The university extended the contracts of PhD students on a fixed contract by an average of two months. Support was also available for PhD students on grants whose work suffered delays.
There were two moments when PhD students and postdocs could apply for support: in the summer of 2020 for those whose contracts ended in 2020, and in the autumn for those whose contracts end in 2021. In the first round, the university extended 14 PhD and 7 postdoc contracts. In the second round, 71 PhD and 10 postdoc contracts were extended, all by an average of two months.
The university also provided support for 63 PhD students on grants whose work was held up last year. ‘As far as I know, we are the only university that has supported PhD students on grants,’ says Janneke van Seters, head of the PhD Office at WUR. When assessing applications, the university took the researchers’ home situations into account. There was three months’ compensation for those who had to look after their children in spring 2020, when schools and nurseries were closed. In all the other cases, the nature of the delay was considered, and whether it was really caused by Covid-19 or by other factors. The university also looked at what steps the research group had taken to minimize or manage the delay.