UG may have produced most PhDs in 2020
Because of the corona restrictions, 475 of the graduation ceremonies took place online, either entirely or in part. Last week, rector Cisca Wijmenga sent out a jubilant tweet about the university’s achievement. Lou de Leij, who served as the dean of Graduate Schools in Groningen until January 2020, replied enthusiastically.
He suggested that Groningen has now trained the most PhD candidates in Groningen. The rector confirmed this in a follow-up tweet. According to Wijmenga, the UG graduated 12 percent of all Dutch PhD candidates in 2020.
‘That’s approximately correct’, says UG spokesperson Riepko Buikema. ‘But we feel it’s too early to compare ourselves to the rest of the country. We’ll be sharing our data with the VSNU first.’
In 2019, 546 people received their PhD at the UG. Buikema says the increase in the number of graduates is partially due to the scholarship PhD experiment. ‘The experiment started in 2016 and now, four years later, people are finished’, he says.
The experiment is controversial, since the PhD students don’t get the same remuneration as employees, when they say they do the same work. The UG was able to offer hundreds of people a PhD track through the experiment. In addition to the UG, only the Erasmus University in Rotterdam participated in the experiment. The Rotterdam institute had fifteen spots for scholarship PhDs.
Online graduation ceremonies
‘We also did our best to graduate people in spite of the corona pandemic’, says Buikema. This is also why he thinks it looks like Groningen has the most PhD graduates in the country. ‘Up until halfway through March, when the first corona restrictions went into effect, we’d only had 116 graduation ceremonies. It’s great to see how much we were able to do online despite those restrictions.’