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Education PhD programmes PhD Scholarship Programme Conditions and application



On 1 September 2016, the University of Groningen (UG) and the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) launched its PhD Scholarship Programme. Over a period of 6 years, this specially designed PhD programme will offer places to 1500 PhD scholarship students. Conditions of the PhD Scholarship Programme include that the PhD candidate has to write his or her own research proposal, the programme must adequately prepare the students for their future working practice, and participants are recognized as students and not employees. This document describes the most important aspects of this new scholarship programme.

Recruitment and selection

PhD scholarship students are selected on the basis of their CV and their own research proposal. The students are selected by the faculty Graduate Schools, which each have a fixed number of places to allocate. Each Graduate School applies its own procedures and deadlines to the recruitment process. General information about the recruitment, including selection procedure and links to the faculties’ own recruitment pages, can be found at

Candidates who are currently following a UG research or selective Master’s specialization will write a research proposal as part of their current programme. Candidates of other degree programmes can write their research proposal in consultation with a UG primary supervisor. The Graduate School may invite the selected candidates to spend a short period (3-6 months) at the UG (or the UMCG in case the PhD training is localized there) in order to get to know the supervisors and research groups and to write their research proposal. Candidates who wish to apply are advised to contact the Graduate School of their choice (see


Once they have been selected, PhD students will sign an agreement with the University/UMCG, whereby they will be entitled to a scholarship for the duration of the agreement. The agreement states that the UG/UMCG is responsible for the supervision of the student and the provision of the facilities they need to successfully complete their programme. For their part, the student undertakes to follow the PhD programme and conduct the associated research to the best of their ability in order to finish their training programme and to gain their PhD certificate within the agreed term.

Duration of the agreement

The duration of the agreement is determined by the Graduate School and will usually be three or four years. PhD scholarship students are generally expected to follow a full-time programme; however a student may also opt to spread their scholarship over a longer period (resulting in a lower monthly scholarship payment) in consultation with the Graduate School.

Status of the PhD scholarship student

The PhD scholarship student is a student and not an employee. This means that the student does not have an employment relationship with the University.


Part of the agreement between UG/UMCG and a PhD scholarship student involves a Training and Supervision Plan (TSP). This plan sets out the goals and deadlines for the student’s training and research. Students are required to keep to the TSP and the deadlines set out in it. Students will need to adjust their working hours to the operating and working hours of the research group that is hosting their PhD programme if this is required in order to meet the terms of the TSP.


The student’s primary and day-to-day supervisors monitor the progress of the TSP and provide guidance on the student’s learning progress, their results and the academic underpinning of their research. The primary and day-to-day supervisors are also the first people the student will approach if they have questions or problems. The faculty Graduate School is responsible for the PhD Scholarship Programme and will ensure that workable arrangements are set out to this end.


Students follow the teaching plan set out in the TSP and are responsible for ensuring that they successfully complete it before the PhD ceremony. Part of this teaching plan is the ‘Career Perspectives’ learning pathway, which will help students prepare for their future career as a PhD graduate, in or outside the academic world. The Graduate School determines the extent of the teaching plan (usually 30 ECTS for a four-year programme). Students will receive a certificate from the Graduate School upon successful completion of the teaching plan. PhD scholarship students cannot be obliged to provide teaching to other students; however, they may be required to follow teacher training as part of their curriculum, including supervised teaching practice.

Reporting attendance and non-attandance

PhD scholarship students are not obliged to report attendance or non-attendance. They may distribute their time as they see fit and do not have fixed working hours or holidays. The students are required to draw up agreements on attendance with their supervisors and inform them if they are unable to meet these agreements.

The scholarship

The scholarship is paid in monthly instalments in accordance with the taxation scheme of a fictitious employment contract. The UG/UMCG withholds income tax and social security contributions. The amount of the scholarship is set so that students receive approximately €1841 net per month (amount as of September 2019). This amount is adjusted annually on the basis of the "CBS consumer price index". No periodic increases or secondary benefits are applied (as in a normal employment contract), nor will the PhD scholarship students receive pension premiums, an end-of-year bonus, or holiday pay. The scholarship amount will not be adjusted if a student is faced with additional expenses due to personal circumstances such as the care of a partner and/or children.

N.B. Although the students are considered fictitious employees for the purposes of their tax status, they are not recognized as members of staff in the employ of the UG/UMCG. They have the status of a student without an employment relationship with the University or the UMCG.

