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Elections FAQ

English below

FAQ

Ik ben geen promovendus, kan ik toch op jullie stemmen?

Jazeker, en doe dat alsjeblieft! Als je een medewerker van de universiteit bent, dan mag je stemmen op de partijen van de personeelsgeleding, waar PhDoc een van is. 

Ik ben een buitenpromovendus/contractpromovendus, kan ik stemmen?

Het spijt ons, maar de regelgeving is zo dat alleen universiteitsmedewerkers mogen stemmen. Als PhDoc zullen we juist daarom nog harder vechten voor je rechten en je belangen. Als je ons wilt helpen verkozen te worden, kan je onze flyer in je onderzoeksgroep of instituut verspreiden, en je collega’s overtuigen om op ons te stemmen

Waarom zou ik überhaupt stemmen?

De universiteitsraad heeft een belangrijke functie in de universiteit. We stellen perken aan wat het college van bestuur zomaar kan doen, en we hebben invloed op beslissingen die op het hoogste niveau genomen worden. En het college luistert naar ons, zoals bijvoorbeeld toen wij adviseerden om niet aan het bursalenexperiment mee te doen. 

Waarom zou ik specifiek op PhDoc stemmen?

Promovendi zijn een vaak onzichtbare groep, maar door hun onderzoek en hun onderwijstaak dragen zij voor een belangrijk deel bij aan de kerntaak van een universiteit. Bovendien bestaat ruim een derde van de wetenschappelijke staf uit promovendi. Daarom is het erg belangrijk dat er een partij is die hun belangen behartigt en opkomt voor hun rechten.

Wat willen jullie de komende jaren doen?

Ons volledige verkiezingsprogramma vind je hier. Heel kort gezegd willen we ons sterk maken voor een verbetering van de graduate schools, promovendi de mogelijkheid geven hun BKO te halen, en het loopbaanbeleid voor promovendi en postdocs verbeteren. 

Hoe stem ik?

Als je gemachtigd bent om te stemmen, krijg je op 9 mei een e-mail met een link om online te stemmen. Je kan de hele week (van 9-13 mei) stemmen. Daartoe kun je ook deze link volgen en inloggen met je UCLN account. 

Hoe kan ik PhDoc helpen bij de verkiezingen?

Je kan onze flyer verspreiden.
Je kan je collega’s overtuigen om te gaan stemmen, en specifiek op ons!

Wanneer zal ik stemmen?

Waarom niet NU!

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FAQ

I am not a PhD candidate, can I vote for PhDoc?

Yes, and, please do so! If you are an employee of the university you are eligible to vote for the parties in the employee section of the university council, of which PhDoc is one. 

I am an externally/self-funded PhD candidate, can I vote?

We very much regret that current legislation only allows university employees to vote. As PhDoc we will fight for your rights and protect your interests in the University council regardless. You can help us do this by spreading our flyer in your research group or institute, and convincing colleagues to vote for us. 

Why should I vote for university council at all?

The university council has an important function in the university. We put checks on the power of the board of directors, and we give advice on the highest level decisions made at the university. And the board of directors actually listens to us, for example when we advised not to take part in the bursary experiment. 

Why should I vote for PhDoc specifically?

PhD candidates are an often overlooked group, but through their research and teaching duties they contribute to the core tasks of the university. Over a third of the research staff are PhD candidates. Therefore it is extra important that there is a party to step up for their interests and to stand up for their rights. 

What are your plans for the coming years?

You can find our complete programme here. Our main points are basically to improve the organization of the graduate schools, give PhD’s the opportunity to obtain their BKO during their promotion, and improve the career counseling for PhD’s and postdocs. 

How do I vote?

If you are eligible to vote you will receive an email on your work address with a link to the online voting platform. This email will be sent on Monday the 9th of May, and you can vote the entire week (May 9-13). You can also follow this link and log in with your ULCN account.

How can I help PhDoc get elected?

You can spread our flyer.
You can convince all your colleagues to vote in general, and specifically vote for us.

When should I vote?

Why not NOW!

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Stem op PhDoc / Vote for PhDoc!

English below

Van 9 t/m 13 mei vinden er verkiezingen plaats voor de Universiteitsraad.
Lees hier waarom PhDoc jouw stem verdient! Download hier ook de PDF-versie van ons programma.

