The PhD candidates Network of the Netherlands (PNN) is the national organization that represents the interests of PhD candidates who work at one of the 14 Dutch universities, at one of the 8 University Medical Centers, or at one of the 5 research centers. The PNN is an association with its General Members Meeting (GMM) as the highest decision making body. During this meeting, in which the Board and the local PhD councils convene, the policy and actions are discussed and decisions are made. The PNN, formerly known as the LAIOO, was founded as an association on 25 September, 1987, in Utrecht.

Goals and statutes
About 9.000 PhD candidates (data per October 2008) are working on their PhD full time. They constitute about 35 percent of the scientific staff. In addition, about 9.000 external PhD candidates are working on their PhD. It is important that all these PhD candidates are represented by an organization such as the PNN. The PNN has the following goals:

  1. to represent the interests of PhD candidates and comparable individuals on a national level;
  2. to coordinate and support the activities of the member organizations;
  3. to supply information to PhD candidates;
  4. to improve the quality of PhD research.

In addition, the PNN is also entitled to negotiate collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). The PNN, however, leaves these negotiations to the labor unions, and intends to realize its suggestions regarding new CBAs by . The rules regarding the association are recorded in the statutes. The most recent version of the statutes of the PNN date back to 12 July 2004. That has been the moment at which the PNN has become an incorporated association, and hence a separate legal entity. You can find our statutes here.

General Members Meeting (GMM)
During the General Members Meeting (GMM) of the PNN, the policy of the PNN is determined in consultation with the member organizations. The members meeting offers the PNN Board the opportunity to gather information regarding PhD-policy and possible issues that come up at the different universities. Representatives of the local PhD councils and the PNN Board meet once every three months (four times per year).

The PNN represents PhD candidates in talks with the Vereniging van Samenwerkende Nederlandse Universiteiten (VSNU), the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie voor de Wetenschappen (KNAW), the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), the Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatie Organisatie (NVAO), the Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap (OC&W), the labor unions (in particular VAWO Vakbond voor de Wetenschap, which encompasses the Landelijk Postdoc Platform (LPP), and the ABVAKABO FNV), the Boards of Directors (CvBs) of all Dutch universities, the Rectorencollege, the Landelijke Studenten Vakbond (LSVb), the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO), and many other organization, such as the Innovatieplatform and political parties, which are connected to the scientific community in the Netherlands. In addition, the PNN is a member of the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (EURODOC).

EURODOC (the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers) is the European Council of PhD candidates and young researchers. It is a federation of national PhD representative bodies (only these can be a member of Eurodoc) and per country two representatives will participate in EURODOC. Annually, one of the member nations will organize a conference, and after this conference the Eurodoc Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held, at which a new Eurodoc Board is elected. The PNN is a member of EURODOC, as the Dutch national PhD representative body (for more info, see the Eurodoc website).

The PNN organizes symposia, panel discussions, conferences, etc. to generate discussions about topics relevant to PhD candidates. In October 2012 the PNN organized the second edition of the Research Career Event in collaboration with Nobiles, which is a career event specially geared towards PhD candidates. The PNN also takes part in conferences organized by other organizations. For example, the PNN has taken part in panel discussions about research masters (NVAO), dual PhD tracks (VSNU), Training Grants (NWO), and Graduate Schools (KNAW). In addition, the PNN also regularly holds invited talks.