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Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology


Currently, the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology (CADS) hosts almost 50 PhD candidates working on a wide variety of topics.

The PhD Regulations (‘promotiereglement’) of Leiden University apply to all PhD candidates registered at the Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. All PhD candidates should be registered at the Graduate School by the beginning of their doctoral training.

The Netherlands School of Anthropology (NESA)

The Netherlands School of Anthropology (NESA) is a graduate programme for PhD candidates who work in the field of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. This programme is a co-creation of the Anthropology faculties of 5 Dutch Faculties. NESA offers a one-year teaching and training programme especially for upcoming and all first year PhD candidates, consisting of 5 masterclasses on current and trending theoretical debates in our discipline, an extensive methodology training and occasionally a cohort meeting off campus.

PhD categories

The Institute of CADS distinguishes between two PhD categories:

  1. Regular – A PhD candidate who is hired by CADS and thus a formal employee. These candidates are paid through ‘eerste geldstroom’ (including those funded by ‘profileringsgebieden’), ‘tweede geldstroom’ (NWO), or ‘derde geldstroom’ (EU).
  2. Contract and External (‘beurspromovendi’ and ‘buitenpromovendi’) – A PhD candidate with a scholarship (for e.g. DIKTI [Indonesia] and CONACYT [Chile]) or self-funded.  

Applying for a PhD

PhD scholarships are not offered outside of faculty research projects. If you intend to pursue a doctorate at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, you can:

  • Reply to an advertised PhD vacancy in a staff project
  • Apply with funding from a self-obtained research grant

This latter category of application is only permitted under certain conditions and subject to case-by-case evaluation by the Institute’s Research Committee. The decision is based, among other criteria, on the feasibility of the funding, quality of the proposed study, qualifications of the applicant, availability of adequate supervision, and relation of the proposed study to the Institute’s expertise.

If you have questions, please send an e-mail to Annemarie Samuels.

Important information

CADS offers regular and bench fee-paying PhD candidates a PhD track. The PhD track includes:   

  • Registration at the FSW Graduate School;
  • FSW (e-mail)account;
  • A workspace at CADS;
  • A LU-Card (for the Library, photocopying and printing);
  • Access to library (also online);
  • Regular (monthly/bimonthly) meetings with (co)supervisor(s);
  • ‘6 months’-meetings with the Director of Graduate Studies;
  • Annual review (Resultaat & Ontwikkelingsgesprek);
  • Access to  
    • research seminars;
    •  staff lunches, institute meetings and annual outing;
    • courses (relevant MA or BA courses);
    • annual/bi-annual PhD seminar organized at CA-DS
  • Administrative support and advice regarding project finances.

The bench fee for PhD candidates amounts to €8,500 a year for a maximum period of four years. Note that the bench fee pays for the PhD track, and therefore cannot be used to pay for research/travel/visa/conference/training costs for the PhD candidate.

The bench fee should be paid every year (for a maximum of four years). The first payment should be made before the start of the PhD programme. A refund of the bench fee—for example in the case of (early) termination of the PhD—is not possible. 

For research/travel/visa/conference/training costs candidates should allocate at least €2500 per year in order to guarantee successful execution of the project.

The Leiden Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences' PhD regulations, an overview of the formal procedure from start to defence, and the relevant forms and templates are available on the Graduate School website.

  • Employment status: Employee
  • PhD Track: Yes
  • Writing of an 8-month-paper, summarizing their results so far. Fieldwork may only start after this paper is approved. 
  • Bench fee: No
  • Teaching: the PhD candidate can spend a maximum of 10% of their 3-5 year appointment on teaching or committee work (e.g. as a member of the ‘Instituutsraad’ or ‘onderzoekscommissie’).  Teaching time will be officially considered teacher training. Additionally, the candidate may participate in a maximum of two ICLON teacher-training/ University Teaching Qualification (BKO) courses (paid for by the Institute). While teaching experience and training courses may contribute to a BKO portfolio, they will probably be insufficient for qualification.

