Doing fieldwork in times of corona is impossible for most researchers. Photo: Pixabay

Education Association: establish emergency fund for researchers and PhD candidates


Because of the corona crisis, many researches and PhD candidates are having trouble with their research. The General Education Association (Aob) is urging minister Van Engelshoven to establish an emergency fund.

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Since the start of the corona crisis, many researchers and PhD candidates have been unable to collect data. Fieldwork has been postponed, and laboratories are closed. But the duration of their contracts is tied to the duration of their research projects. In other words: they’re facing a set end date, but are unsure whether it’ll be possible to complete their research in time.

For that reason, the government should support researchers and PhD candidates by establishing an emergency fund, says the General Education Association (Aob). “Many employers will say they only have enough money for the duration of the project,” says sector manager Donald Pechler. “The government has deep pockets, we’ve heard.”

In an interview with the Higher Education Press (HOP) on Monday, Lucille Mattijssen from the PhD Network Netherlands (PNN) called for leniency for PhD candidates. Give them more time, or change the requirements for their theses, she said. The proposals from the PNN and the Aob don’t have to be mutually exclusive, says Pechler.

The association has since shared its idea with minister Van Engelshoven in a meeting about the corona crisis in higher education.


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