Scholarship PhD manifesto presented to Lower House

Lucille Mattijssen with PNN (far left) wants PhDs to be appreciated more. On the right, Fieke Visser, spokesperson for the Groningen PhD students.

Scholarship PhD manifesto presented to Lower House

Groningen PhDs and the PhD Network Netherlands (PNN) have presented their manifesto to the Lower House on Tuesday. They demand an end to the scholarship PhD experiment.
4 February om 16:48 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 4 February 2020
om 16:48 uur.
February 4 at 16:48 PM.
Last modified on February 4, 2020
at 16:48 PM.


Christien Boomsma

Door Christien Boomsma

4 February om 16:48 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 4 February 2020
om 16:48 uur.
Christien Boomsma

By Christien Boomsma

February 4 at 16:48 PM.
Last modified on February 4, 2020
at 16:48 PM.
Christien Boomsma

Christien Boomsma

Achtergrondcoördinator en wetenschapsredacteur
Volledig bio
Achtergrondcoördinator en wetenschapsredacteur
Full bio

The manifesto, which has been signed by 239 scholarship PhDs, almost all PhD councils, and a large number of interest groups, was received by the members of the standing parliamentary committee on education, culture, and science.

‘We unfortunately didn’t feel heard by our university’s board’, spokesperson Fieke Visser, scholarship PhD at spatial sciences, said in a statement. ‘We’ve had talks with them, but it’s become clear that they don’t take the issues we raise in the manifesto seriously.’

They acknowledge that the experiment’s goal, to improve the knowledge society, is a noble one, they feel the implementation isn’t up to snuff. ‘No one, not you, not minister Van Engelshoven, not the RUG board, can distinguish between scholarship PhDs and employed PhDs when they walk into our offices. That’s not because there’s anything wrong with your eyes, but because scholarship and employed PhDs do the exact same work’, says Visser. 

They once again demand an end to the experiment, compensation, and the option to have their scholarship contract changed to a regular employee contract. 

Wrong decision

Visser and her partners hope that the Lower House, who previously enforced a continuation of the experiment, can realise that the experiment has failed. ‘And that it’s important that we put an end to it as quickly as possible.’

The five Groningen scholarship PhDs were accompanied by PNN chairperson Lucille Mattijssen. ‘We hope to make them realise that we’re serious and that the experiment should not be continued’, says Mattijssen. ‘PhDs are a valuable contribution to universities’ output and should be appreciated. If you want to create more positions and decide to chip away at the terms of employment, you’ve made the wrong decision. You can’t have something for nothing.’ 

Groningen scholarship PhDs published a manifesto in December, in which they demand an immediate end to the experiment that allows people to get a PhD degree on a scholarship. They pointed out that there are barely any differences to regular PhD candidates. However, scholarship PhDs receive a 1,700 euro scholarship, and get no pension, nor other secondary terms of employment.

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