In case of a conflict between a PhD researcher and a supervisor/individual PhD commission, the following steps can be taken:

  1. A dialogue between the PhD researcher and the supervisor is the starting point;
  2. If the relationship between the PhD researcher and the supervisor is disturbed, anyone involved can inform the chair of the individual PhD commission (IPC) and ask to convene the IPC. The IPC will help to solve potential misunderstandings, mediate between the persons concerned and help to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties;
  3. In case of problems, the PhD researcher can always be assisted by the faculty ombudspersons for PhD researchers. Every faculty and research institute has at least one faculty ombudsperson for PhD researchers. Here you can find the list with all faculty ombudspersons for PhD researchers (behind UAntwerp login, staff or student). The faculty ombudspersons are a first point of contact for all PhD researchers who during the course of their PhD experience problems in relation to the PhD procedure, in case of disputes with their supervisor and/or IPC, or problems for which they cannot turn to their supervisor or IPC. The ombudspersons act as an impartial third party who listens, gives advice, and only at the request of and in consultation with the PhD researchers, mediates between the parties involved and helps to seek a solution that is acceptable to all concerned. For cases of transgressive behaviour at work and for interpersonal problems, PhD researchers can turn to the confidential counsellors of UAntwerp or to Mensura’s prevention advisors for psychosocial aspects (PAPSY). The PhD researcher preferably contacts the ombudsperson of their own faculty or institute, but can if desired also turn to an ombudsperson of another faculty or institute. The ombudspersons and all persons involved in the mediation procedure are bound to discretion, and agree in advance with the PhD researchers what can be shared and with whom. The ombudsperson can also assist when a PhD researcher wants to submit an appeal against a decision of the IPC or doctoral jury, when a PhD researcher believes that the decision represents a violation of their rights;
  4. Finally, the PhD researcher can always be assisted by the central ombudsperson (Luc Van de Poele) or the deputy central ombudsperson (Marleen Eyckmans), who will further mediate when no solution can be found within the department or the faculty. Marleen Eyckmans is the main contact for PhD researchers. The ombudsperson will treat any complaint with discretion.