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​​Gender equality aspects in the recruitment and selection procedure

PROMINENT strives to establish equality between female and male ESRs following the recommendation guidelines of the European Union. A dedicated ‘Equal opportunities coordinator’ (EOC) is appointed in the Management Committee to oversee actions taken to promote gender equality in recruitment, decision-making and research. The EOC actively pursues and maintains this appropriate gender balance across PROMINENT by paying special attention to the recruitment of female ESRs. The EOC ensures that the Eligibility Committee and Selection Committee have adequate gender balance, there is no gender discrimination in dissemination documents, and women’s and men’s rights are equally represented. Evaluators in PROMINENT will be made aware of and instructed by the EOC not to make any assessments of career breaks, but purely to evaluate the quality of the candidate. Supervisors and mentors in charge of recruitment take every necessary precaution to avoid conflict of interest and gender imbalances during the recruitment. 

PROMINENT ensures that retention of female scientists in research is encouraged and this is part of the specified career management training for female ESRs. Flexible lab and office hours are allowed and training and research activities adapted (e.g. in case of pregnancy and childcare). Female ESRs are entitled to paid pregnancy and maternity leave during their contract period. In addition, support is given to families and other special needs of the candidates. In the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO-NU), rules and regulations on pregnancy and maternity leave are stated. 

At UMCG/RUG, a programme is specifically set-up to promote the advancement of talented female researchers at the highest levels of the institution. Furthermore, PROMINENT PIs will make them aware of awards that are granted to female researchers, such as WISE.​

​How participants receive results and ways for redress

Ineligible candidates are informed on their rejection by (electronic) letter stating the insufficient or lacking criteria.
The selected candidates are informed by (electronic) letter about their status. They are contacted by the HRM department and/or the prospective supervisors to negotiate their contract and plan moving to The Netherlands. This process usually takes ~4 weeks. ESRs are hired based on contracts, ensuring their access to social security. 
The rejected candidates receive a (electronic) letter explaining why their application has not been selected. The letter will mention strong and weak points of the candidate, aiming to help the rejected candidates to improve their records to become successful in future applications. 
Redress procedure: The candidates are also informed of the possibility to discuss the results of the selection procedure with one of the SC members that have assessed their application together with the possibility of ‘Legal Appeal’. The UMCG complies to the NVP Recruitment Code, in which a written complaint can be sent to the Dutch Association for Personnel Management and Organisational Development (NVP), if the candidate has clear evidence to support shortcomings in the evaluation process that may have affected the final decision. This procedure will review how the application has been handled during the entire evaluation process. It is not an automatic re-evaluation and the judgement of appropriately qualified experts is not called into question.

​A description of working conditions and entitlements of the doctoral programme 

​​​Working environment

The PROMINENT COFUND international PhD program, jointly hosted by the University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen (The Netherlands), offers 16 high level fellowships for a joint program on personalized medicine for outstanding PhD students (Early Stage Researchers). The PROMINENT program aims to empower PhD students to become the next generation of personalized/precision medicine experts, who take a leading position in tackling the challenge of the leading (chronic) diseases world-wide. 

Diabetes is rapidly evolving into the leading disease worldwide. On the long term, even when treated optimally, diabetes leads to severe complications such as cardiovascular diseases and kidney failure. Current therapy approaches insufficiently reverse disease progression which is, at least in part, caused by the large variation in individual response to the treatment. Only a personalised approach will offer a solution for diabetes disease management. Developing a personalised approach is only possible when stakeholders in all societal domains, i.e. the pharmaceutical industry, drug regulatory officers, payers, caregivers, scientists and patients are involved. PROMINENT will contribute to the implementation and optimization of personalized medicine in all of these societal domains.
The most talented and motivated students will be selected for a 4-year advanced multidisciplinary research training, starting September 2018. Selected PhD students will obtain specialist training through cutting-edge research projects, specialist advanced courses and training schools, complemented by workshops on generic research and transferable skills. In addition, PhD students will have the opportunity to go abroad on international secondments at leading places in academia, industry and non-governmental organizations.​​

​​Job description

PROMINENT is focused at setting up a dedicated doctoral training program for 16 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs; PhD students) at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and the University of Groningen (RUG). PROMINENT aims to select the best students to become excellently trained researchers, who can perform high quality research, and who subsequently have a major impact on scientific breakthroughs that foster the European society and economy in this field.​

​Conditions of employment

​The PhD student will be either appointed at the University of Groningen or at the UMCG, depending on the projects appointed at. PhD students preferably start 1 September 2018 ultimately, but not earlier than June 1 2018. The appointment lasts 4 years, which is the standard PhD student period in The Netherlands.​

​Conditions of employment University of Groningen (RUG)

The University of Groningen offers an appointment for a period of four years, which should be concluded during this period with a PhD examination. The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,222 gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2,840 gross per month in the fourth and final year, based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE), excluding a 8% holiday allowance and a 8.3% end-of-the-year bonus. The first year constitutes a probationary period, with an evaluation of the candidate’s performance after 9 months. The objective of this evaluation is to establish whether the candidate will be able to finish a PhD thesis in the remaining three years. If the performance evaluation is positive, the candidate’s contract will be extended by another 3 years, for a total of 4 years.​

Conditions of employment Univeraity Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)

Your salary is € 2.279,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2.919,- gross per month in the last year (PhD scale). In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and a development budget. The terms of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centers (CAO-UMC). 

