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.

New members PNN

Last Friday, the PNN general members meeting took place, like every four months. Due to the special circumstances, this was via Skype this time.

During this meeting, the financial report of 2019 and the budget of 2020 were approved, we were able to welcome two new board members for the themes career & PPP and quality & diversity (resulting in a complete board again!) furthermore, we also welcome two new members!

PNN is a national representative of all PhD candidates in the Netherlands, but our members are the local PhD councils of the Dutch universities. However, since last Friday HUP, the PhD council of Hogeschool Utrecht (University of Applied Sciences), is also one of our members. In addition, we have a new member who will represent the PhD candidates of the VU University: VU PhD Gatherings. We are happy with these new members! Do you want to know more about these two members, or our other 15 members? Take a look at this page.

Finally, during this meeting, we also discussed the Covid-19 crisis and the impact this has on PhD candidates in the Netherlands. We will share more about our opinion tomorrow.

PNN PhD survey: asking the relevant questions

PNN needs your input to improve the situation of PhDs in the Netherlands! Let us know what is going well and what is not going well in the PNN PhD Survey! This survey also covers topics that are usually not addressed in PhD surveys, but are crucial to improve the situation of PhDs. PNN will handle the data confidentially, so you can feel free to share all concerns you might have.

The more PhDs fill in the survey, the better PNN will be able to address your problems and to convince policy makers to make changes! We therefore call on everyone who is currently working on their PhD project, regardless of contract type or institution, to fill in this survey!

On top of that, by participating in the survey, you can opt in for a lottery to win one of two Career Coaching Sessions with a professional career coach!

You can fill in the survey here!