Candidates following a PhD track

  • Employment status: Guest employee
  • Legal status: depends on the contract
  • PhD Track: Yes
  • Writing of an 8-month-paper, summarizing their results so far. Fieldwork may only start after this paper is approved. 
  • Bench Fee: Yes
    Note that some contract PhDs (e.g. DIKTI) have already set bench fees based on previously determined contract/agreements with the fund provider and Leiden University. In these cases, the bench fee/tuition fee that has been agreed upon will be binding
  • Teaching: by mutual agreement the candidate may  give one or more guest lectures in a BSc or MSc course or a research seminar, but cannot receive any compensation for this. For non-EU PhD candidates, restrictions in permits may apply. Participating in the course University Teaching Qualification (BKO) is an option, but will have to be paid for by the candidate or the fund provider.

Candidates not following a PhD track

  • Employment status: Guest employee
  • Legal status: depends on individual arrangement, usually none
  • PhD Track: No
  • Bench Fee: No
  • Teaching: No

Note that the supervision for a PhD candidate who does not follow a PhD track will be significantly less intensive.

Supervision and social safety of PhDs at our Institute

Revised: December 2022

(complementing the CADS PhD Training and Supervision Protocol of March 2020, the Leiden University PhD regulations of 2021 and the Golden Rules of PhD supervision)

This document was drafted together by the CADS Institute Board, its Institute Council and representatives of the CADS PhD community, in response to concerns that were first raised among the latter.  Concerned PhD students emphasized that our institute has a wide range of PhDs with different positions, in terms of funding and institutional position, but also based on their passports, the academic culture they have come to expect etc. An overall conclusion was that some of the existent measures work for some of these PhDs and not for others, and that we need a variety of measures to strengthen the position of PhDs in the Institute and increase mechanisms that ensure their social safety.

After an open and constructive conversation, regarding recurring problems experienced within the PhD trajectory, and suggestions for improvement we decided to collectively formulate the following guidelines, that again, complement the guidelines in the documents already mentioned above:

  1. Graduate Mentor
  • Per September 2022 the Institute CADS has instated a Graduate Mentor (GM) who will pay special attention to the work life, progress and wellbeing of PhD students.
  • The graduate mentor will regularly check in with them, at least once a year, with all PhD students who are in their contract period. The role of the Graduate Mentor applies specifically to contract PhDs (both those on NWO, ERC or other funded projects, or those here with a scholarship from abroad), but also external PhDs and PhDs whose contract ended) are welcome to approach the Graduate Mentor for a talk.
  • The Director of Research (DirRes) keeps annually contact through email with PhD students who fall outside this regimen (e.g., external PhD students or those beyond their contract years), asking them to provide an overview of where their project is standing but also about the challenges and hindrances they may be experiencing. This is necessary as especially the external PhD students may already be less ‘visible’ and ‘vocal’, so this contact, at least once a year, should help keep track of their safety and well-being
  • The GM (not the Institute manager as in other cases) is present at the Performance and Development Interview of the PhD, including the startup meeting. As soon as PhD students get an invitation for a P&D interview, they contact GM to see if she can be present during and beforehand discuss that Interview. This, to ensure that these are evaluative conversations about the past year and future plans, as well as the working relation between supervisor and supervisee, rather than another supervision meeting (see also below).
  • The annual GM/PhD meeting and Performance and Development Interview should be sequenced after one another. In that way the GM can be fully updated and coach the PhD for the Performance and Development Interview. In the Performance and Development Interview GM will be a neutral witness. In case the situation is difficult, the GM can advise the PhD on strategy of next steps, and e.g. help with writing a letter to IC. The GM has no position to sanction anyone, not the PhD nor the supervisor. Any attempts to intervene in the supervision and PhD trajectory should come from the IB.
  • the Graduate Mentor follows the PhDs, but does not monitor the PhDs (e.g. not: “your 8th month paper is due next week”), PhDs and their supervisors are expected to take a lead here.
  • All PhD students can approach the GM for advice regarding their trajectory. The Graduate Mentor does not have mandate; Graduate Mentor can talk with supervisors, but the mandate lies with the Institute Board.
  • The graduate mentor can also advise supervisors, both during supervisor peer discussion sessions (intervisie) and on a more individual basis, to improve supervision and prevent frictions and misunderstandings of escalating into conflict or dysfunctional working relations. The (co)promotoren overleg is the best setting to put structural aspects of supervision on the agenda. For specific topics GM can chair the meeting.
  • The graduate mentor has an exit meeting with supervisor and PhD student. In case the official employment of a PhD Student ends before the actual thesis is finished, expectations about the continuation of supervision will be discussed during this exit meeting. A perspective of closure is key to think long-term career strategies and to keep calm and confident. If the PhD contract is ended, laptop, mobile and office keys need to be returned as they are formally property from Leiden University, not CADS. Candidate can now apply for a guest / affiliated researcher account, still make use of office space and borrow one of the CADS laptops during office hours.
  1. Supervision team
  • The CADS PhD training protocol includes a requirement for each PhD to have a second supervisor. This is formally the case, but it is important to ensure that that second supervisor is factually involved, and has complementary expertise to that of the PhD. Ideally, the supervision team consists of a senior and relatively junior member of staff.
  • Where possible, the second supervisor is chosen in dialogue with the PhD candidate. The first month can be used to explore possibilities, before the Training and Supervision Plan (TSP or OBP in Dutch) is uploaded.
  • Before the start of a research project or PhD trajectory, DirRes discusses the proposed supervisory arrangements with prospective supervisor, including the composition of the supervision team, to ensure that the requirements are met, and more generally, that they can expect to have favorable working conditions and will be sufficiently integrated into the institute.
  • DirRes and Institute Manager (IM) help ensure comparable working conditions over the various projects, and that these conditions meet the parameters of employees in our Institute.
  1. Startup meeting
  • Supervisors should ensure they are informed about the CADS and other relevant PhD training regulations (see at the top of this document). At the start of a PhD trajectory, they are expected to have a conversation with each PhD to discuss these regulations, as well as, more generally, the parameters of their working relation. This includes rights to holidays, health arrangements, agreements regarding budget and expenses, meeting in person/working remotely, working rhythms (including the prevention of systematic over-work), number of tasks and time pressure.
  • These agreements are part of and set down in the TSP (see chapter 2 of the PhD Regulations), and should be revisited on a yearly basis in the annual Performance & Development Interview.
  • The TSP is not just a paper tiger, it is about expectation management, aims to protect the PhD students and provides a road map for supervisors to use when they are at the start of a collaboration with a PhD. Hence the TSP needs to be approved by the scientific director of the Institute.
  • It would be good to develop a topic list or protocol that supervisors can use for this meeting. We can draw on the existing Golden Rules for PhD Supervision document. In the Bring your thesis seminar PhDs students will regularly (also for newcomers to the community) discuss this list, and add suggestions. These suggestions will then be sent to the Director of Research who will discuss it with the Supervisors and adjust a local CADS version of the Golden Rules accordingly.
  1. Yearly Performance & Development Interview (ROG)

The Performance & Development Interview (RO Gesprek, in Dutch, or ROG) should be a moment where PhD and supervisor can discuss both the student’s progress and work experiences, look forward to the coming year(s) and discuss their work relation. The latter is difficult in light of the hierarchical and dependency relation of that relation, which means this has to be explicitly facilitated.

