Together with the department board, the following goals have been stated for the PhD council.
Communication with the department
The council should represent the PhD community in discussions on relevant topics such as housing, teaching, PhD supervision, etc. Tasks for the council include quarterly meetings with the dean of the graduate school, and setting up an infrastructure to communicate messages from the department board to the PhD community and to gather feedback from the PhDs.
Communication with the student community
Students are potential PhD students. The council should be in contact with students and student organisations, bringing our research to the students, and our students to the research. The council may find the ways to involve PhDs into relevant student events, and organize guest lectures for students by PhDs.
Communication inside the PhD community
Currently, many PhD students only know their direct neighbours. Getting to know more people in the department is a great way to increase your network, and can spark interesting research ideas. It would be nice to welcome new PhD students when they join our department. The department board has already agreed to provide some budget for 10 free PhD lunches per year, during which PhDs can present themselves and their group to each other. We need you to organise events like these!
First aid for PhD students (and Postdocs, PDEngs)
Every day PhD students face common problems and challenges, such as “Help, what should I be researching?!”, “Help, I see my supervisor only once a month!”, “Help, I'm in a European project!”, “Help! I don’t have time for research because of the teaching duties!”. Foreign students need to find housing, buy a good but cheap bike, deal with health insurance or the tax office. When going to a conference, we need LaTeX templates for TU/e style presentations and posters. We can help each other a lot by sharing experience, information and resources! The council can assist us in doing so.
PhD students’ future
Once PhD students finish their thesis, only few remain at the same university. Currently we don't keep very good track of where they go. Some PhDs go to other universities, others disappear completely after getting a job in industry. Both from a research perspective and from a networking perspective, it is interesting to keep in touch with these people. The council could keep track of those who finish, and invite them over to give talks or to join our events.