10 redenen om PhDoc te steunen

Stem voor…

  1. Een brede behartiging van de belangen van promovendi, studenten en medewerkers.
  2. Een kritische blik op het promovendibeleid, het promotiereglement en de richtlijnen.
  3. Een verbetering van de vaardigheidscursussen voor promovendi.
  4. Het verzet tegen het experiment met promotiestudenten.
  5. Een verbetering van de voorbereiding en begeleiding van promovendi bij doceren.
  6. Een stem voor contract- en buitenpromovendi.
  7. Het vooruithelpen van het loopbaanbeleid voor promovendi en postdocs.
  8. Een promovendipsycholoog die de problemen en uitdagingen van promovendi begrijpt.
  9. De mogelijkheid voor promovendi en postdocs om hun BKO te behalen.
  10. Een optimalisatie van de organisatie van de Leidse Graduate Schools.

Terugblik 2014-2016

PhDoc bestond in de Universiteitsraad 2014-2016 uit Gareth O’Neill (fractievoorzitter 2014-2016), Jantine Brussee (2014-2015), en Wieneke Jansen (2015-2016). PhDoc is de laatste twee jaar zeer actief geweest in de Universiteitsraad:

  • Wij zijn betrokken bij de landelijke acties tegen het experiment promotiestudent en hebben ervoor gezorgd dat de Universiteit Leiden niet meedoet aan het experiment.
  • Wij hebben kritisch commentaar geleverd op het nieuwe promotiereglement en de promotierichtlijnen voor medewerkerpromovendi en contractpromovendi.
  • Wij hebben de problemen van contractpromovendi en buitenpromovendi meermaals aangekaart en hebben actief gepoogd om contractpromovendi kiesrecht te verlenen.
  • Wij hebben niet alleen de belangen van promovendi en postdocs consequent bij alle beleidsbeslissingen behartigd maar zijn ook opgekomen voor belangen van studenten en medewerkers.
  • Wij hebben een gedetailleerde notitie geschreven om belangrijke promovendizaken aan te kaarten, die nu samen met onze opvolgers in universitaire werkgroepen worden aangepakt.

Stem!

PhDoc mikt weer op twee zetels in de universitaire verkiezingen voor de Universiteitsraad 2016-2018. Onze lijst wordt geleid door Sasha Sabbah-Goldstein van FGW/LIAS (op nummer 1) en Charlotte de Roon van FGGA/CRK (op nummer 2). Vragen? Schroom ze niet te stellen! Oók na de verkiezingen.

Steun PhDoc in de komende verkiezingen en stem op één van onze kandidaten aanstaande verkiezingen 9 t/m 13 mei 2016!


 

From May 9-13 the university elections will take place. Learn here why you should vote for PhDoc! You can download a PDF version of our programme here.

10 reasons to support PhDoc

Vote for…

  1. A broad representation of the interests of PhDs, students and staff.
  2. A critical assessment of the PhD policy, as well as the PhD regulations and guidelines.
  3. An improvement of the skill courses offered to PhDs.
  4. Resistance against the ‘bursary experiment’.
  5. An improvement of the preparation and supervision for PhDs who are teaching courses.
  6. A vote for contract PhDs and external PhDs.
  7. An improvement of the career perspectives of PhDs and postdocs.
  8. A PhD-counsellor who understands the problems and challenges that PhDs face.
  9. The opportunity for PhDs and postdocs to obtain the Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO).
  10. An optimalisation of the organisation of the Graduate Schools at Leiden University.

Previous activities 2014-2016

From 2014-2016 PhDoc had two seats on the University Council, held by Gareth O’Neill (party leader 2014-2016), Jantine Brussee (2014-2015), and Wieneke Jansen (2015-2016). PhDoc has been a driving force in the University Council during the past two years:

  • We are participating in the national fight against the bursary experiment and effectuated the withdrwal of Leiden University from the experiment.
  • We have expressed our criticism of the new PhD regulations and guidelines for internal PhDs and contract PhDs.
  • We have put the needs and problems of contact PhDs and external PhDs on the University agenda and we have requested voting rights for contract PhDs.
  • We have not only actively and consequently represented the interests of PhDs and postdocs in the policy making, but we also defended the needs of students and staff.
  • We have composed a detailed statement on important PhD issues, which will now be tackled, in collaboration with our successors, by university taskforces.

Vote!

PhDoc aims to keep its two seats in the University Council for the period of 2016-2018. At the top of our party list are Sasha Sabbah-Goldstein of FGW/LIAS (on no. 1) and Charlotte de Roon of FGGA/CRK (on no. 2). Questions? Do not hesitate to contact us, now or after the elections.

Support PhDoc during the coming elections and vote for one of our candidates during elections week: May 9 – 13, 2016!

