Tenure track in the Netherlands

By popular demand, today’s post is about my tenure track position which I started 3 years ago. Although I intended to give an update of how my tenure track is going, there’s a bit of background that’s relevant to share, so this post is only about my experiences when I started. Also, recently I’ve had a few questions from future tenure trackers, so I’m sharing my answers in case it is useful to others.

Starting conditions

As I’ve also explained in my “student or employee during your PhD” post, all academic positions in the Netherlands work with fixed pay scales. You can find these here, below I also added a screenshot of some of the scales.

These numbers are all before tax and per month. Various secondary benefits also apply.

Assistant professor positions are in scale 11 or 12. Typically a starting assistant professor would be in scale 11, and in scale 12 after tenure. The Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH) reports that 50.8% of women assistant professors are in scale 11, versus 40.8% of men.  

When I started at TUe, I was initially offered scale 11.0. However, I had already been in scale 11 as a postdoc, and my institution was a medical center, with slightly higher pay scales. Due to this I was offered 11.3, which just matched my previous salary, and which I accepted.   

There was no start-up package – I think this in general isn’t a thing in the Netherlands, although I do see this being offered more frequently now.

Contract & tenure conditions

The tenure track contract is a temporary contract for 5 years. After 4 years there is an evaluation which decides whether you get tenure or not. If yes, you get permanent contract, if not, you are still employed for a year. There is also a (less formal) midway evaluation after about 2 years, to prepare for the real thing.

The criteria for evaluation are described in various documents. I received some general criteria on what is important for the university (for example “supervising students”), and a department-specific interpretation of these criteria. In the context of creating a personal development plan for the tenure track period, I did receive some quantifiable criteria too, of what you should aim for within 4 years:

  • Significant progress in obtaining the teaching qualification certificate
  • Responsible instructor for 1-2 courses
  • Good teaching evaluations
  • Supervision of at least 2 MSc and 4 BSc students
  • Co-author of at least 5 peer-reviewed publications in high impact, relevant journals
  • Written statement from chair about contribution to getting funding
  • Significant progress in increasing external visibility
  • Collaborations with other departments, hospitals or industry
  • Successful (co-) supervision of multiple PhD researchers
  • Examples of strong leadership
  • Examples of strong communication skills
  • Examples of independence and responsibility

A bit more quantifiable, but still open to interpretation. In my own personal development plan I translated these as follows:

  • Get teaching certificate
  • Setup and teach a first year course, co-teach in a third year course, later start developing course closer to my research
  • Supervise at least 2 MSc and 4 BSc students
  • Co-author of at least 5 peer-reviewed publications in high impact, relevant journals
  • Apply for 2 medium-sized (1 PhD or postdoc) grants per year
  • Apply to small grants, for example for workshops, when possible
  • Give talks at (local) conferences, or invited talks if possible
  • Setup collaborations with other departments 
  • Co-supervise a PhD researcher (if funding)
  • Outreach about academia through blog and Twitter 

Also not entirely quantifiable, but I also left out a few specific details here (examples of papers, collaborations, numbers of blog/Twitter followers etc).

The (midway) tenure evaluation moments consist of submitting an update of this plan and a recent CV, and then giving a presentation about your achievements to a committee of 3-4 professors.  

This is all I wanted to share for the first part of this topic – next time I’ll talk about how things are going so far. If you have any questions about this post, or anything I can address next time, please comment below!

How to find medical imaging companies (in the Netherlands)

A slightly different type of post today! Inspired by Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega, who writes many of his amazing blog posts for his students, I decided to write about a question that has already come up a few times, and will probably come up again. The question is – where can I find companies who do (medical) image analysis (in the Netherlands)? This is important for students looking for internships, graduation projects, and jobs.

In this post I outline my search strategies to find such companies – especially small ones, which are difficult to find otherwise. These strategies might be useful to you even if you are searching for companies in other fields or countries.  The strategies are based on searching online, so they don’t assume you already have a network of people to rely on.

1. Who is advertising for jobs

The most straightforward way is to search for keywords on LinkedIn. If I search for “medical imaging” in the Netherlands, I get a lot of vacancies at Philips and a few at research institutions. There are also several vacancies which do not have a connection to medical imaging.

My intuition is that this type of search would overlook companies that do not have a specific vacancy, but would welcome open applications from people with the right qualifications. The same holds for internships – often these are not advertised on any website, but there might be opportunities if you contact a company directly.

2. Where are alumni working

The next place I’m going to look, is where alumni of biomedical engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) are working. Here is a LinkedIn page with alumni of TU/e.  I cannot filter by faculty here, but I can enter search terms related to the names of the programs offered, for example, “biomedical”. I can also filter for alumni living in the Netherlands, and filter by date to filter out any current students.

