Support and facilities
The services that offer support to PhD students can be subdivided into the following categories listed below:
Every PhD candidate is assigned a mentor. Your mentor is a full, assistant or associate professor, usually from your research institute, who, independent from your supervisory team, monitors your progress and provides advice on your development as a research professional. They also can provide support if you experience issues during your PhD. No mentor available? Please contact the graduate school.
In addition to your personal mentor, the department of Physics and the department of Information and Computing Sciences have a dedicated PhD 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 counsellor when you experience practical, personal or professional issues during your PhD. Examples are issues with your supervisory team, such as differences in expectations regarding your work or lack of communication from your supervisors or feelings of exploitation and (social) unsafety.
The PhD counsellors are:
If your department does not have a PhD counsellor or if you prefer to talk to someone outside of your direct research environment you can consult Freek Appels the confidential advisor for PhD students of the Faculty of Science.
The confidential advisor for PhD candidates is Freek Appels.
As confidential advisor for PhD candidates Freek is available for all PhD candidates of the Faculty of Science that experience work-related difficulties, have complaints or questions about work circumstances or events at work. These may for example relate to work atmosphere, the way in which problems are dealt with in your work environment, or the work relationship with your supervisor(s) or colleagues. Freek is - in his role as confidential advisor - an approachable, impartial person to talk to, who can offer advice and guidance as well as handle complaints.
All information shared with him is treated in the strictest confidence.
Contact Freek per email or phone or come to the walk-in hour for PhD candidates of the Faculty of Science:
Every Wednesday from 12:00-13:00 h - Hans Freudenthalbuilding, room 0.04
If you wish to contact a different confidential advisor (for UU staff, for academic integrity issues or for inappropriate behavior), you can find more information and contact details on the intranet.
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.
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
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.
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'.
Available support for researchers including PhD students
University wide researchers can rely on data experts within the Research Data Management (RDM) support network for assistance, training or advice regarding the handling or analysis of research data. Expertise includes data management plans, FAIR data, but also IT solutions, information security and legal and ethical considerations regarding data privacy.
Relevant nodes of this support network for you are the central RDM support office at the UU library and the local RDM support team at the faculty of science. Have a look on their respective websites for more information and an overview of the support and training/workshops they offer.
UU policy framework for research data
This policy framework for research data delineates responsibilities in terms of the roles to be fulfilled by various parties (Executive Board, faculty boards, support and technical staff, research leaders and individual researchers) and aims to set parameters to safeguard the quality, availability and accessibility of research data within Utrecht University.
Faculty of Science Guidelines for Research Data Management
The Guidelines for Research Data Management outline and define a set of principles regarding research data and provide practical handlers for researchers in accordance with the regulations established in the Utrecht University policy framework for research data management (2016).
UU data privacy handbook
The handbook on data privacy outlines how to handle personal data in research.
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.
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.