collected. This creates high pressure in all ranks of science and ensures an unsafe working environment, especially for PhD’s. PNN wants a wider system in which all activities are included in the assessment of scientists and PhD’s. There should also be recognition for teaching and peer reviewing. Feedback should not only be given top-down, but bottom-up must also be possible, so that misconduct can be raised in higher ranks.

– The promotion premium that universities receive for each dissertation delivered allows them to earn on external PhDs and international scholarship PhDs. PhD research may not be a revenue model. The ambition to deliver more PhDs must be accompanied by more investment in PhD’s and must not be at the expense of the employment conditions of PhD’s.