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PhD/i, the learning community for interfaculty PhD projects at the UG, is now part of the Schools for Science & Society

07 May 2024

PhD/i, the learning community for interfaculty PhD projects at the UG, will become part of the Schools for Science & Society from May. According to scientific director Konstantin Mierau, this is the perfect fit . 'Within the Schools, we can further work on the positive visibility of interfaculty and interdisciplinary PhDs and their supervisors.'

The idea for PhD/i originates from Associate Professor Konstantin Mierau. As director of the Federation of Graduate Schools in the Social Sciences and the Humanities, Mierau sees an increasing number of interfaculty PhDs at the UG. ‘There are at least seventy now, and because of the M20 Programme, ten interfaculty PhDs are added every year.' These PhD candidates do their research under the wings of two or more faculties. 'The differences between faculties, for example in terms of publication culture, are often significant. There are also considerable differences in terms of methodology.'

These differences are sometimes difficult for both PhD candidates and their supervisors to bridge, putting PhDs at risk of falling between two stools. There was a clear need for a learning community, where interfaculty PhDs and supervisors could exchange ideas and experiences. With this idea, Mierau and Liesbeth Volbeda (advisor Learning and Development, HR&Health, UG) made a successful application to SoFoKleS, the knowledge fund for the academic job market, in 2021.

'Positive visibility'

In March 2023, PhD/i started with a pilot phase. The 'i' in PhD/i stands for interfaculty or interdisciplinary, Mierau explains. But that is not the only explanation for the letter. In English, the letter 'i' is pronounced as 'eye'. This second meaning was adopted for good reason. Within the learning community PhD/i, interfaculty PhD candidates and supervisors are 'seen', says Mierau. 'We want to ensure positive visibility.'

The learning community offers intervision groups for PhD students. For academic staff of the UG, a workshop has been developed and is offered through the Corporate Academy. In addition, an annual symposium is organised in cooperation with Young Academy Groningen (YAG), which brings the whole group together. 'During intervisions and workshops, PhDs and supervisors get in touch with each other so that they can share challenges, experiences and solutions,' says Volbeda. 'Participants learn to take leadership themselves and actively formulate action points.'

'Dream spot'

According to Mierau, the interfaculty PhDs are 'doing pioneering work'. 'I fervently believe in interfaculty and interdisciplinary collaboration. The traditional university divisions are sometimes hundreds of years old, and this often no longer suits today's challenges. Interfaculty PhDs are therefore on an important but risky mission. We need to support that carefully as a university.' Mierau notes that the PhD/i learning community meets a need within academia. 'At SoFoKleS, the Graduate Schools, HR and Young Academy Groningen: everywhere the doors are opening for this initiative.'

Recently, the door of House of Connections also opened for PhD/i. The learning community for PhD candidates and their supervisors will be hosted by the four Schools for Science & Society, with a focus on both interfaculty and interdisciplinary collaboration. 'This is the dream spot,' says Mierau, 'Within the Schools, we can increase the efficiency of the learning community. We are now moving out of the pilot phase and with this support we can continue to work on the positive visibility of interfaculty and interdisciplinary PhDs.'

Last modified:08 May 2024 09.38 a.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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