Employed PhD candidates

Employed PhD candidates are PhD candidates who receive a full-time four-year contract at Wageningen University & Research (WUR).

Finding a position

Graduate schools recruit research assistants through vacancy announcements and interviews. You can find an overview of current research assistant vacancies on the PhD vacancies page.


As a research assistant at Wageningen University & Research you will have a full time contract for a maximum of four years. At the request of parties involved, the university can also offer a PhD candidate an 80% contract for a maximum of five years. In exceptional cases your appointment can be extended by a maximum of one year. The request for such an extension must be submitted to a personnel consultant at least six months before your contract expires.

Collective Labour Agreement

You can find more detailed information about the employment regulations and conditions that apply to research assistants in the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO). You can consult them on the following websites:

These websites also contain more detailed information about the remuneration that research assistants receive. As a research assistant you will generally start out in scale 10/ -1. In addition to the Collective Labour Agreement, Wageningen University & Research has some additional regulations that apply to research assistants.

Rules and regulations

Social Security

As a research assistant you are an employee of Wageningen University & Research. You will therefore be eligible for social security benefits. You can find out more about the social security regulations that apply to research assistants on the ABVA KABO-FNV website (Dutch). The following collective social security regulations apply to employees of Dutch universities:

  • BWNU, Besluit Werkloosheid Nederlandse Universiteiten
  • TBWNU, toelichting BWNU
  • ZANU, Tijdelijk besluit ziekte en arbeidsongeschiktheid onderwijs- en onderzoekpersoneel
  • ZNU deel A, deel A - interim-regeling ziektekosten
  • ZNU deel B, deel B - tegemoetkoming in ziektekosten

HRM Personnel Advisers

You will meet with the personnel adviser of the Human Resources Management department at the start of your programme. You can consult personnel advisers about matters concerning legal status, problems regarding supervision or other work related issues. The PhD consultant at your graduate school will also be able to assist if problems arise.


A research assistant’s work will be evaluated by the supervisor on a yearly basis. During the annual evaluation your supervisor will assess your abilities and progress. Special attention will be given to the goals set out in your training and supervision plan and the objectives set out at the start of the appointment. The first evaluation will take place approximately one year after a you have started your programme.

If the annual evaluation shows that you have been making poor progress the university can decide to terminate your contract prematurely. If you object to the outcome of the evaluation, there is an extensive grievance procedure. This procedure is outlined in the regulations for research assistants.


A signed certificate is provided by the Executive Board of the university following both planned and premature termination of the appointment. This certificate will contain a short overview of the research which you have conducted. This certificate will include a list of your publications, an overview of the training and education you have participated in and an overview of the contribution which you have made to undergraduate education. If your appointment ends with the conferral of a doctorate degree, you will receive doctoral degree certificate.