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Running out of time

As Covid-19 delays PhD and postdoc projects, Dutch universities scramble to extend researchers’ contracts

All over Europe, research has ground to a halt under lockdown measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. In the Netherlands, many PhD students and postdocs have had to put the completion of their projects on hold. They are in particular trouble because, unlike their tenured colleagues, they are on a timer.

In the Netherlands, PhD students and postdocs are hired on four-year contracts to carry out a specific project, which will ultimately end in them gaining qualifications. If they exceed this contract, universities are legally obliged to hire them on a permanent basis.

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