Wetenschap - 14 maart 2002

University wants better overview of international PhD students

University wants better overview of international PhD students

The university does not have a clear picture of the international PhD students in Wageningen. It hopes to improve the situation by making a Training and supervision plan (TSP) compulsory for all PhD students.

Karin Horsman from the department of research strategy explains that the university does not have complete information on international PhD students here because they are often admitted directly to a group rather than through the central administration. "They are often not registered with the research school and they only surface in our administration when they apply for official permission to graduate."

The rules concerning university fees have recently been simplified, making them easier to implement, and a start has been made with the introduction of the Anglo-Saxon BSc-MSc-PhD model of education. These developments mean that the university wants to keep better track of who is where, and for this reason has now made it compulsory for the groups to draw up a Training and supervision plan for PhD students. This must include not only agreements about supervision, but also about the courses and congresses that students attend.

For each PhD graduation which takes place without a TSP a group will receive a reduced budget, in the hope that this will encourage departments to draw up a plan for each student. Central registration for international PhD students will entitle them to a full training budget (referred to in Dutch as a rucksack). At present those who pay university fees are entitled to a rebate of half the fees in the form of a training budget, on condition that they are registered with the research school and their qualifications are recognised.

This way international PhD students can attend congresses like their Dutch colleagues, according to Horsman. She goes on to explain that central registration will also make it easier for the university to inform students of their rights concerning housing and facilities such as the sports card to which they are entitled. Horsman: "We hope that the new rules will make it easier to keep track of the specific problems encountered by international PhD students, and that in the long run it will be easier to find solutions to these."

Yvonne de Hilster