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Empower your PhD project

The aim of the Empower your PhD project (EmPhD) is for Leiden PhD candidates to gain more self-control over their personal and career development.

Dutch postgraduates say that they do not feel adequately prepared for a job within or outside the academic world. And that in a climate where current developments make it increasingly challenging for them to prepare for their future career. To help PhD candidates with their career development, it is important to improve their career competences.  

EmPhD project

Self-reflection, setting goals and entrepreneurship are important career competences for personal development. In the EmPhD project, we examine the effects of an existing self-assessment tool in comparison with interventions where this tool is supported with personal coaching or group intervision among starting PhD students.

The self-evaluation tool is based on the PhD Competence Model that is already in use by other universities and university medical centres. PhD candidates have reported positive experiences with the use of this tool, but its effectiveness in increasing career competences is not yet known.  

Research topic

This project therefore focuses on this research topic and examines whether personal coaching and peer group intervision can enhance the effects of the tool. Once the findings from the study are known, we will advise the university about the use of interventions in this domain.


Our aim is to introduce evidence-based interventions that improve career opportunities for PhD candidates so that they acquire greater self-control over their personal and career development.  

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