In order to do so, we propose the following:

  • Include explicit questions about the working relation between PhD and supervisor in the yearly overview form for PhDs (such as: what do you like about the relation, what can be improved? How often do you meet, and is this a good rhythm for you? Does the type and form of feedback you receive from your supervisors work well for you? If not, what could be improved etc.). The IC has meanwhile come up with a proposal for a new format in Fall 2022.
  • Have the Graduate Mentor sit in on the P&D Interview, and invite PhDs to consult with them beforehand to prepare for their Performance & Development Interview. This consult is part of the annual P&D Interview.
  • Contract PhD’s and buitenpromovendi don’t have a yearly P&D Interview. The Graduate Mentor will, however, have a yearly meeting with the contract PhD’s.  The Director of Research will similarly keep in touch with the buitenpromovendi on an yearly basis.
  1. Supervisory skills and roles
  • Supervisors are required to take a course on PhD supervision; this includes courses for first-time co-promotors, and possibly refresher courses for more experienced ones.
  • Supervisors are invited to the regular (co)promotoren overleg is (intervisie) organized by the Director of Research, where they exchange experiences and discuss conundrums that are part of PhD supervision. This can be among PI’s of larger projects, but also can encompass all PhD supervisors, depending on the topic at hand. The graduate mentor can provide input for and be an important interlocutor in these meetings.

Important discussion topics: balance between project requirements and space for PhD’s own choices, development and insights; how best to deal with budget in transparent manner within project teams; what can supervisors/PI’s do to ensure the successful integration of new PhDs in the Institute?

  • Supervision should be an important aspect of the promotor’s ROG. The graduate mentor is asked for input in this regard.
  • Bureaucratic processes and their consequences on the PhD trajectory (e.g. with regard to visa, housing) can be a challenge. Supervisors, however, do not have a responsibility in these matters which are more efficiently handled by other bodies such as the International Office.
  • Oftentimes PhDs would like to integrate career discussions, incl. those that address careers outside of the institute, more into the supervisory process of the PhD trajectory.  Although some supervisors may give good advice and it does not do harm to ask, these are typical issues that are best discussed during the Bring Your Thesis seminar.
  1. Complaints

In case of problems in the supervisory relation that PhD students feel they cannot discuss with their supervisors, they can:

  • Consult with the Graduate Mentor. The GM can provide advise on how to open up a conversation on this, or can play a mediating role with the supervisor in question.
  • In more complex and fraught cases, the graduate mentor can confer with the SD and/or advise the student to write an email to the SD explaining the situation. Depending on the nature of the complaints, there will be follow up advice on next steps. The SD may discuss the problem with the various people involved, in an attempt to mediate and find a solution. The advice may also entail the recommendation to consult with the confidential counselor of the Faculty/Leiden University or a referral to the official complaint procedure of Leiden University.
  1. Clusters

Research clusters play an important role in providing a safe space for learning and intellectual exchange, and ensure that PhD students have connections and a space to share their work with junior and senior staff beyond their specific project and/or supervisor. In order to ensure this works well, we propose that:

  • Every PhD becomes a member of a research cluster.
  • Cluster coordination is done by a team of one permanent faculty members and a senior PhD student.
  • The PhD who co-coordinates a research cluster should have the status of employee within the contract time. Other PhDs can take on a role as cluster co-coordinator too, if they want to, however the institute should not expect it from e.g., external PhDs or PhDs who are beyond their contract period.
  • PhD supervisors should make sure they do not reproduce that supervisory relation in the research cluster. Cluster coordinators and the graduate mentor can help ensure this. 
  • The coordinators also ensure that new members “land” well in the cluster.
  1. PhD community

There are several initiatives for collective and self-care within the PhD community which have already proven important with respect to social safety and PhD wellbeing, especially the first hour of the BYT seminar. The PhDs will take up the idea of PhD mentorship in which a more senior PhD mentors an incoming PhD. The PhDs are investigating the status of the ‘buddy system’ that we initiated. For starters, the PhD representative sent a message to all PhDs to send her an email if they want to be coupled to a PhD mentor. Support that would help this initiative further. When a PhD starts, it would be great if the supervisor or GM could connect the new PhD to the PhD representative who has an overview of the current PhD mentors.

This document is formal living document that twice a year will be evaluated, once at the first Bring Your Thesis seminar of the academic year, and another time in the 1st regular (co)promotoren overleg of the academic year.

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