Supplementary scholarship for international PhD students

International students who have been awarded a competitive scholarship in their country of origin that meets the standard of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), and who are accepted as a PhD degree student at the UG/UMCG, are eligible for a supplement up to the level of the standard scholarship for regular PhD scholarship students (see above under 'The scholarship'). This supplement is subject to the same taxation scheme as the regular scholarship (fictitious employment contract). This means that these international students have access to the same social security scheme as the regular PhD scholarship students; however, this also requires them to take out Dutch health insurance.

N.B.: The supplement will only be given to scholarship PhD students who have started as of September 2016 and who are part of the programme.

Sandwich: two years at the UG/UMCG and two years elsewhere

A ‘sandwich’ arrangement allows a student to follow part of their PhD at the UG (and be entitled to a scholarship) and part at another university. The same conditions apply for the period spent at the UG as apply to regular PhD scholarship students.

Employment elsewhere

PhD scholarship students are permitted to do paid work for other organizations alongside their PhD programme. However, they are not permitted to work part-time for the UG/UMCG (e.g. as a teacher). In all circumstances, the PhD scholarship student is required to give precedence to the terms of the TSP and applicable deadlines.

N.B. Certain paid work that is carried out in addition to the PhD scholarship programme may have consequences for income tax contributions, rent and healthcare allowances, etc. Students should make sure to inquire about the consequences of any paid work they wish to do in addition to their programme. The UG and UMCG are not responsible for any claims for repayments or other consequences.

Premature termination of the agreement

Students are expected to abide by the agreement for its entire duration. However, both the PhD scholarship student and the UG/UMCG may terminate the agreement prematurely if extraordinary circumstances apply. Students have a notice period of one month and the UG/UMCG has a notice period of three months. Should the UG have the intention to terminate the agreement due to unsatisfactory performance (preferably within the first year of the agreement), the student will be sent a written warning and allowed an additional opportunity to achieve the required results within a reasonable period. The results expected of the student will be described as precisely as possible.

Unforeseen circumstances

Should a student be unable to graduate within the term of the agreement due to unforeseen circumstances, then the term of the agreement may be extended, on condition that the student can reasonably be expected to graduate with satisfactory results within this extra term. Examples of unforeseen circumstances include pregnancy, unexpected absence due to iillness, or death of one of the student’s parents. The student can submit a request for an extension to the Graduate School in consultation with their primary supervisor. If a student expects to require an extension, it is important to contact the primary or day-to-day supervisor in good time and explain the reason for the request.

Illness or other problems

All PhD scholarship students are advised to register with a General Practioner (GP). There is a GP surgery on the Zernike campus especially for staff and students of the UG. If a student has problems with research progress, they can contact the Psychological Counselling Service of the Student Service Centre (SSC).

Social security and insurance

The UG and the UMCG apply all applicable social security legislation to PhD scholarship students. PhD scholarship students can apply for rent, healthcare and childcare allowances and the Dutch child benefit if they meet all the applicable conditions (see below). PhD scholarship students are legally required to take out a Dutch basic health insurance policy (some exceptions apply). These students are also strongly advised to take out third-party liability insurance.

N.B.: An insurance for international students does not meet the legal requirements of a Dutch basic health insurance.

Applying for allowances

PhD scholarship students can apply for rent, healthcare and childcare allowances during their stay in the Netherlands. Students must make sure that they meet the applicable conditions before applying for such allowances. The tax authorities may demand repayment of allowances received in error even after many years have passed and regardless of whether the person still lives in the Netherlands. This can amount to thousands of euros. The UG and the UMCG accept no responsibility in these instances. For more information, visit

Applying for child benefit

PhD scholarship students with children are, under certain circumstances, entitled to child benefit. For more information, visit


International PhD scholarship students may apply for special PhD accommodation in Groningen. These are furnished units with good facilities in complexes shared with other PhD students. There is a limited number of two-person units available. For more information, visit the information on this website.

Enrolment and the PhD pass

PhD scholarship students are enrolled as students with the UG, and they are issued an S-number (student number) and provided with a student card. Besides, they are issued a P-number that provides access to the same systems as all other PhD students, such as the Hora Finita PhD registration system and the Pure research information system. In order to access UG (or UMCG) facilities such as buildings, the library, photocopy machines, coffee makers, etc. they are provided with a PhD and/or UMCG card.


PhD scholarship students can access all the University’s student sports facilities by joining the students sports association ACLO. For this, they should use their S-number and student card. For more information, visit

Consultative participation

PhD scholarship students have active and passive student voting rights and can vote for and be elected to the University Council and the Faculty Council.

PhD Scholarship Desk

Any questions that cannot be answered by the primary or day-to-day supervisor or the Graduate School can be put to the PhD Scholarship Desk: phd-scholarship

Last modified:09 March 2020 11.18 a.m.
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