Newsletter January 2018

Dear PhD Candidate,

In 2017 we celebrated Prout’s 30th anniversary. We marked the occasion with a celebration at the Faculty Club, where we were joined by a number of Prout alumni – and even one of the founding members – who shared their experiences from their time at Prout. Last year also saw a number of fun, informative and successful events such as the annual PhD Tax Lecture, our information market on how to finish your PhD, and of course our trademark PhD drinks events.

For 2018, I would like to wish you all the best on behalf of the Prout board and all our representatives! At Prout, we hope to make this year as successful as the last one.

Best wishes,
Elmar Schmidt
Prout Secretary

Mental Health
The psychological well-being of PhD’s has received much attention since a 2017 publication reported that PhD’s have a higher rate of mental health problems than their other, highly educated, counterparts. At our own university, recent surveys undertaken by the GEO-GS and GSLS have shown similar results. Are you interested in this issue, or would like to hear tips and tricks to keeping sane during your PhD? Register for our UU-wide symposium on January 25th here.

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.

Engaging the public in your research
Finishing a PhD takes years of hard work. Sadly, your hard-won results usually fail to reach the non-academic audience. Utrecht University has started a public engagement programme to help PhD’s share their knowledge with the public. In the future, the UU and Prout will be collaborating on events meant to help researchers widen the awareness of their work. We will keep you updated on any developments!

Update from Utrecht PhD Party (UPP)
Recently, the UPP has brought important issues to the University Board’s attention. We requested that PhD’s be given the option of providing a layman’s talk just prior to a PhD defence. We also discussed parental leave issues. Another important issue was this year’s “graduate agenda.” The graduate agenda address how the PhD-trajectory can be improved, and what rights PhDs are entitled to. – We want to know your opinion on all these topics! – If you would like to comment on any of these issues, or want to inform us of other issues, please send us a message on FB or via email on

Scientists’ labour unions
If you feel the need to join a labour union, for example to ensure a fair treatment in the workplace, then there are two options for you as a scientist: the FNV and the VAWO.

The FNV is a federation of Dutch trade unions, with a specific branch for scientists, and is committed to maintaining and improving PhD working conditions. Membership can be reimbursed via the UU, and this gives you benefit from workplace-related legal assistance, tax advice, and reduced insurance costs. Contact: mail and website.

The VAWO represents the permanent and temporary staff of universities, research institutions and academic medical centers, and is committed to the quality of academic education and research. They offer professional legal assistance for members. Membership costs 65 euros per year. Contact: mail and website.

Upcoming Events
Thu 18 Jan: New Years drinks with JongOBP
Thu 25 Jan: PhD Mental Health Symposium
In February: Prout’s Tax lecture
Thu 22 Mar: Entrepreneurship and your PhD, with UtrechtInc