An update from PhDoc

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from PhDoc. We’ve been very busy since we were elected and would like to give an update of what we’ve accomplished the last few months. PhDoc is the political party representing PhD candidates in the University Council. Of course we’re not the only people trying to give a voice to PhD candidates and we are also constantly in contact with LEO and LAP, the two representative groups for PhD candidates at Leiden University and LUMC respectively.

PhD Candidates: four categories

We’ve found out that the university distinguishes four categories of PhD candidates in Leiden and not all of these groups are well-known or well-represented in the university and faculty councils. Group 1 PhDs are employed by the university and their primary task is the PhD (internal PhDs/AIO’s). Group 2 PhDs are not employed by the university but receive a grant and their primary task is the PhD (contract PhDs). Group 3 PhDs are employed by the university but their primary task is not the PhD. Group 4 PhDs are not employed by the university and their primary task is not the PhD (external PhDs). Groups 1 and 3 are able to vote and be elected for the university and faculty councils. Groups 2 and 4 are currently not able to vote or be elected. We have argued to allow Group 2 PhDs to vote and be elected for the councils and are hoping that this will be possible for the coming university and faculty council elections. We have also made enquiries on how PhDs from LUMC or Campus The Hague are represented. Both Campus The Hague and LUMC are faculties of Leiden University, but LUMC has its own governing and co-determination structure. The PhDs of Campus The Hague are officially represented in the councils of Leiden University, but the PhDs of LUMC are officially represented in the Works Council of LUMC and also by LAP in contact with the dean of LUMC.

PhDs in the university policy

One of the main recent agenda points of the university council has been the future long-term plans of the university, the Instellingsplan. In this plan, the university board puts forward their plans for the coming five years and their vision on the years after that. We have ensured that PhDs/postdocs are taken into account in the plan and we will be actively involved in the implementation of the plan with respect to PhDs and the drafting of new PhD policies. We have also argued for better preparation on work and life after the PhD (is there life after your PhD? Yes, there is ;-)). There are now courses in career counseling for PhDs and we have proposed other options for preparing PhDs on work outside academia such as teaching, internships, and better links with industry and government. We are finally pushing for an independent report on (improving) career development for PhDs/postdocs and hope this report will be initiated in the coming term.

‘Healthy PhDs’

We have also focused on the well-being of PhDs. The focus should be on your research, not on any side business. We believe PhDs should have the option of gaining teaching experience, but this should not negatively influence their research. If you would like to have education tasks, you should be able to do that up to a maximum of 20% of your time. We have also discussed ‘werkdruk’, the high workload and pressure on PhDs, with the university board and they have acknowledged the problem and are looking for solutions. If you have any ideas to decrease workload, please share them with us!

Bursary Experiment

For the coming months, we will also focus on the proposed government experiment to allow some universities to legally have PhDs who are not employees receiving a wage (employee PhD system), but are students receiving a grant (bursary PhD system). We have consistently argued, alongside the PhD Candidates Network of the Netherlands (PNN) and several of the main Dutch labour Unions (such as FNV and VAWO), that PhDs are and should not be considered students, but employees who actively contribute to the main tasks of the university, research and education. We are strongly against this experiment and the introduction of the bursary system in the Netherlands are actively campaigning against this on both a university level and on a national level. We are currently in discussion with various PhD organisations around the Netherlands as well as the PhD Association of the Netherlands (PNN) on this matter. More info on that will follow very soon and we will be looking for support from you!

Contact us!

Our focus remains on both PhDs and post-docs and their well-being. If you run into anything, have a good idea or just want to share a thought or good practices, please share this with us. We greatly appreciate that. In the meantime, please keep on following us on facebook < https://www.facebook.com/PhDoc > and Twitter < @PhDocUniv > where we post updates more regularly.

Gareth O’Neill & Jantine Brussee

PhDs meet with the University Council

Following an initiative by PhDoc, on January 20th the University Council invited representatives of Leiden PhD candidates of various faculties to a meeting to ask their input on matters that concern them. Nathalie van Hees attended the meeting representing the PhD candidates of the Psychology institute, and agreed to share her notes with us.

The meeting was quite a success, with lively discussion on various topics, and some decisions were made. We also ran short of time, so there might be another meeting. The main issues discussed were the ones listed below.

Internationals

The international PhD students present at the meeting took this opportunity to bring some pressing problems to the table. The situation for international PhD students is unpleasant and difficult: a mass of administration, often in Dutch, and no straightforward rules and regulations on e.g. tuition fees. Language courses are not paid for by the University. The P&O department’s English is bad, and their knowledge of PhD’s rights is almost non-existent. Nobody at the University helps you finding a place to live, while you find out years later about the Boerhaave foundation. Our general conclusion was that we need to have the international office returned.

