Promovendi Netwerk Nederland (PNN) claimed in October that the university ignored the statutory guidelines for its application for participating in the PhD experiment. Documents obtained by PNN reportedly showed that the RUG took irresponsible financial risks, ignored quality requirements and appointed scholarship students for longer than permitted. None of it is true, the minister now says.
In a letter to the Lower House, she debunks all allegations. For instance, the RUG is not exceeding the agreed upon total of 850 PhD students. Appointing scholarship students for a period other than four years is also not against the rules. These rules do not prescribe the length of the PhD process, Bussemaker writes.
According to PNN, the RUG is supposedly taking ‘irresponsible risks’ because it has not set aside sufficient funding to offer the PhD students a contract should the experiment be called off prematurely. This is also incorrect, according to Bussemaker.
She says that, in a discussion, a number of employees indicated that they feel that the financial reserves are ‘disproportionate’ and that they see the chances of the experiment being terminated as ‘nil’. ‘However, this is not the opinion of the university board,’ Bussemaker says. The university is actually setting money aside, the minister reports.
PNN called on Bussemaker to end the experiment as quickly as possible, but she has no intention of doing so. ‘The RUG did not break the rules of participation in the experiment,’ she concludes.