The road to ‘grant PhDs’

There has been some unclarity around the so called ‘grant PhDs’. These PhD students do not get a contract, but a grant. The idea comes from the Ministry of Education and will start off as an experiment. The proces of Tilburg University joining this experiment has been one of discussion. So, where do we stand now?

The idea of the experiment is to substitute a part of the regular PhDs by grant PhDs. That last group would get a grant, instead of a regular contract. Also, grant PhDs would get an extra year to complete their PhD. This should cut costs and be more in line with international standards.

Originally, universities had the possibility to sign up for the experiment until November 1st of this year. However, that date has been moved up to January 1st of next year, according to sources that talked to the Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau.

Councils, councils, councils…
And that comes in handy for our university, because it’s having a difficult time to gather the needed support for the proposal. Former Rector Philip Eijlander initially said that there were no concrete plans for participation in the experiment. Later on however, vice dean of TiSEM Geert Duijsters stated that TiSEM wanted to join. In July the University Council was critical.

As said, TiSEM wants to joint the experiment. Recently the Faculty Council voted with a positive inclination. However, they still have some conditions to turn that preliminary advice into a definite ‘yes’. The council wants more clarity on several issues, like finances and the involvement of PhD’s in the decision making proces. All that will be discussed in an extra Faculty Council on the 19th of November.

After that, the University Council can have their say. They will meet on the 11th of December. In an earlier meeting of the University Council there were heavy discussions about the subject, so we’re expecting some fireworks. The ABVAKABO faction stated in an earlier meeting: “Every proposal from the Executive Board will be countered by a counter proposition of our faction. Our faction won’t surrender on this.” At this point only TiU International was a clear supporter of the idea. If however the UC gives a positive advice, that should give the university enough time to hand in the proposal on the 1st of January and join the experiment coming academic year.

Do you want to weigh in on this subject? Student Party ECCO would like to hear your opinion!Timeline

  • November 19th, 2015: Extra Faculty Council TiSEM to discuss proposal
  • December 11th, 2015: University Council discusses proposal
  • January 1st, 2016: Submission of request to join the experiment
  • February – September, 2016: Give information to potential PhDs
  • September 1st, 2016: Start of the experiment


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