Newsletter May 2017

See our newsletter of May 2017 below!

Dear fellow PhD candidate,

With spring finally well on its way, at Prout we’ve been spending most of our time looking ahead. To be able to keep on representing PhD interests in the university council, we need to elect some new PhD candidates in the election that is only about a week away. The Utrecht PhD Party (UPP) is a new party specifically devoted to your interests as a PhD candidate, as you can read in their new programme. If you can, please take the time to vote next week, as it tremendously helps representing PhD interests at the university.

Finally, if you’re nearing the end of your project, the Prout information market that’s coming up will be instrumental in making the final stretch just that little bit easier, which I think we can all use in those hectic last few months.

Kind regards,


University Council elections (URaad)

Between 8 and 10 May 2017, there will be elections for the University Council. One party will be making sure that your voice is heard: the UPP, the Utrecht PhD Party. If you’d like to have your rights defended on University level, vote for them! See their complete program on their website and check their Facebook to stay up-to-date.

More information on the upcoming elections can be found here. An election debate is held on Wednesday 3 May at Parnassos, so if you like to form an opinion on the different parties, go there!

Quick consultation scheme for problems in your PhD

Are you having problems with your PhD? Many things can cause stress and troubles! In light of recent scientific and local publications on mental stress, we have assembled a quick-consultation scheme to help you tackle whatever comes your way.

Check our overview page to know what to do, and whom to contact.

Information market on dissertation and defence

Prout is hosting an Information Market for PhD candidates, about everything you need to know in the final stages of your PhD, such as defending your dissertation and printing your thesis. We’re inviting interesting speakers as well as publishers to offer their services to you.

Come join us on Thursday 18 May from 5pm to 8pm at the University Library Uithof (Boothzaal).

PhD candidates wanted for representation!

PNN, the Promovendi Network Netherlands, is looking for a PhD candidate to join them as a board member. If you’re interested in doing PhD representation at a national level, would like to build experience as a board member, if you are a teamplayer, pro-active and decisive, and are available 6-8hrs/week, then e-mail to get in touch!

Please see the full ad on Academic Transfer here.

Do you know the FNV, a union that has a specific branch for scientists?

FNV is a federation of Dutch trade unions with a branch for scientists. PhDs are workers, and should benefit from all the rights granted by the collective agreement. FNV is committed to maintaining and improving your working conditions and its member benefit from legal assistance in the workplace, tax advice and reduced insurance cost. Membership is max. 16 euros per month and can be reimbursed by UU. The trade union official of UU is Marco Veloo (

Quick consultation scheme for problems in your PhD

Problems in your PhD?

What kind of PhD problems?


“I have problems with my supervisor/department”

In this case you should contact the confidential adviser or mentor in your department. If you do not know who it is, ask your secretary. The confidential adviser is someone working at your department with whom you can have confidential conversations about issues you might have. They can provide some practical tips and suggestions, and for more profound/structural problems, they can refer to a coach, psychologist, or other specialist.

If you prefer to talk to someone outside of your department, there are two options:

  1. The welfare occupational officer of the university, They are social workers who can help you with minor issues or refer you to other professionals. English language could be a barrier.
  2. The staff confidential adviser (ombudsman), . The staff confidential adviser can help employees who have complaints, grievances or questions regarding conditions or events at work. In some case, given your authorization, they can act as mediators between two parties.
“I would like to improve my research/academic skills”

Your supervisor and promoter are the main persons with whom to discuss problems in the conduct of your research. If you think you should improve your academic skills you could discuss with them and with the secretary of your department. There might be possibilities to follow courses, trainings or a summer school.

“The PhD is a bit overwhelming. Can we get any support to better tackle/cope with challenges?”

There are in principle opportunities for coaching at the university, (info in Dutch) but it has to be approved by your supervisor. So, first discuss it with the supervisor, and/or the confidential adviser of your department.

“I’m concerned with my mental health (feeling stressed, anxious, unfocused, or depressed). Can I talk to a psychologist?”

Yes, but (for now) there are no psychologists available for PhDs or staff at Utrecht University. Here are your options.

  1. Huisarts/GP. Make an appointment with your GP and ask if there is a psychologist available at your health centre (gezondsheid centrum/ praktijk). The consultations with the psychologist at the health centre are free when you have a Dutch health insurance; but not every health centre has a psychologist. Sometimes there are only social workers. If you have serious problems or a depression, your huisarts can refer you to a mental health clinic who will contact you for an intake. The costs are partly covered by the insurance (depending on coverage).
  2. Contact the confidential adviser in your department. They might have contacts of external psychologists that they recommend. In this case you have to cover the costs.

If none of these options are helpful, or you have other questions, feel invited to contact us at


Expand your career possibilities during BCF Career Event on 11 May 2017!

Are you almost finished with your PhD and interested in job opportunities? Do you want to know more about the current labour market? Visit BCF Career Event 2017, the largest career fair for (PhD)-students, postdocs and (young) professionals in the sectors Life Sciences, Chemistry, Food and Pharma, on 11 May in Jaarbeurs Utrecht, the Netherlands. Meet relevant employers, get your CV checked and talk to a career coach about your career. Also join the programme and get inspired through presentations, workshops and participate in interactive group sessions.

For free online registration until 3 May and more information visit!

Nationale DenkTank zoekt meedenkers

Ben jij wo-student, pas afgestudeerd of promovendus? Ben je creatief, onafhankelijk en ondernemend? Ben je in staat om te werken in een multidisciplinair team en wil je graag bijdragen aan het verbeteren van de maatschappij? Wil je je daarnaast ontwikkelen en je netwerk uitbreiden? Meld je dan uiterlijk 19 april aan voor de Nationale DenkTank 2017!

