PhD Council

The Graduate School of the Natural Sciences (GSNS) PhD Council, formed by voluntary PhD candidates, aims to represent all PhD candidates in the natural sciences.

The primary goal of the council is to promote the interests of the PhD candidates in the natural sciences.

A first approach to this goal is to remain up to date with the affairs that concern PhD candidates like teaching load, communication with supervisor, colleagues and HR, performance pressure, and so on.

Moreover, the council functions as a source of information for PhD candidates and offers help in case questions or complications arise. The council is in contact with the Board of Studies of the GSNS Utrecht, the University Council of the university, the PhD network (PrOUt) and the national PhD network (PNN), in order to keep up to date with relevant developments for PhD candidates in general.

We are also in frequent contact with the policy maker for the GSNS, Gerjanne Heek.


To be representative, the council aims to have at least one PhD candidate from every institute within the natural sciences. When a council member resigns, it is preferred that the member in question looks for a substitute member of his or her institute. Current members are:

Maura Burke, Freudenthal Institute
Mar Curco Iranzo, Mathematical Institute
Franka Jesse, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (IMAU)
Arno Hoefnagels, Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP)
Melissa Lopez, Institute for Gravitational and Subatomic Physics (GRASP)
Nicolette Maaskant, Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis Debye Institute (DINS)
Thomas Schoegje, Information and computing sciences (ICS)
Alptug Ulugöl, Soft Condensed Matter, Debye Institute (DINS)
Marnix Vreugdenhil, Nanophotonics, Debye Institute (DINS)

We are always looking for new people. If you are interested, contact us!


The council can be reached via email at