Newsletter March 2017

Please see a copy of the newsletter of Prout, sent on 6 March 2017, below.

If you’d like to subscribe, you can do that here.

Dear fellow PhD candidates,

I hope you are all doing well! At Prout, we have been busy gathering feedback from PhD candidates, helping PhD’s with the more practical side of their project, organizing events and promoting the interests of all of you. For example, we had a New Year’s Drinks event, where I thankfully got to talk to a lot of other PhD’s, to broaden my horizons a bit from the computer screen I usually stare at all day.


As for promoting your interests, we have been working with Eliane Fankhauser and Frank Hendriks, the PhD candidates in our University Council, to ensure that PhD’s are represented there in the coming years as well. Eventually, this has led to something that has never happened in the 380 year history of the university: UPP, a party solely for PhD representation! If you want your voice heard, please vote for their candidates in the coming University Council election, even if you would normally not vote.


Best wishes,
Kees Mulder,
Prout chair

Upcoming Tax lecture

What does the Dutch tax system mean for PhD candidates at our university? How can you pay less tax? What kind of obligations are you supposed to fulfill? What kind of benefits are you entitled to?

To get an answer, you can visit our yearly (popular) tax lecture, with with tips and tricks for both Dutch and international PhD candidates. It will take place on March 30th, at the Achter Sint Pieter 200, 17:30-19:00, with split Dutch and international sessions. Make sure to sign up here timely if you’d like to join; there are limited seats.

Afterwards there will be drinks!

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.

Do you know VAWO, the union for scientists?

You may have heard of the VAWO, a labor union specifically aimed for scientists. The VAWO defends the interests of the staff – both in permanent and temporary employment – of universities, research institutions and academic medical centers. It is also committed to the quality of academic education and research.

VAWO might be useful for you during your PhD: besides taking part in negotiations in which they represent the needs of all scientists, they also offer professional legal assistance for members (65 euro/year). In recent negotiations, they undertook actions against the bursary PhD experiment and explored the legal dimensions of it. VAWO is also opposed to fixed-term contracts and is contemplating petitioning against these.

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 programma on their website and check their Facebook to stay up-to-date.More information on the upcoming elections can be found here.
If you are a bursary PhD candidate, please note : if you would like to vote in the upcoming University Council elections, you may have to be registered as a voter before March 15th, dependent on your faculty/department. Your HR department will know more on how to register, and the requirements needed to do that.

PhD candidates wanted for representation!
Prout is currently looking for a PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Humanities and in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to join Prout as a representative of their school or faculty. If you’d like to do that, send an email to for more information.


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!

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