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Door Nathalie van Hees
—-Nathalie van Hees 145x145px—-
Nathalie van Hees is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University.
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Protection and representation

We discussed the lack of protection of PhD candidates and the lack of representation. We used some unrealistic PhD projects as an example, but also the misuse of PhD candidates and the high threshold of going to your promoter to fight it out. In principle there is a trust/confidence person for this at every faculty, and some faculties have a PhD mentor. These people however are difficult to find, and they are not always neutral, making the threshold quite high. At the Archaeology faculty they devised a way of dealing with this: PhD candidates can chat with another professor at the faculty several times during their project, to report on problems. At the university of Nijmegen they even make sure this person is neutral. We would like to see options like that available in a structured way.

Graduate courses

PhD candidates in general were not impressed with the courses provided by the ICLON and the University. The Institute of History even started its own course in teaching for PhD candidates, because the ICLON crash course was so unsatisfactory. Other courses offering general skills are much too general, or offer research-related skills instead of the transferable skills that PhD candidates are looking for. A well organized and good quality university-wide graduate school is something we all want. But: do we want obligatory ects?

Teaching

And finally we discussed the large differences in the teaching load for PhD candidates. Some participants got almost no teaching experience while really wanting to obtain a BKO, while others were upset because of being forced to spend an unwanted large amount of time (30%) on teaching. The suggestion was made to clearly quantify the amount of teaching PhD candidates are expected to do, as already happens at the Law faculty. Currently there is no policy, which makes abuse by supervisors and institutes possible.

Shady contract types

The UR has noted our concerns about the ‘experiment promotiestudent’. Plans were made to communicate our opinion in a structured way to those responsible. The main points of concern: who will teach the students if the PhD candidates are no longer allowed to do so (only staff can teach)? Plus: another type of PhD student will be added to an already unwanted high number of different types, and there will be jealousy between PhD students and candidates with bad and good deals which in turn will be bad for cooperation on projects. Also, less people will be inclined to start a PhD trajectory because they cannot afford it. And finally, the ‘experiment’ is not an experiment because it appears to involve more than half of all PhD students.

Career after the PhD

We discussed how daunting the prospect of unemployment or endless post-docing after finishing your PhD is. The university does not prepare you for this, and supervisors think you are not motivated when you indicate that you are also preparing for a career outside of academia. Your institute urges you to be competitive, while almost never hiring their own PhDs because allegedly your CV benefits from different countries/universities. This topic had no conclusion. (But it was nice to complain.)

A Council member asked how many of us were interested in pursuing a career in academia and how much of a problem it was that we cannot stay on at Leiden University. The answer differed per participant, but in general the lack of freedom of choice was seen as a problem. He pointed out that PhD candidates are a source of income for the university and that there are vastly more than can be given a job.

Lack of information

And last but not least we discussed the general lack of information. We concluded that we desperately need a good quality and accessible source of information. Improving to PhD-portal would help, also having an intranet would be a vast improvement. And would it not be great if all new PhD students would receive an information package when signing their contract?

Debate on bursary system at LUMC PhD day

On Friday 25th October the VAO (Vereniging Arts Onderzoekers) organized a PhD day at the LUMC, which was concluded with a debate on the introduction of a bursary system to the PhD system in the Netherlands. The result: a landslide NO to the bursary system from the PhD candidates present. Gareth O’Neill, representing PhDoc in the debate, reports.

Around 240 PhDs from the LUMC (Leiden University Medical Center) had attended various lectures and workshops on PhD-related skills and topics throughout the day, before the open debate kicked off. Its topic: the benefits and disadvantages of the bursary system. Contrasting with the current Dutch PhD system, which views PhDs as employees of the university who receive a legal salary and associated benefits (such as holiday pay, sick leave, pension contribution, unemployement benefit, training courses, and conference visits), the bursary system essentially involves PhDs being viewed as students of the university who do not receive a salary and (some) associated benefits, but only a grant (which may be subject to government tax), and who may be subject to university tuition fees (which may be waived).

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By Gareth O’Neill
—-Gareth-o-Neill-bw—-
Gareth O’Neill is doing a PhD in linguistics. Since September 2013 he has a seat in the Faculty Council of the Humanities Faculty.
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The bursary system was first briefly explained by the debate chairman Michel Ferrari (professor of neurology at the LUMC) and then the two main propositions were put forward:

1) the introduction of the bursary system will lead to less regular PhDs and thus to a loss of talent;

2) the quality of the research will worsen (partially as a result of the absence of employment rights, courses, conference visits, and cooperation).

