Pandemic #3

It’s been a few weeks since our last message. As you probably know, some of the restrictions by the government have since been lifted. The VSNU has released a “start-up protocol” (their memo is available in Dutch at their website). This means that slowly both our campuses are opening up again as well. For most of us however, this means that we still work from home most of the time, for the foreseeable future. For people who have to do lab work, even though they are able to use university facilities, working might not be the same as before.

The coronavirus situation affects all of us differently. From what comes to our attention by people contacting us, stress and fear seems to be worse among people from certain backgrounds. For example, international students have more problems than average, according to a university study. As the university’s general PhD association we keep monitoring the crisis and how it affects us. Some of us have already voiced concerns that because of this situation their work runs the risk of getting delayed because of projects that need to be postponed. For example, see the open letter here, an initiative by PhD students from the ESHCC, which will probably be addressed at the executive board. If you endorse their message you can also sign it.

Another request is from the working Group for International Employees. This group wants to learn more if there is a need at your faculty/school to create support groups for PhD candidates in order to work more efficient at home. For example, peer-to-peer groups for writing a thesis together, or a group  to create and follow a certain structure during the day (for example, to have a warm up in the morning, then writing together, lunch time, discuss research topics, etc.). Send us an e-mail if you are interested in this and we will forward it to the group.

We have two additional tips to share with you. Firstly, for those who have most problems with working from home, the university’s TOP (training and development platform) organises the Workshop Effective Pleasant Working Home. Second, the 2020 Inspireurope Stakeholder Forum holds several online events on the 8th of June, funded by a European Union Horizon 2020 grant. After a plenary session they organise two workshops for non-academic research careers for the humanities and social sciences and for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. See the whole programme here.

In the new academic year we are hopefully able to organise new events again. By that time we will also ask people to help us in the board (but feel free to apply beforehand). In the meantime, we will keep everyone up-to-date on current events. If you encounter troubles related to the situation or you have interesting tips on how to cope with it, don’t hesitate to contact us. Take care!


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