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Being a PhD candidate

Types of PhD candidates at the IMR

The IMR and the IMR Doctoral School consider all their formal PhD candidates to be junior researchers. Some are employed by the university (“internal” candidates); others are not employed, but conduct their research under the supervision of one or more IMR researchers (“external” candidates). The academic requirements for both categories of PhD candidates are identical, and their doctoral degrees are equally valued and appreciated.

The “internal” PhD candidates are recruited and appointed to conduct research on a specific topic, which is often proposed and developed by their supervisor(s). In particular, they are employed by one of the faculty’s five departments. The head of the department in question is in charge of staff and financial means. Their contract of employment is usually split in a first term of 1,5 years and a second term of 2,5 years. Receiving a contract for the second term depends on the candidate’s progress in the first term, which is evaluated by the candidate’s supervisor(s), based on advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee. The employment of these candidates is governed by the provisions of the collective labour agreement, the RU Doctorate Regulations and the regulations imposed by the faculty and the Institute for Management Research.  The special conditions applying to this group are described in detail in the chapter dealing with terms of employment.

External PhD candidates receive a statement of registration from the faculty and conduct at least part of their training in accordance with faculty guidelines. Being formally recognised as an IMR PhD candidate gives candidates a number of basic rights: they receive a staff number (u-number) and a staff pass that grant them access to facilities such as the university library and databases. They are recognised as members of the IMR Doctoral School (with a number of benefits, as described below), and are provided (in consultation, and if available) with a flexible workstation. Formal external PhD candidates can also present themselves as IMR PhD candidates at conferences and in publications (in accordance with the standard affiliation statement). Their research relationship with the university is governed by the provisions of the RU Doctorate Regulations and the regulations imposed by the faculty and the Institute for Management Research.

IMR Doctoral School membership

All IMR PhD candidates have to be members of the IMR Doctoral School. All internal IMR PhD candidates automatically become members of the IMR Doctoral School. External PhD candidates have to join the IMR Doctoral School through a request for admission by their first supervisor to the Head of the Doctoral School.

Being a member of the Doctoral School gives PhD candidates the opportunity to participate in the research activities organised by the IMR Academy, those of the Doctoral School (i.e., the IMR PhD Research Day, IMR PhD Induction Days, various workshops), as well as those organised by PhD candidate bodies, such as the PhD Council (see the “PhD Networks” section for more details on this latter point). All Doctoral School members can  use of facilities such as the Visa Skills Lab and the Decision Lab, follow the university’s courses for PhD candidates, and register for PhD-level courses organised by the Dutch National Research Schools that the IMR is affiliated with. Participating in courses offered by Radboud University is free of charge to all PhD candidates. Fees for the courses organised by the Research Schools vary on a case-by-case basis.

PhD candidate supervision

Supervisors are an important source of support and inspiration for PhD candidates during their doctoral training. As the name implies, they supervise the research project and provide feedback, advice and support. Apart from developing a number of research and transferrable skills during their PhD projects, PhD candidates also develop their personalities and academic attitudes; supervisors play an important part in this development as well.

In the Netherlands, only full professors and associate professors with Ius Promovendi are permitted by law to act as a PhD supervisor. Sometimes, a PhD candidate has two PhD supervisors, for instance when expertise from different disciplines is needed to carry out the research. Often, a PhD co-supervisor (an assistant or associate professor, or another expert with a PhD degree) joins the supervisory team, sometimes from a different department, faculty, university, or research institute.

The IMR recommends that PhD candidates have someone who is tasked with a daily supervision, who is easily accessible (in terms of availability) and can be consulted  frequently regarding practical issues. This role is generally fulfilled by an assistant or associate Professor, who is often employed at the department where the PhD candidate conducts his or her research.