The PhDs present were then asked to electronically vote on the introduction of the bursary system before the debate started: 8% were in favour; 75% were against; 17% did not know. After a brief introduction the panel of discussants set forth the debate: Curtis Barrett (director of English Editing Solutions) in favour of the bursary system; Victor de Graaff (representative of Promovendi Netwerk Nederland) against the bursary system; Lou de Leij (dean at the University of Groningen) in favour of the bursary system; Frits Koning (professor of immunology at the LUMC) against the bursary system; Gareth O’Neill (PhD at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics and representative of PhDoc) against the bursary system.

Right from the start it was clear that de Leij and Barrett were going to have a difficult time with the audience of PhDs. De Leij argued for the bursary system as a flexible and more cost-effective addition to the current PhD system, that there was no difference between the two types of PhD in terms of income and benefits, and that the quality of PhD research and of the PhD dissertation was the same. Barrett argued for a total replacement of the current PhD system with the bursary system as this system worked well in the United States and he personally considered it a better system.

The arguments against the bursary system however seemed to dominate. I argued in turn that there were in fact differences in both income and benefits, that the current PhD system had been a phenomenal success in the Netherlands and had boosted the level of academic education and research as well as the international recognition of Dutch universities, and that the bursary system would ultimately lead to a loss of academic talent and a decline in the level and recognition of Dutch universities.

De Graaff similarly argued that there were clear differences in terms of income and benefits as well as in the treatment of the two types of PhDs, that the bursary system would be detrimental to education and research in the Netherlands, and that the Netherlands did not need to introduce the bursary system simply because the United States had such a system. Koning finally argued that the current PhD system had worked extremely well and that the bursary system offered no advantages or improvements on the current PhD system.

The audience reacted strongly against De Leij and Barrett and could not understand what benefits the bursary system offered over the current PhD system and why PhDs in the Netherlands would want to adopt such a system. As each discussant briefly summed up their final standpoint Barrett’s words of advice rang through the room: “Keep an Open Mind”. After the final electronic vote it was clear however that the audience did not want to keep an open mind, but were even more firmly decided upon the issue than before the debate started: 7% were in favour; 88% were against; and only 5% did not know.

Watching and listening to the audience file out of the room towards the celebratory end-of-day drinks there was no doubt that if it were up to the PhDs of the LUMC, the bursary system would have no place in the Dutch PhD system.

Best practice of employee status for PhDs in the Netherlands threatened

Eurodoc is greatly concerned about new developments indicating that the employee status of PhD candidates in the Netherlands is no longer secure. At the University of Groningen, a group of scholarship-funded PhD candidates were given student status by the university. This group, along with the trade union Abvakabo FNV, filed a lawsuit against the university of Groningen in order to acquire employee status. The court of appeals in Leeuwarden has now overturned an earlier ruling and ruled in favour of the university, classifying the scholarship-funded PhD candidates as students.

This is the first time that a judge in the Netherlands has ruled that certain PhD candidates are not employees of the university. Earlier cases at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University have always resulted in rulings in favour of the PhD candidates, reaffirming their status as employees.

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From eurodoc.net
—-Logo Eurodoc—-
EURODOC is the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers. It is an international federation of 34 national organisations of PhD candidates from the European Union and the Council of Europe, among them the Dutch PNN.
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Eurodoc has viewed the employee status of PhD candidates in the Netherlands as a European best practice example since 2005. In the European Charter for Researchers, the European Commission states that early stage researchers, among which doctoral candidates, should be recognized as professionals, and be treated accordingly. The provision of employment contracts to PhD candidates that provide employee benefits such as parental leave, pension rights, sick pay, and unemployment benefits enhances the attractiveness of research careers within Europe. This is necessary to recruit and retain high quality researchers, and to encourage more young people to pursue a career in research. In alignment with the European University Association, as stated in the Salzburg II recommendations, Eurodoc has continuously promoted the professional status of PhD candidates.

Eurodoc explicitly expresses its strong concern that the ruling that classifies certain PhD candidates in the Netherlands as students might lead to crowding out of employee PhDs by student PhDs for financial reasons. This would be a setback for the Dutch system and could prevent progress towards a professional status for doctoral candidates in other European countries .

Eurodoc urges Dutch politicians to protect PhD candidates by enshrining their employee status in law with a guarantee of equal social-security rights for all PhD candidates independent of how their doctoral training is funded.

This press release was originally published 12 May 2013, on the website of Eurodoc.