Support and confidants

Doing PhD research can at times be demanding. You may want to consult somebody other than your (co-)supervisor for advice or support. The Graduate School of Life Sciences has a network of people who offer various services.


  1. The first line of consultation consists of the coordinator of the PhD programme or your Supervisory Committee.
  2. In addition, each faculty has confidants (vertrouwenspersonen) specific for PhD candidates. Their role is to provide advice on PhD-related matters.
    • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine: Prof. J.M. van Putten, PhD. (Dept. Infectious Diseases & Immunology) and Prof. J.A. Stegeman, PhD (Dept. Farm Animal Health)
    • Faculty of Science: Prof. W.E. Hennink, PhD (Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences) and Prof. J.A. Killian, PhD (Dept. Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics)
    • Hubrecht Institute: S. van den Brink and Prof. H.C. Korswagen, PhD
    • UMC Utrecht: For PhD candidates of the UMC Utrecht Ombuds- en Vertrouwenszaken should be contacted. This is also the dedicated address for PhD candidates not registered to a programme and for ‘buitenpromovendi’.
  3. On top of that, each faculty/institution has a (general) confidant for all employees for matters like sexual harrassement, bullying etc. 
    • Utrecht University offers three types of confidential advisors: staff confidential advisor, confidential councellor for inappropiate behaviour, academic integrity counsellor. Each of these counsellors are also the confidential advisors for whistleblowers.
  4. For work-related issues there is the opportunity to consult company counselors or staff welfare service (bedrijfsmaatschappelijke hulp)
  5. Finally, every institution has an ombudsman, whose job it is to mediate between any citizen and the government.

For a more structural support both UU and UMC Utrecht have a coachpool, that provides coaching sessions. More information about the coachpool can be found via the HR departments of both institutes.

In case of acute mental stress it is best to consult your general practitioner! He/she provides the first line of health care and is able to refer your to more specialized help (psychologist) if necessary.