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. You may be required to build up sufficient protection against Hepatitis B before you can be appointed. Vaccination is provided by the UMCG if necessary.​

​​​An overview of the skills and competences obtained and career prospects after successfully following the doctoral programme

The training mission of PROMINENT is to provide ESRs with the best possible research and professional skills to empower them to become the next generation of European personalised medicine experts, who take a leading position in tackling the challenge of implementing personalised medicine in treatment of chronic diabetes organ failure. This requires:​

  • ​Optimizing employability of ESRs and diversifying their career options to academic and industrial sectors alike;
  • Enhancing their ability to make connections between disciplines and sectors to boost science and innovation;
  • Maximizing their professional competences.

​PROMINENT achieves this through advanced multidisciplinary research training extended with development of dedicated transferable and entrepreneurial skills. PROMINENT ensures that the ESRs will become ethically responsible and enthusiastic ambassadors, adequately disseminating and communicating their research results to the society. All training obtained and research performed during secondments and visits are fully acknowledged towards the requirements of the doctoral degree.
​Future innovations in personalised medicine and diabetes research require the PROMINENT ESRs to be fluent in the jargon of multiple disciplines and sectors. PROMINENT ensures this, as international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral partners, contribute to the training programme and provide secondments. Many additional opportunities for visits and interactions with other sectors ensure that the PROMINENT ESRs will be able to work and communicate in multiple sectors and environments.

​​​​​PROMINENT training school

​Event​Month​Topics​Days​ECTS
​Kick-Off​1​Meet and discuss recruitment, research and training plans
​1​n.a.
​Specialist and project-specific research skills
​Non-research oriented and transferable skills5
​1.5
​Training School 1​13​Theme: Personalised medicine in diabetes practice
Topic: Tools to identify patient response
​Topics: Scientific Integrity, Project Management​5​1.5
​Training School 2​18​Theme: Personalised medicine and regulatory
Topic: Current personalised medicine drug registration experiences in oncology
​Topics: Literature and bibliometric courses, Critical appraisal of Literature​5​1.5
​Training School 3​24​Theme: Personalised medicine and industry
Topics: Models of drug development, cost effectiveness
​Topics: Presentation Skills, Practical data visualisation for scientists​5​1.5
​Training School 4​30​Theme: Personalised medicine and academia
Topic: Mechanisms for response variations
​Topics: Scientific Writing A-Z, Publishing in English​5​1.5
​Midterm Symposium
​30ESRs organise a symposium to present their results and invite keynote speakers
​2​1
​Training School 5​36​Theme: Personalised medicine in diabetes practice
Topic: Medication algorhythms for personalised medicine in practice
​Topics: Teacher training, From lab to television: getting your science out there​5​1.5
​Training School 6
​42​Theme: Personalised medicine and regulatory
Topic: Implementation strategies for personalised medicine in drug registration
​Topic: Entrepreneurship and Valorisation for medical sciences​5​1.5
​Training School 7​48​Theme: Personalised medicine and payers
Topic: How to pay for personalised medicine in diabetes care
​Topic: Career Development and Training​5​1.5
​Training School 8​54​Theme: Personalised medicine and academia
Topic: Future biomarker discovery for drug response variation
Topics: Grant proposal writing, Women in Science​5​1.5
​Final Symposium
​60​ ​ESRs organise a symposium to present their final results and invite keynote speakers
​2​n.a.

​TSC1​Specialist and project-specific research skills: ESRs acquire these skills during their PhD project, in summer schools, and during international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral secondments and visits.
​TSC2​Generic research skills: An important set of these skills is taught by having ESRs write a grant application, which they can use to apply for funding of the next step in their career. Additional network training focuses on e.g. Good research practices, Radiation protection, Statistics, Animal welfare. Training combines personal mentoring, structured program and local training.
​TSC3​Transferable and entrepreneurial skills: An essential set of skills and entrepreneurship is taught by having ESRs compose a realistic business plan for a start-up company. Additional training focuses on topics such as IP, Project and time management, Teaching and Career planning. ESRs receive training through a combination of personal mentoring and structured programme-based and local training.


 ​​Working at the UMCG/RUG and living in the city of Groningen

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