Support and confidential advisors

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

The first line of consultation consists of the coordinator of the PhD programme or your Supervisory Committee.

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.

Confidential advisors

Each faculty of Utrecht University has confidential advisors (vertrouwenspersonen), specific for PhD candidates. 

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine:

Prof. dr. J.P.M. (Jos) van Putten
Confidential advisor faculty of Veterinary Medicine


Prof. dr. J.A. (Arjan) Stegeman
Confidential advisor faculty of Veterinary Medicine


Faculty of Science:

Prof. dr. ir. W.E. (Wim) Hennink
Confidential advisor faculty of Science

Prof. dr. J.A. (Antoinette) Killian
Confidential advisor faculty of Science



Hubrecht Institute:

S. (Stieneke) van den Brink
Confidential advisor Hubrecht Institute


Prof. dr. H.C. (Rik) Korswagen
Confidential advisor Hubrecht Institute


In case your faculty or institute does not have a confidential advisor specific for PhD candidates the (general) confidential advisor for all employees may be contacted: 

  • 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.
  • 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’.
  • Princess Máxima Centre Scientific Integrity committee


Staff welfare service

For work-related issues there is the opportunity to consult company counselors or staff welfare service (bedrijfsmaatschappelijke hulp)

PhD psychologist

As of March 1, 2019 Utrecht University has appointed a dedicated ‘PhD psychologist’ as a pilot. The PhD psychologist offers support when it comes to psychological problems caused by the doctoral degree track or that have a direct effect on the track. The PhD psychologist is specialized in short-term treatment for anxiety issues, mood complaints, concentration problems, fear of failure, motivational issues, etc. For more information click here.


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.

Career coaching

Need help finding a (new) job? Book an appointment with a career officer or attend a workshop from Career Services.