Working conditions

Appointment Forms

The Promovendi Netwerk Nederland represents the interests of various groups of PhD candidates. These candidates are affiliated to Dutch universities, university medical centers and research institutions, and have various forms of employment:

  • employee PhD’s
  • institution PhD’s
  • externally funded PhD students
  • fellows
  • duals
  • external PhD candidates

Most PhD candidates are employed by the 14 Dutch universities and thus the CAO (collective labor agreement) applies to them. In addition, a substantial proportion of PhD candidates work at the 8 university medical centers, and for them, the provisions of the CAO UMC apply. Other research institutes have their own collective agreement. Read more about all the CLA’s on the CLA page.

PhD candidates: academic trainees?

More and more universities introduce radical changes in the PhD program by using cheaper appointment forms. The main argument for this is cost. These changes take the form of appointments as a student rather than an employee, but also a shortened PhD of three instead of four years.

This construction allows the universities to collect the same promotional bonus while investing less. This is remarkable because, according to available figures, the average time for a promotion traject is around five years for the beta and even more than six years for the humanities and social sciences. The PNN is not in favor of this development: the danger that the shortening of the PhD thesis undermines the quality of Dutch theses.

Bursary system

The Rutte I cabinet wanted to make an amendment allowing candidates not to be appointed as a full employee, but as a student. The purpose of the bursary system is a cost reduction in the first place. It is also expected that the measure provides more scientific ‘output’ and a quality boost. Meanwhile, it was announced that Minister Bussemaker removed this section from the proposed amendment and now wants to try an experiment with bursary students. The PNN has her doubts about the introduction of such a system and discusses this with different political parties.