Support and facilities
Every PhD candidate is assigned a mentor. The mentor is a (assistant or associate) professor, usually from your research department, who monitors your progress in the PhD track independently from your supervisors and unjudgmentally. The mentor is also available if you run into trouble with your supervisors, trouble that you cannot solve yourself. In the event that no mentor is available, please contact dr. Egbert Mulder, policy officer for PhD affairs, who acts as confidant for PhD candidates of the graduate school.
The departments of Physics, Mathematics and Information and Computing Sciences each have a dedicated PhD mentor/counsellor to whom you can turn to in case you run into problems that you do not wish to discuss with your supervisory team or your ‘personal’ PhD mentor (i.e. the mentor appointed to you at the start of your PhD). You can contact the department’s PhD mentor/counsellor when you experience practical, personal or professional issues. Examples are issues with your promotor, not receiving feedback in time, feelings of being exploited by your promotor, general feelings of unsafety and much more. If you do not wish to contact this person you can always consult the PhD confidential advisor of the Faculty of Science.
The PhD psychologist offers psychological support for PhD students who struggle with psychological issues caused by the promotion process or that have a direct effect on it. The support by the PhD psychologist lies in the area between the help offered by corporate social work and the general mental healthcare service (GGZ). The PhD psychologist is specialized in short-term treatment for:
- Anxiety issues
- Mood complaints
- Concentration problems
- Fear of failure
- Motivational issues
The PhD psychologist is well aware of the unique position that the PhD student occupies. As a result, she is able to offer adequate help specifically tailored to the PhD candidate.
The central HR Service Desk is your first point of contact in case you have practical questions about employment conditions. They can help you with matters regarding the Self-service HR system, the Terms of Employment Options Model and other UU regulations. For any other HR related questions that they cannot answer, please contact the HR department of the Science Faculty. You can also contact their department for any personal issues you might have.
More information on various HR topics can be found on the Intranet.
At Utrecht University, sick leave or other absence is a matter between the employee and his or her promotor. Both the employee and the promotor can seek advice in this regard from a physician from 'de Nieuwe Arts'.
When problems occur at work, someone from the Staff Welfare Service (bedrijfsmaatschappelijk werk) can help you with independent, professional advice. With a Staff Welfare Officer, you can discuss your situation or she can help you to organize and clarify the problem. Often it is a convergence of circumstances that undermines your resilience. Sometimes one conversation provides sufficient perspective to be able to move forward. Supervisors can turn to a Staff Welfare Officer if they identify a (potential) problem of this nature with an employee.
GSNS Confidential Advisor for PhD candidates
The confidential advisor PhD candidates is available for all PhD candidates of the Faculty of Science who have complaints or questions about the circumstances or events at work as described above. This may relate to the supervisor/promotor, colleagues, the work atmosphere or the way in which complaints or questions are dealt with. The advisor is very approachable for PhD candidates; someone who listens to your story, is partial and will help you guide the process of deciding what steps are most suitable for you. All information is treated in the strictest confidence. The confidential advisor for PhD candidates is Freek Appels.
UU Confidential Advisor for Staff (Vertrouwenspersoon)
The Confidential Advisor for Staff (vertrouwenspersoon), is available to all employees of Utrecht University who have complaints or questions about circumstances or incidents at work. These may be related to managers, colleagues, the working environment or the way in which complaints or questions are handled. The advisor is an approachable, impartial person to talk to, who can handle complaints, offer advice and act as an intermediary between parties. Additional information about this issue is available on intranet.
UU Confidental advisor for inappropriate behaviour
If you are faced with inappropriate behavior in the workplace, such as intimidation (sexual or otherwise), violence and/or aggression, you can contact the Confidential Advisor for Inappropriate Behavior. Among other things, the Confidential Advisor will provide support, guidance and mediation. If necessary, you can subsequently file a complaint with the Inappropriate Behavior Committee. All information is treated in the strictest confidence. Additional information about this issue is available on intranet.
The Research Support Office (RSO) helps researchers at the science faculty with information on grants and potential scholarships, both national and international. For example, if you wish to pursue a further career in academia, RSO may inform you about the possible grants that you could apply for. RSO also offers workshops, coaching, and has extensive experience with writing grant applications.
In order to guarantee transparency, replicability and good science, Utrecht University developed a university policy framework for research data management. It also provides courses, advice and background information on data management, through RDM support. Please note that ethics and privacy play an important role in research data management as well (see for example the overview of online RDM tools).
If your research involves working with human participants, you or your promotor may want to obtain ethics approval before starting your research. Try to get approval for a whole research line, rather than for one specific experiment. Ask your supervisor(s) about the guidelines and procedures within your research program. You can contact the Science-Geo Ethics Review Board for ethic reviews.
Everyone involved in academic teaching and research at Utrecht University shares in the responsibility to maintain academic integrity. There is an academic integrity counsellor at faculty and university level, who you can contact for questions, dilemmas or complaints regarding academic integrity. The counsellor is an approachable, impartial person with whom you can discuss issues in this area, for example, in education, research or collaboration with third parties. He has an advisory role and is accountable to the Faculty Board. All information given is confidential and will only be reported anonymously. Additional information about this issue is available on intranet