They presented a petition to the Dutch parliament yesterday
A group of PhD Scholarship students from Groningen presented a petition to the Dutch House of Representatives yesterday, to protest against their student status. The PhD Scholarship ‘students’ are required to carry out PhD research as part of an overarching research programme, but are not formally employed by the university.
The manifesto has been signed by nearly 240 scholarship researchers, the PhD councils of the university and a number of interest groups. As reported by RTV Noord.
The University of Groningen (RUG) has 850 of these PhD candidates. Unlike the ‘normal’ PhD students, they are not employees, but students. Objections include that they earn less and that their employment conditions are worse, with shorter contracts and fewer benefits that come from being on an employment contract.
Their current status theoretically means that they are freer to research more, and have fewer constraints within their research. The group says that this is not a fair pay-off for the downsides they experience.
The University does not intend to stop the ‘experiment’ with their contracts, but is now looking to have a maximum of 650 of these PhD candidates. Significant numbers of these candidates are international, with many partially supported by a scholarship from their home country, or a research council. Due to the way that their pay is structured, it can sometimes be very difficult to apply for benefits, complete a tax return, or obtain proper housing.
Rector magnificus Cisca Wijmenga told the University Council in December that these PhD students should be happy that they can obtain their PhD at all, RTV Noord reports.
Miss Wijmenga did, however, promise to make a plan with improvements for PhD students. Then it is not about salary, but about their liberties and working conditions. That plan must be ready around March.
Image via the RUG