Should PhDs accept to have a mere student status?

Some of the rights and benefits of being considered as an employee could soon be swept from under the feet of many Dutch PhDs. A new proposal by Dutch Labour Party Minister Jet Bussemaker has reignited a long term debate on the subject. The move, backed by universities, is considered by researchers’ organisations as depriving PhDs of many rights and benefits. This shows that for every step forward in helping the working conditions of scientists —among others, through the introduction, ten years ago, of the European Charter for Researchers— it is only too easy to slide backwards, according to an opinion piece by Eurodoc president, John Peacock.

PhDs seeking more than just student status

The position of doctoral candidates in Europe has rarely been more difficult than it is today; this is especially true for scientists working in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). he past five years have seen many huge changes that have affected the context in which doctoral training is taking place. The first is the inclusion of doctoral training in the Bologna process as a third education cycle. The second is the announcement that the European Commission is aiming to train at least one million more researchers by 2020. The last, but perhaps, the most difficult aspect, is the financial crisis of the past few years; the worst to strike Europe in past 50 years.

Commercial awareness for PhDs and Postdocs: why should you care?

When employers were asked about the type of skills they thought researchers would have only about a quarter of respondents said they thought researchers would have high levels of commercial awareness. This compared to closer to 100% who thought researchers had a high level of skill in data analysis (phew!). So why should this matter? Well, because employers in many sectors of industry value commercial awareness.

Utrecht staff and students say no to physics cuts

Bright and early on 3 January 2011, 140 physics lecturers, students and other staff at Utrecht University in the Netherlands made their way from the physics department to the offices of the university administration. The purpose of the demonstration was to submit a petition objecting to proposed cutbacks, and to the removal of department head Casper Erkelens after he refused to sign a document agreeing to the reforms.

Homo scientificus europaeus: Giving European scientists back their voice

Political populism, with its accompanying “fake news” and pseudoscience, leaves scientists distraught. But maybe scientific research itself needs a reboot. Research can no longer win public funding on the mere promise of a possible contribution to society. Read more […]