Social support

Charter PhD candidate - PhD supervisor

This charter describes the roles and responsibilities of (co)supervisors and PhD candidates. It can be considered a declaration of intent, to be endorsed and implemented by both parties. In addition, it can be used as a tool to discuss mutual expectations, both at the start of the PhD and throughout, with the joint goal of finishing the PhD successfully and within the postulated time period.

Buddy trajectory

Doing a PhD can be fun and hard at the same time. When you start a PhD, it can be hard to find all relevant and useful information by yourself. During a PhD, everyone experiences ups and downs and everyone needs to tackle problems. These problems can be surprisingly similar for different people. Let it be clear: you are all in the same boat.

PhD trajectories also contain lonely moments; some more than others. To prevent psychological distress and mental health issues (which PhD students seem to be more vulnerable to than others), it is good to have someone to fall back on. Everyone needs someone to talk to from time to time. Talking to a more experienced colleague can be especially useful and reassuring.

For these reasons, there is a buddy trajectory for PhD students. Junior buddies are starting PhD students. Senior buddies are PhD students from their second year on.

The buddy trajectory can be whatever you make of it. It can be just one meeting with Q&A with respect to practical issues. But buddies may also talk about what it means to be a PhD student, which difficulties or pitfalls one can be confronted with, professional goals, etc. There are no explicit rules. Respect, confidentiality and professionalism are considered self-evident.

How to get started?

If you are interested in the buddy trajectory (as junior or senior buddy), please note that you can apply here for academic year 2023-2024:

  • If you are a newly enrolled PhD student and you would like to get a senior buddy (and thus be a junior buddy yourself), please complete this form by November 26, 2023.
  • If you are willing to be a senior buddy, please complete this form by November 26, 2023.

What's next?

  • The doctoral schools team will carefully pair junior and senior buddies, taking your preferences into account to the fullest extent possible. You'll receive your buddy's name during the first week of December 2023.
  • The buddy trajectory officially kicks off at the PhD Welcome, on Friday, December 8th with a complimentary lunch at the campus Diepenbeek restaurant from 12:30 onwards (more info will be sent in the first week of December as well). This is your chance to meet your buddy for the first time in person and maybe join the social event PhDrinks (see below) together which is programmed in the afternoon from 15:00 onwards, followed by a networking reception. Don't miss these opportunities to build connections and socialise!
  • At the kick-off event, all buddies will receive a lunch voucher, for a second meeting at one of the university restaurants.
  • Stay tuned for a social activity for buddies organised by the Doctoral Schools in Spring 2024. Details will be sent via email.

Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or need further information, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

We look forward to seeing you thrive in your PhD journey with the support of the buddy trajectory!

Let's build a strong PhD community together!


Doing a PhD is hard work. Serious business. No arguing about that.

But everyone occasionally needs to relax. Also, it's good to know who's in the same boat as you, in order to get some social support in times of stress.

The doctoral schools of UHasselt are here to help you. Yes, we already offer you lots of interesting courses and workshops, but we want to do more. Why not treat you to some drinks?

Starting from academic year 2014-2015, there are two editions of ‘PhDrinks’ each year. 'PhDrinks' is meant to be a social event with an informative touch, organized on Friday afternoons. In a first part, you are provided with some useful information (food for the mind), after which a reception is organized during which you can socialize and get to know each other (food for the soul).

The next edition of PhDrinks will be organised on December 08, 2023.

Past editions:

  1. November 21, 2014 - launch of the project
  2. April 24, 2015 - workshop 'Selling myself during a job interview'
  3. October 23, 2015 - testimonies with respect to international and intersectoral mobility
  4. April 15, 2016 - workshop on networking through social media
  5. December 16, 2016 - interactive lecture 'Your awesome research, explained clearly'
  6. April 21, 2017 - interactive lecture 'Pleasure at work'
  7. May 18, 2018 - interactive lecture 'How to stay sane during your PhD'
  8. Sept 14, 2018 - interactive business theatre 'Not like that, like this... Better networking'
  9. April 26, 2019 - lecture on happiness & happiness at work by the renowned Leo Bormans
  10. November 29, 2019 - interactive lecture ‘Round about, connection when communication jams'
  11. April 30, 2021 - online lecture 'Putting the oxygen mask on yourself first'
  12. April 29, 2022 - interactive theatre 'The mailman always thinks twice'
  13. September 30, 2022 - interactive lecture 'Discover yourself - a journey to discover your true self and the world around you'
  14. December 09, 2022 - talks and testimonials on ‘The added value of internationalisation during and after a PhD'
  15. June 29, 2023 - interactive lecture 'Metaverse applications: blending business and research for new opportunities'

Psychosocial well-being & ombuds service

During a PhD project, numerous difficulties and obstacles may arise. If the smooth progress of the PhD trajectory or the working relationship between the PhD student and the promoter is disturbed, both the PhD student and the promoter can appeal to the ombudsperson for PhD students in an attempt to get the PhD project back on track.

A full overview of the supportive services is available here.