PhD Psychologist Update

The pilot of the PhD psychologist was evaluated positive and the services will now be offered structurally!

On Monday 14 Sept, the University Council discussed the evaluation of the pilot with a PhD psychologist at Utrecht University. On initiative of a.o. UPP, a psychologist was temporarily hired, initially for six months but extended to 18 months in total. Based on the evaluation of ProUt, UPP, the graduate committee and the psychologist, the Executive Board decided to structurally offer the services of a PhD psychologist. You can find the full evaluation here.

We’re very happy with the decision of the Board to offer a structural position for a PhD psychologist. Together with ProUt, UPP has been dedicated to improve mental wellbeing amond PhD candidates at Utrecht University. Our evaluation of the pilot among PhD candidates showed how they disproportionately deal with mental health issues such as stress and depression. This was confirmed by the report of the psychologist herself. The situation was already dire, but we expect this to worsen in light of the Covid-19 crisis, which affects junior researchers in academia especially. With this decision the Board responds to our call to offer adequate psychological support in our own university and we see this as an important acknowledgement of these structural problems. The position will be assigned as HR, which shows UU takes PhD candidates serious as employees. Lastly, we are pleased that the support will continue to be available for all types of PhD contracts.

However, this is not a full solution. We maintain commited to improving the position of PhD candidates at Utrecht University, and will continue to ask attention for their (mental) wellbeing. We asked the Board to take out the intake fee of 25 euros to ensure that there are no financial hurdles whatsoever to get the necessary help. We expect to know more about this in the coming month.

Lieke Schrijvers