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OMBUDS SERVICE

UHasselt PhD ombuds service

During a doctoral project various difficulties and stumbling blocks may be encountered. If the smooth course of a PhD trajectory or the collaboration between PhD student and promoter is disturbed, the PhD student can contact the ombuds person for PhD students in an attempt to get the PhD project back on track.

This ombuds person is intended as an approachable mediator, whose role it is to identify problems relating to the working relationship and the PhD procedure, that may impair the smooth course of the PhD, and to address and remediate them where possible.

During an initial meeting with the doctoral student, the ombuds person will try to determine what is causing the problem (are the PhD regulations being followed, is there a problem with guidance or a lack of expertise, is there a relational obstacle, …?) and will consider what the doctoral student or promoter can do to change the situation. It should be emphasised that the ombuds person will always keep pace with and respect the wishes of the doctoral student. For example, the ombuds person will never contact the promoter or arrange a meeting without the express permission of the doctoral student.
 
A final piece of advice: it is better not to leave problems for too long before contacting the ombuds person. An early meeting can sometimes get the project back on track. And every now and then a good talk with a neutral person may be all that's needed to get started again. 
 
The Hasselt University ombuds person for PhD students can be contacted via PhD-Ombuds@uhasselt.be .