5. Financial matters


In general, Dutch universities have three sources of funding available to finance research. The first source of research funding is directly allocated from the Dutch government to Dutch universities. The second is allocated from the Dutch government to research bodies such as NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), who then re-allocate this money through grants to various research institutes, including Dutch universities. The third source of research funding does not originate from the Dutch government, but comes from third parties, such as the European Union, the trade and industry, civil society organizations, and private non-profit funds. In Dutch, the aforementioned sources are commonly known as ‘de eerste, tweede, en derde geldstroom’.

Part of the total funding a university acquires is allocated to PhD projects. Because PhD candidates conduct scientific work for the universities, and are obliged to teach courses, there is an ’employee-relationship’ between the PhD candidate and the university. Consequently, your position, including salary, is covered in the Collective Labour Agreement (CLA; in Dutch CAO) as discussed previously in Chapter 4. For current salary scales, see Appendix A, salary scale P of the CLA/CAO.

Please note: If your PhD position is not directly paid by Utrecht University or UMC but paid by a (non-EU) grant or bursary, other (salary) agreements may apply to you. As this differs on a case to case basis, we cannot provide general information on this subject. Please be reminded that if your PhD project is financed through a grant (for instance, a VIDI, a STW or ZonMw grant), this does not automatically imply that you are a bursary PhD. The way your project is financed does not influence the way you are financed. In general, every PhD candidate is employed by a University or University Medical Center, and your position is therefore covered in the Collective Labour Agreement, even if your project is financed through a grant.

To be able to conduct your research in satisfactory fashion, other costs, besides salary for the PhD candidate, are typically involved as well. These include, for instance, money needed for paying subjects in experiments, buying licenses for specific statistical packages, hardware expenses, as well as travel costs made when presenting your research at an international conference. In general, for each PhD position, a budget is reserved for these costs (known as ‘lump sum’). Unfortunately, these budgets differ between faculties, departments, and even within departments, so we cannot provide an indication of how much money is reserved for your research. If you want to know how much money is reserved for your research project, please contact the financial head of your department who should be able to provide you this information.


In most PhD projects sufficient money is available for the salary of the PhD candidate and (part of) the research costs. Nevertheless, in some instances supplementary subsidies are needed for the project, or the PhD candidate would like to apply for future research funding (e.g. a postdoc position). Besides grants for conducting research, grants are available that allow for a (temporary) visit of a university abroad, conducting research abroad, organizing scientific workshops or visiting conferences.

Below you will find a list of websites where you can search for available grants. On the intranet of the Utrecht University, you can find some search engines for grants that are available to all employees working at the university. In addition, each faculty has its own Grant Office (such as the Grant Office of the Science Faculty) that provides assistance with writing grant proposals. Within certain fields of research specific grants might be available which are not mentioned on the websites listed below.

  • HiiL (Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law)
  • KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
  • Platform 31
  • Netspar (Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement)
  • Nuffic (Netherlands organization for international cooperation in higher education)
  • NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research)
  • Netherlands Enterprise Agency (NL Agency)
  • FOM (Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter)
  • Technologiestichting STW (Technology Foundation STW)
  • ZonMw (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development)

Dutch ‘Collecte Fondsen’

Other (from The Netherlands)

European Grant Providers

American Grant Providers


Expenses PhD defence

Please be aware of the costs involved with your PhD defence. These include printing costs (approximately €2,000 to €3,500), renting clothing for your defence (€150 to €450, e.g. Sir George or Baltien) and a reception (€350 to €700, e.g. with Oud Londen), dinner (€20 to €40 per person) or party (€1,200 to €4,500) after the official ceremony. Fortunately, some faculties or departments provide a compensation for the costs of printing your PhD thesis (sometimes dependent on the number of copies needed for distributing your theses within the department, to other universities or within a national research institute). Because these compensations again differ between faculties and departments, please contact the financial head of your department for up to date information on the compensations available for you.

Additionally, for those PhD candidates who pay income taxes to the Dutch government, some of the costs involved with your PhD defence are deductable from your tax declaration as training costs because your PhD defence improves your financial-economic position. Costs that are deductable include the rent of special dresses for you and your paranymphs. For more information, please consult the website of the Belastingdienst or Prout