De Nationale DenkTank is een vier maanden durend project waaraan ongeveer twintig jonge academici fulltime deelnemen. Van half augustus tot half december werkt het team, onder begeleiding van McKinsey & Company, aan visionaire, creatieve én praktische oplossingen voor een urgent maatschappelijk vraagstuk.

Met ‘Iedereen perspectief op werk’ staat de Nationale DenkTank 2017 in het teken van sociale innovatie. Bij het Nederland van morgen hoort een inclusieve arbeidsmarkt waar iedereen aan mee kan doen. Hoe kunnen we de kansen die de arbeidsmarkt van de toekomst biedt zo stimuleren en benutten dat iedereen in Nederland perspectief heeft op werk en een bijdrage kan leveren aan onze samenleving?

Meer weten? Kijk op  of kom naar de informatieavond op donderdag 6 april om 18.30 uur bij THNK (Keizersgracht 264 in Amsterdam). Aanmelden voor de informatieavond kan via

Workshop on Science Outreach and Communication for researchers!

Within the context of the Erasmus+ network a workshop on Science Outreach and Communication is organized. The framework is Astrobiology, but the workshop focuses on general outreach and communication skills and is therefore suitable for any researcher.

The workshop is geared towards PhD candidates and postdocs, and aims to teach them a set of skills to develop their own communication strategy.

The workshop is not to train science communicators, but to train scientist on how to communicate their ow research.

More information can be found on…/

The registration deadline has been extended to March 30 and several scholarships are available for UU participants.

Researchers wanted!

Euraxess, a European network focussed on supporting and assisting mobility of researchers, is going to improve intersectoral mobility: employers from the academic world stepping into other sectors. This is not always an easy step to take as institutes do generally not offer tailermade support. Furthermore companies are not always aware of this large group of very talented employees.

Euraxess will develop instruments to build a bridge between potential employers and employees. For example, meet and greet sessions, better information for both the researchers and employers, a platform or courses.

Needs of researchers, including PhD-candidates
To develop the right tools Euraxess would like to receive input on the needs and expectations of researchers.

Researchers can help by filling in the survey before 31 March. It takes about 8 minutes. If you have any questions about Euraxess or this survey, you can contact Ilse Schenk, national coordinator,

Click here for the survey.

Invitation for PhD representatives: workshop Vagueness Zone

Workshop for PhD representatives

After the previous workshop’s success on how to have effective meetings, we’d like to invite you to another workshop for PhD representatives on ‘The Vagueness Zone‘, on Wednesday April 12th, 16:00-18:00 at the Van Unnik 9.16. Afterwards, there will be drinks at The Basket.

The ‘vagueness zone’ is a phenomenon in meetings, where one party does not want to commit to something, but rather wants to stay vague in promises. It occurs in businesses, politics, but also in science. The question is: how can you deal with it? Are there ways to counter vague promises? That’s where this workshop may help.

All PhD representatives at Utrecht University, the UMCU, RIVM and PNN, are welcome to join. There is room for max 20 PhD representatives, so sign up quicklyif you want to join by mailing Bart at

We look forward to meeting you at this event!

Best wishes,

Utrecht PhD Party (UPP): A new political party for PhD candidates

The University of Utrecht has approximately 1500 PhD candidates many of which are employed at the university with a temporary contract. At the end of their contract, PhDs defend their dissertation, obtaining a doctorate degree. This type of employment makes PhDs a group of employees with specific interests and needs, which should be represented in all levels of university participation bodies. Until a couple of years ago, PhDs have been underrepresented, especially in the university council. Therefore, their interests were not taken into consideration well enough. To prevent this from happening again, we proudly announce a new party for PhD candidates: the Utrecht PhD Party (UPP).

The UPP has been founded with the aim to bring together PhD candidates with an interest in participation and to offer them an election program that is aimed at their needs. The UPP will look for PhDs willing to participate and support them during their campaign and their time in university council. To this end, the UPP will coordinate closely with Prout (PhD network Utrecht).

Topics that are important for PhDs, among others, are obtaining the balance between research and teaching obligations, the preparation of PhDs for the job market within or outside of academia, the rights of bursary PhDs and solid supervision. What is more, internationalisation on all levels of the university is important and should be expanded by way of bilingual language policy (NL-EN) in participation councils to include foreign employees and PhDs. The so-called bursary PhDs which have neither employee or student status, finally, will, of course, also be represented in the UPP.

In the past three years, PhDs were represented within the university council by one or two members. During this time, topics that were discussed included setting up courses for teaching on a university level, the importance of the PhD regulations, and the right to vote for bursary PhDs. With the new PhD party UPP, a foundation will be laid to anchor participation of PhDs within the university of Utrecht and make sure their interests are looked after now and in the future.

UPP is currently setting up their campaign, after recently having handed in the necessary amount of signatures to be able to become an official party.

If you would like to get to know more about UPP and/or you would like to sign up as a candidate please contact them at and like their Facebook page. Don’t forget to take a look at their excellent website, too!

Solliciteer NU op een internship @ NWO!

(in Dutch)

NWO biedt een leuke vacature aan voor een promovendus als junior beleidsmedewerker binnen het Professional PhD Program van PNN.

De aanstelling is bij Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen (MaGW) in Den Haag voor 0.8-1.0 fte voor 6 maanden van 1 januari tot 1 juli 2017.

Pak deze unieke kans om betaalde werkervaring op te doen bij NWO tijdens je PhD en solliciteer vóór de deadline 02 november 2016!