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ASCA is home to more than 100 PhD candidates ( see list). Our PhD community is diverse in almost every respect. Some PhD candidates are directly funded by ASCA and the Faculty of Humanities, others by scholarships or loans from their home countries, and some combine their research with part-time jobs (within or beyond the university). Around half of our PhDs come from abroad. Together, these PhD candidates form an active and tight-knit intellectual community which is strongly committed to interdisciplinary research. ASCA’s PhD community is the backbone of our research school.

ASCA is organized in a non-hierarchical way. Every member—staff or PhD candidate—is invited to actively participate in and contribute to the program by initiating reading groups, lecture series, organizing conferences or workshops, and by making suggestions regarding the ASCA program and organization. You may always contact either the director, the vice-director or the managing director directly. In addition to these informal channels, bi-annual PhD meetings are organized for the entire PhD community (see below for the latest report).

ASCA’s director is Esther Peeren. ASCA’s vice-director, Jaap Kooijman, is in charge of all matters concerning PhD candidates. Eloe Kingma is the managing director and can help you with practical matters and negotiating the bureaucracy of the UvA. All three of us can be contacted with questions or problems: ;;

PhD Representatives

Presently, Nadica Denic is the PhD representative on the ASCA board. She is also, member of the Faculty PhD Council. The PhD Council meets monthly with the director of the AIHR, Irene Zwiep, and the head of the Research Support Department, Elske Gerritsen. 

ASCA PhD Meeting 12 October 2022

Present: Nadica Denić, Sinine Nakhle, Pengnan Hu, Hannah Poon, Wen Yun Yen, Joe van der Eerden, Gerrit Schaafsma, Luc Marraffa, Brian Trinanda, Karla Zavala, Brian McKenna, Dieuwertje Luitse, Eszter Szakacs, Yazan Khalili, Bo Wang, Shekoufeh Behbehani, Lingyu Li, Ira Solomatina, Timoteus, Kate Saccone, Parisa Zandbaf, Kate McAlary, Franziska Westhäuser, Emily Lee, Esther Peeren, Jaap Kooijman, Eloe Kingma

  1. ASCA PhD evaluation Fall 2022 for self-funded PhD candidates

Eloe announces that  in the coming weeks self-funded PhD candidates will be asked to fill and return their evaluation form. This evaluation is meant to keep in touch with the PhDs after their pilot meeting. Since there are over 170 PhD candidates in ASCA, it is not possible to organize annual evaluation talks for everybody. But if you feel that an evaluation meeting could help you, then please signal this on the form and we will ask Jantine to arrange it. The form will be treated completely confidentially. You do not have to consult your supervisors, and they will not be informed of the information you share with us. It would help enormously if you fill and return the form within 10 days.

  1. ASCA Workshop 2023
    Every year since the late ’90s of the previous century a team of PhD candidates has organized the ASCA workshop. This year Nadica and Jasmijn have offered to take on the organization, and are open to one other person who would like to join their team. As a topic they are thinking of ethics and human/non-human relations. The workshop should take place from 28-30 June 2023.
  2. Finishing Fellowships
    The deadline for these annual faculty funded fellowships is 15 October. The Finishing Fellowships are for self-funded PhDs in their finishing stages, and consist of a 0.5fte contract for one year. If you want to apply, make sure you consult closely with your supervisors about all the materials needed for the application.
  3. Peer Consultation/Intervision Groups
    The PhD Skills programme organizes these groups. The meetings are very structured and during the first two sessions a professional coach guides the process. It is Eloe’s experience that often after the first two sessions the groups fall apart and do not continue meeting. She asks if it would be better to organize the peer consultation per school, where the participants have closer relations already. Several PhDs share their experiences of the groups; the general feeling seems to be that it might work better to have the groups per school, so group members have more in common and are more likely to stay in touch.

A group of ASCA PhD candidates has since the Summer set up 6 groups of 5-9 people who meet about once a month to discuss whatever the participants want to. The aim is to organize social support in a peer environment. ASCA is really happy with this initiative and offers to book rooms if necessary.

The two types of groups can complement each other, as they offer different forms of support.

  1. Other Stuff
  • Gerrit Schaafsma draws attention to the Activism and Business conference he is organizing on 19-20 December 2022.
  • Covid-19 related extensions can be applied for if substantial delays occurred because of an inability to do fieldwork, visit archives, etc. Please ask your supervisors; they will know what the criteria are and how and when to apply. About cases of long Covid, the ARBO doctor should be consulted.
  • Temporary teacher positions are now generally for 4 years and for 0.8-1.0 fte. This has advantages and disadvantages for teaching possibilities for self-funded PhD candidates. Note that it remains possible to indicate that you are happy with a smaller contract, and that there will still be cases where there is a last-minute need for someone to teach a particular course for one semester. Also note that the new teaching policy is for the UvA only; it has not been implemented at other Dutch universities.  
  • Supervisors should be encouraged to do the Superb Supervision Training. A Faculty-specific supervision training is still being developed.
  • For those who start teaching there is the opportunity to do a didactics course. Please ask your supervisor/department. We do not recommend doing the BKO, unless you have a lot of previous teaching experience, because it is a lot of work, and you do not really need it. Teaching experience is more important when you apply for a position than the BKO, which you can always obtain later (when you will also get hours to do this).
  • Travel costs: Astrit—the person in charge of funding for self-funded PhDs--is asking for a budget for the duration of the entire project. Please, do not worry, but discuss it with your supervisors and put something together – this can always change later. Astrit just wants you to be aware of the limitations of the budget, so you do not spend everything early on.
  • Travel: contracted staff is expected to arrange their international travel via Munckhof, a travel agency (this can be done in the self-service tool). This will become mandatory at some point. The advantage is that you don’t have to pay and then get reimbursed (or ask for an advance); the disadvantage is that you have less control over what you can book. Please let us know about your experiences (good and bad) with the new system, so we can get a sense of whether it is an improvement or should be challenged.
  • Social Safety: if you experience any kind of undesirable behavior, or you wonder whether it is undesirable behavior, please signal this as early as possible: