Scholarship PhDs would prefer regular employment contract
Of the 225 respondents, 74.4 percent say they’d rather have a regular employment contract. They applied for their position because it was the only one available, or because they couldn’t get hired as a regular PhD.
8.8 percent of the surveyed PhDs prefer their status as scholarship student.
The PNN isn’t surprised. ‘Scholarship PhDs make less money than employed PhDs and they earn no pension. Any supposed advantages like increased freedom in setting up their projects are not being fulfilled. It’s clear that scholarship PhDs are doing the exact same work as employed PhDs under worse employment conditions’, says PNN chair Lucille Mattijsen.
She would like the scholarship PhD experiment ended as soon as possible. ‘It’s become clear that the scholarship is preferred by the higher-ups. The PhDs don’t see the merit of it.’
But the PNN is satisfied with the ‘top-up’ grants for international PhDs. When a PhD starts at the UG with an external scholarship, the university supplements this to the level of a regular scholarship PhD.
The PNN’s findings correspond with the ongoing criticism levelled at the scholarship PhD experiment. Last year, the Groningen scholarship PhDs published a manifesto demanding the UG put a stop to the experiment. In it, they said they do the same work as their employed colleagues but are paid less. They also can’t claim any employee benefits.
This manifesto has since been signed nine hundred times. 236 of these signatures were from scholarship PhDs. In spite of the criticism, the UG decided to continue the experiment; they’ll have room to recruit 650 more scholarship PhDs over the next few years.