PhD and corona

The COVID-19 measures announced by the government of the Netherlands are affecting not only social life but also education and research at Wageningen University & Research. On this page we want to inform you what the consequences are for PhD research, PhD education and PhD defences, including the continuation of research currently conducted as well as research planned by PhD (and related BSc and MSc) candidates.

Last update: 17 December 2020

General guidelines and measures

  • At all times, the general regulations and guidelines to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus as communicated by Wageningen University & Research should be followed. This includes, amongst others:

    • no hand shaking and other hygienic measures
    • Do not touch others
    • Cover your mouth when you need to sneeze or cough and do so with your elbow and not with your hands
    • Wash your hands properly and regularly with soap, especially when you have been out-doors
    • Avoid touching your face
    • working from home as much as possible
    • no international travelling unless it is essential (to be discussed with your supervisor),
    • prevent attending larger meetings
    • keep distance between each other (1,5 meters)
  • There might be financial consequences as a result of the Wageningen University & Research regulations and guidelines on your research. At present these consequences are difficult to estimate and quantify. At a later stage we will address this issue.

What do I do when I get a cold, sneeze and/or cough frequently, have a sore throat or start developing a fever?

What does self-quarantine mean?

  • Stay at the place where you are in quarantine. Do not receive visitors.
  • During the self-quarantine period do not travel or go to another location in the Netherlands.
  • If you do not develop symptoms that could be caused by coronavirus, you can end the self-quarantine after 10 days.

The following rules apply during self-quarantine:

  • Do not use public transport.
  • Do not visit the Campus of WUR.
  • Nobody may visit you, except for medical purposes (for example, a doctor or a GGD official).
  • If you need medical assistance do not go to your doctor or the hospital, but phone the doctor instead.
  • Ask other people to do grocery shopping for you.

Delay PhD programme irt COVID-19

    The general aim of Wageningen University is that all started projects can be finished. Because each PhD and Post-Doc project is unique (discipline, methods, stage, etc.), tailor-made solutionsare needed to reduce experienced or expected delays of individual PhD and Post-Doc projects or enable extensions. PhD candidates, Post-Docs and (co)promotor(s) should carefully consider the following options to minimise delays in individual PhD programmes.

    1. Focus temporarily on other work of your PhD.
    2. Rearrange planned studies.
    3. Redesign your studies
    4. Consider the requirements for a thesis.
    5. Buy more time through an extension. Discuss with the funding organisation(s) of your project whether an extension of your contract
      and project is possible.

    Travel guidelines and self-quarantine

    PhD candidates are currently allowed to travel to Wageningen. Once in Wageningen, they should strictly adhere to the safety rules, regulations and guidelines of WUR for working in WUR facilities.

    Negative COVID-19 test result and declaration requirement upon arrival in the Netherlands

    Since 29 December 2020, some travellers who arrive from a country that is not on the EU list of safe countries will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test result on arrival in the Netherlands.

    People travelling from countries inside the EU/Schengen area are only required to present a negative test result. People travelling from countries outside the EU/Schengen area are required to present both a negative test result and a negative test declaration bearing their signature.

    To see what applies for you, please check this website of the government.
    Here you can find more information about the EU list of safe countries.

    Self-quarantine for arriving PhD candidates

    If you are arriving from a country/area which has an entry ban for the Netherlands or from a country or area where an 'orange or red' travel advice (of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs) applies, you need to self-quarantine for 10 days after arriving in Wageningen.
    The travel advice (which can be found here) for each country indicates whether or not a person is advised to self-quarantine after arriving in the Netherlands. This page is unfortunately only available in Dutch. You can check if you need to self-quarantine by entering the country you are traveling from in the “Voer hier uw land of gebied in” section. If your country has an orange or red travel code the advice is to self-quarantine.
    More information in English about which travellers should self-quarantine on arrival in the Netherlands and about how to self-quarantine you can find at this website from the Government.

    Self-quarantine instructions for promotors

    New PhD candidates traveling to the Netherlands from abroad may have to self-quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands. Wageningen University follows the current guidelines and advice of the Dutch government. The promotor is requested to support the PhD candidate during the quarantine period. During this quarantine period, a PhD candidate is not allowed to use public transport and must stay at home. If a PhD candidate needs to self-quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands, he/she must therefore be picked up from the airport or travel by taxi. In Wageningen, a fellow PhD candidate from your chair group must be appointed as a buddy to support the new PhD candidate. This buddy must assist the PhD candidate with groceries and other matters that may need to be arranged.

    PhD research

    • On campus research by PhD candidates can continue if the research activities follow the regulations and guidelines of Wageningen
      University & Research (https://www.wur.nl/en.htm). PhD candidates should consult their promotor and jointly decide the
      best way forward. This may include decisions on continuation or termination of already started field and/or laboratory research.
    • Laboratories and experimental farms where research is conducted may have developed specific rules following the containment of the
      Coronavirus. Be aware of these new rules and in case of uncertainties discuss your research with the head of the laboratory and/or the manager of experimental farm.

    PhD education

    Until January 16, 2021, all WGS courses will be held online.

    BSc/MSc supervision and teaching

    • Experimental bachelor and master thesis research that has already started may continue. This limits study delay of bachelor and master
      students, as well as delay of your PhD work in as far as this BSc/MSc thesis work relates to your PhD study. It is advised (also to BSc and
      MSc students) not to start new experimental BSc and MSc thesis research at Wageningen University & Research.
    • If you – as a PhD candidate  – are involved in BSc and/or MSc education please see the dedicated communication for teachers. The course coordinator or your chairholder will be able to provide them.

    PhD defences

    From Wednesday 16 December on, all PhD defences are organised online.

    Online defence procedure

    The standard public defence procedure of a thesis is amended, when it comes to the following points:

      1. Only 4 hard copies of the final thesis have to be handed in at the PhD office.
      2. The PhD candidate ensures that the opponents have a hard copy of the thesis before the digital defense date.
      3. Paranymphs are optional.
      4. Signing of the diploma by all parties will be done after the public defense at a later date (see below).

    All participants in the digital defence must have access to Microsoft Teams.

    Similar to the standard public defence procedure it is oblicatory to give a presentation (“lekenpraatje”) before the defence.

    Livestream

    All defences can be watched via WUR Weblectures: https://weblectures.wur.nl/P2G/Player/Player.aspx?id=aulatv

    Paranymphs

    Paranymphs are optional for online defences. Please note that no separate invitation links will be sent to them. If you wish paranymphs to be present (and if they are not in the same room as you), then you must forward the invitation link to them yourself. If a paranymph is available, she/he can read out a proposition, if required. If no paranymph is present, the opponent can read the proposition before asking her/his question.

    Signing of the diploma

    The Diploma (already signed by a member of the Academic Board) has to be signed by the promotor(s), co-promotor(s) and candidate. An appointment has to be made with the Digital Pedel (phd.office@wur.nl). In case the candidate is not present in Wageningen, the Diploma (signed by all others) will be sent to the candidate via registered mail. After the candidate has signed the Diploma, she/he has to provide the PhD office with a scan or high resolution, professional quality photo of 1MB or more of the Diploma.