TU/e tightens up PhD regulations

Eindhoven University of Technology has decided to intensify its quality control for PhD-dissertations. Starting 2013, new doctoral candidates must have a second supervisor next to their main supervisor. On top of that, every member of the PhD committee has to submit a written assessment. Today, only members of the smaller core committee have to do so. The reason for these measures is the fraud case concerning Tilburg professor Diederik Stapel.

Yesterday, the Executive Board notified the Departmental Boards of the university of the upcoming regulation changes. The core committee consists of five people, the total committee of eight, so there will be three additional assessments. Even if there is only one negative assessment, there will be a "very serious talk" with the doctorate board and the dean, says staff member Ben Donders. 

Apart from the obligatory second supervisor and the individual assessments, there will be another important change: in the future, the dean of the department involved appoints a member for the PhD committee. This person must be either a full-time professor or associate professor at TU/e, as well as hold an independent position. This last measure is a TU/e exclusive. Changing the number of supervisors from one to two is in line with national recommendations from Dutch umbrella organization VSNU.

The new rules will apply to all new doctoral candidates who start their research on or after January 1, 2013. The new rules don’t apply to doctoral programs that started prior to that date. Still, the Executive Board hopes current doctoral programs will already act on the upcoming changes.