Future of the doctorate

The aim is to explore the future of the doctorate in the Dutch system of higher education and offer options for a robust PhD system.


The PhD system in the Netherlands operates reasonably well according to most experts. Nevertheless, given the growing level of internationalisation and collaboration (especially within Europe), a number of medium- and long-term issues can be identified. The Academy Board has established the ‘Future of the doctorate’ Committee to identify these issues.


Mindful of the differences between disciplines, the Committee will undertake the following tasks:

  • Explore the benchmark (quality level) for the academic degree of ‘doctor’ in the Netherlands. Comparison with the situation abroad is important in this respect.
  • Explore the form and content of PhD tracks in the Dutch system.
    Of importance in this context are such aspects as: differentiation in PhD tracks; preparation of PhD candidates for careers within and outside the system of higher education; international harmonisation of supervision and education of PhD candidates; and European policy regarding talented individuals.
  • Explore other issues related to the doctorate within the Dutch system of higher education.


The Committee will submit a foresight study report (after review) to the Academy Board in the end of March 2016.