Newsletter February

Word from the chair

Dear PhD Candidate,

How are you feeling? According to several studies about one-third of us is feeling depressed. Could it be you? Don’t be embarrassed, you are not alone! Talk about it so people can help.

In response to the prevalent mental health problems among PhDs, Prout organized a Mental Health Symposium together with UPP and GSLS. Read the article to find out what came out of the symposium.

The need for mental health support is also recognized at other universities. For example, TU Delft has a fulltime PhD psychologist who was recently interviewed by the NRC. The UVA will start a project to improve the mental wellbeing of their PhDs, which includes an online screening and prevention tool for common psychological issues, a health week with activities for mental and physical health, and psychological consultation.

These are promising developments and set an example for other universities. Now, it is time for Utrecht University to invest in your mental wellbeing.

Yours sincerely,
Mariska Schimmel
Prout Chair

Mental Health
The UU must take action on PhD training, supervision and mental health.

This was one of the conclusions of the PhD mental health symposium that brought together 130 PhD candidates and UU policy-makers to discuss what can be done to improve PhD wellbeing. Check the summary of the event, the presentations, and other resources on our website.

A result of the symposium is the PhD wellbeing guide: collective wisdom on how to keep yourself happy in your PhD and life. The guide also mentions what the university should do to improve PhD wellbeing.

Entrepreneurship and your PhD
Have you ever entertained the idea of becoming an entrepreneur? Prout and the UU-wide start-up incubator, UtrechtInc, are organizing an event for PhD’s who want to know more about building a start-up. A interactive workshop given by a coach from UtrechtInc will provide practical examples and fresh ideas for interested participants.

Come join us on March, 22 at 4:00pm – ± 6:00 pm at UtrechtInc, Padualaan 8. Registration is required.

Tax lecture
This March, Prout, in cooperation with tax advisors of the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV), will hold an interactive tax advising session for PhDs. Do you know what all your rights and responsibilities are as a taxpayer? Could you use the advice of a professional? Then register for the Tax Lecture! Sessions are held for both Dutch and foreign employees.

Join us on March 8th, 17:30-19:00 at the Janskerkhof 2/3. Click here for more details and to register.

The UU Ombudsman: Paul Herfs
At the University of Utrecht, we have an ombudsman: Paul Herfs. With him, PhD candidates can discuss sensitive and confidential issues such as performance review, dismissal issues, problems affecting PhD candidates, working conditions, returning to work after chronic illness and clashes with colleagues.

Learn more about him here.

Thesis printing workshop
Would you like to know everything on getting your booklet printed? Family business Ridderprint will give a workshop in which they will explain the ins and outs of getting your dissertation ready to be printed. They will instruct you on important aspects, such as how long the process takes, what options are available to you and how you should prepare the document prior to submitting it for printing. It’s on!

On Thursday 12 April from 16:00-17:00, in the Van Unnik building, room 210, with drinks afterwards in the Basket. Please register for the event here!

Want to spread your knowledge outside of your scientific bubble? Here is your opportunity to give a layman’s talk! De Booghkring is society for higher educated people with acquired brain impairment. This society organises monthly Science Cafés in Leidsche Rijn and they are looking for researchers who can give a lecture in Dutch. For more information, visit their webpage, or email Miranda Thoen.

Prout workshop series: Engage your audience
Do you think it is important to talk about your research to a general audience? And would you like to learn how to do that effectively? Then we have a unique opportunity for you!

The Public Engagement Programme of Utrecht University is piloting a training series especially aimed at PhDs. The pilot consists of four training sessions and a grand evening to showcase your newly acquired skills. More information can be found here.