At present, universities do not know much about their external PhD candidates and PhD students who take longer than planned to complete their dissertations. As a matter of fact, Dutch universities are currently unable to provide an overview of all their external PhD candidates. They simply have no idea how many there are, it was recently found when MPs in the Dutch Lower House asked for such an overview.


Great deal of pressure

“Right now, there is no such system in place at Erasmus University,” says project leader Michel Wesseling. “The main objectives are PhD candidates being in control of their own progress, and faculties getting a clearer picture of how many PhD students they have and what kind of progress they are making.”

“PhD students experience a great deal of pressure, and to some extent this is due to their communications with their supervisor or doctoral adviser,” Wesseling says. “Hora Finita is used to record all arrangements. It also generates automated notifications, for instance of impending deadlines, or when a supervisor is required to authorise something.” In addition, the system allows PhD students to schedule their progress very carefully.

The new tracking system is expected to go live on 1 March. All PhD students affiliated with Erasmus MC, the Erasmus School of Law and the International Institute of Social Studies will start using the new system on that date. In the long term, all EUR PhD candidates, PhD supervisors, doctoral advisers and faculty secretaries are expected to start using Hora Finita.