Documents 2008

Lunch Discussion: Employment Conditions

P-NUT lunch discussion: Employment issues for PhDs

1Training and supervision plan

The training and supervision plan states what you are going to do in the four years of your PhD. The plan has to be completed within three months after you start your PhD. In it are the training and courses that you will follow, how the contact with you supervisor is arranged, which research facilities you will use, etc. A layout of the plan can be found on the site of PA&O ( The plan is written by you and your supervisor, and has to be signed by both. The plan can be used if problems arise between you and your supervisor, so it is important to make the plan and sign it. Perhaps filling the training and supervision plan can be added to the checklist of what you have to arrange when you are employed at the UT (for foreign PhDs).

The annual interview (2 way) and yearly assessment (1 way). After the first year, the PhD is assessed by his/her supervisor. After this first assessment the supervisor can ask the dean if the further yearly assessments can be replaced by an annual interview. All PhDs have the right of an assessment. This yearly interview (or assessment) can help avoid problems because problems can be recognized in an early stage and possible solutions can be stated in the report of the annual interview. This report is signed both by the PhD and the supervisor and sent to PA&O. this report is an official document and can be used if problems arise between the PhD and the supervisor.

Not all PhDs realize the importance of the Training- & Supervision Plan and the Annual Interview with their supervisor(s). It is not only good to know roughly what the plans are for the 4 years, but PhDs can also obtain rights from the written plan and written outcomes of the interview. Some PhDs don’t know at all that such a plan is needed. We are going to verify whether this can be added on the regular checklist all new PhDs receive. P-NUT is also working on a guide in which all (or at least most) things a PhD should know are outlined.

2Employment issues

The rights of a PhD are stated in the CAO. Additional rights (like maternity leave) are arranged at a local level (University) and therefore, can differ from university to university.

The labour union counselor (ABVAKABO) has an office in the Spiegel (room 500). You can contact Marianne Scholten there for advice. The first talk is free for everybody but you have to be a member of the labour union for further help and legal assistance.

Do not wait too long if you have problems, because then the problems have already escalated and are much harder to solve than beginning problems, and can even lead to PhDs not being finished.

During a reorganization a social plan is made by the Labour Union and the University. Sometimes there are problems and sometimes the solution is not very good for certain employees. If a PhD is involved in a reorganization under certain circumstances (when you can show that you are delayed by the reorganization) a contract extension should be arranged. If arrangements are made with a supervisor or dean, make sure that you have them on paper (or mail) because an oral agreement is not good enough in this case.

The University also has trusted representatives (vertrouwenspersoon) whom you can talk to about problems. Trusted persons are listed in the presentation sheets.

Although it seems that everything is organized very well at the university, and nothing can go wrong during you PhD. It has been shown that this is not always the case, PhDs may be affected by reorganizations etc. Therefore, it is important to become a member of a labour union. Also, if problems arise, contact the PhD network UT (P-NUT) and we can help you (find people) to solve the problem.