The University of Utrecht has approximately 1500 PhD candidates many of which are employed at the university with a temporary contract. At the end of their contract, PhDs defend their dissertation, obtaining a doctorate degree. This type of employment makes PhDs a group of employees with specific interests and needs, which should be represented in all levels of university participation bodies. Until a couple of years ago, PhDs have been underrepresented, especially in the university council. Therefore, their interests were not taken into consideration well enough. To prevent this from happening again, we proudly announce a new party for PhD candidates: the Utrecht PhD Party (UPP).

The UPP has been founded with the aim to bring together PhD candidates with an interest in participation and to offer them an election program that is aimed at their needs. The UPP will look for PhDs willing to participate and support them during their campaign and their time in university council. To this end, the UPP will coordinate closely with Prout (PhD network Utrecht).

Topics that are important for PhDs, among others, are obtaining the balance between research and teaching obligations, the preparation of PhDs for the job market within or outside of academia, the rights of bursary PhDs and solid supervision. What is more, internationalisation on all levels of the university is important and should be expanded by way of bilingual language policy (NL-EN) in participation councils to include foreign employees and PhDs. The so-called bursary PhDs which have neither employee or student status, finally, will, of course, also be represented in the UPP.

In the past three years, PhDs were represented within the university council by one or two members. During this time, topics that were discussed included setting up courses for teaching on a university level, the importance of the PhD regulations, and the right to vote for bursary PhDs. With the new PhD party UPP, a foundation will be laid to anchor participation of PhDs within the university of Utrecht and make sure their interests are looked after now and in the future.