The Erasmus University is also taking part in the experiment. In 2016, the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague was given permission to pay fifteen PhD students through a grant system.

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The lack of interest in the rest of the country is a reason why Minister Van Engelshoven plans to pull the plug on the experiment even before the first interim evaluation. VVD and CDA asked her to reconsider that decision if this interim evaluation revealed positive effects. However, the Minister is not keen to do that, as appears from her answers.

“I might have considered a new round of applications if that had created more variety in the doctoral programme, which would have added value to the experiment. But there was and is no interest from other universities apart from RUG and EUR.”

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Van Engelshoven does not respond to the favourable responses from PhD candidates on a grant at the University of Groningen, to which CDA and VVD refer in their questions. An initial survey by RUG seemed to show that the PhD students are equally satisfied as doctoral students employed as research assistants.

The Minister wants to await the interim evaluation before she addresses the effects of the experiment. Research bureau CHEPS will perform this survey and publish the results at the end of April. The final evaluation follows in 2021.

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