At the end of 2020, you could count the number of associate professors at EUR with ius promovendi on two hands: 7 of the 215 (excluding Erasmus MC). By comparison, at some other universities, most if not all associate professors had been awarded this right. Reason for EUR to get more actively involved.

Not a conscious policy

According to Nick den Hollander, policy officer for Academic Affairs at EUR, it was not a conscious policy at the university to be reticent about awarding ius promovendi to associate professors. “We used the guideline that was agreed by UNL. However, two universities (University of Maastricht and University of Amsterdam, eds.) chose their own path, which was to generically award ius promovendi to all associate professors. EUR decided to view each award individually: has someone successfully supervised doctoral candidates, are they a good researcher?”

Nevertheless, rector magnificus Annelien Bredenoord – as a member of the Young Academy a warm supporter of recognising the contribution of associate professors to a PhD programme – considered the low numbers a reason to discuss the report in the upcoming academic year with the Promotions Board (in which the rector consults deans). “We consider awarding more rights as a more attractive career perspective for mid-career scholars, which also better reflects the work that people put into the supervision and their expertise”, says the rector in a response to the evaluation.

Intensive supervision

The evaluation shows that the quality of the supervision of doctoral candidates has not fallen. The researchers say that a bigger pool of supervisors mainly offers opportunities, they say. The specific expertise of a supervisor can lead to a ‘more targeted and intensive supervision’, for example.

It is not known whether expanding the right also resulted in an increase in associate professors from abroad, which was one of the goals of the new measure. However, universities feel ‘supported in their recruitment policy’ now that they may be able to award ius promovendi to more candidates.

The researchers also offer the Minister of Education some recommendations. Among others, the researchers feel that it is important to have uniform standards for awarding the right to supervise doctoral candidates. If universities apply different rules, this can obstruct ‘cooperation and mobility between universities’, the researchers say. Minister Dijkgraaf has already confirmed that he will study the recommendations.

 

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