Now I just click on a lot of profiles, if the description suggests the person is working in a company, and screening the companies for doing (medical) imaging. This is quite a time-intensive process. There are many companies that hire biomedical engineering graduates, but that do not focus on imaging. But I did find many more examples than with the first strategy:

3. Who is sponsoring the conferences

Moving away from LinkedIn, a way that helped me discover several companies, is through sponsoring at academic conferences. The first step is to find out what the main conferences are, either from reading papers or searching online. For medical imaging I’m going to look at MICCAI, which has been running for 21 years, but also a a new conference MIDL, which is held this year in Amsterdam.

Now simply search for a “Sponsors” page and you are good to go! Some conferences (or rather, professional societies that organize the conference) also have a dedicated job page, for example the MICCAI job board. Here are the results from the sponsor pages (not limited to the Netherlands):

 

4. Who tweets about it

Of course this post would not be complete without Twitter! First I’m going to try searching for keywords, starting with “medical imaging”. If I then click on the tab “People”, I see accounts who have “medical imaging” in their bio. This list already includes several companies, for example:

Another strategy would be to look at the who follows medical imaging researchers and companies. The trick is to find an account with not too few, but also not too many followers. In this example I will look at who follows Quantib, a company based in the Netherlands. From the list of followers, I find the following:

These accounts should also give you some ideas of what other keywords or hashtags to search for.

I hope this was useful! Happy internship / job searching, and please comment below if you have other tips!

Writing a PhD thesis in the Netherlands

This post summarizes the process I went through to write and publish my thesis in 2015 at the Delft University of Technology. From what I understand, my experience is representative for computer science and other technical PhDs in the Netherlands. I am not sure how things generalize beyond that.

PhD by publication

In my department it was standard to do a “PhD by publication”. Although you do have a formal thesis in the end, the goal is to publish four first-author journal papers in the four years of your employment. These papers would go “as is” as four chapters into your thesis, and you would add two general introduction and discussion sections to complete it. You could of course also add other chapters if you have more papers or want to add unpublished material.

Different groups have different guidelines on what counts as “publishing a journal paper”. Peer-reviewed conference papers, or papers that you have submitted and are under review at a journal, could also count. My “thesis” was approved when I had 2 accepted journal papers (but, one of these was a second-author paper), 2 journal papers for which I had submitted major revisions, and 1 conference paper that was under review. I write “thesis”, because at the time of approval I didn’t have a single document called “thesis.pdf”, but an outline of which papers would become chapters, and their status of acceptance.

 

Writing

I think that when I started my PhD, I was aware of the PhD by publication, but I thought I would write a “real” manuscript to satisfy the perfectionist within me. But I changed my mind when I realized that’s the only result I would accomplish – my PhD would count just as little or just as much. Since I spent the last year of my PhD revising papers, I was quite happy to choose the easier (but just as effective) option.

There was not a lot of writing to do – only a general introduction and discussion chapters. I got started about 9 months before my contract ended, but I definitely didn’t work on my thesis full-time. I do think it was good to start early, because it gave me some time to digest what I’ve done in the years before and gain new insights. Perhaps that is a disadvantage of a PhD by publication, because it does not “as naturally” lead to taking a step back, as I would imagine you need to do if you have to write an entire manuscript.

I also appreciated having the 9 months to write my propositions, which I defended together with the thesis – see my earlier post about this.

Next to writing two chapters and propositions, I just put together the papers I had into a single LateX project/template. I spent a few hours battling with incompatible packages, but after it compiled, it was amazing to suddenly see all my papers form 100 or so pages of thesis.pdf.

 

Approval

After getting thesis.pdf approved by my supervisors and the plagiarism check of the university, it could be sent to my thesis committee and I could plan a defense date. I believe this happened around January 2015, and my defense was scheduled for June 2015. I’m a bit foggy on the details on this, but I think at this point it is assumed that you will in fact successfully defend your thesis.

In the time in between, you could get comments from your committee on possible revisions, and when enough committee members approve, you can go ahead and print your thesis. In my case, two committee members had suggestions for revisions. One committee member suggested a few points for the discussion, but also said that the thesis was approved regardless of whether I had time to implement them. The other commitee member essentially wanted a “major revision”. But, this committee member responded way after the deadline, so since all the other committee members had approved, I had already printed my thesis. Talk about a scare though…

 

Publishing

Before the defense, you have to publish/print your thesis. There are several companies that specialize in this, and you get a bit of budget from the unversity to do the printing. The main things you need is a thesis.pdf that is formatted correctly (not a problem since my latex template already took care of that) and a cover.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about my cover – since I wasn’t working on a specific application, it was difficult to come up with something that would illustrate my topic. Once I had the concept in mind, my friend Hella Hekkelman made the illustration for me – I’m still very happy about it:

Here is it in action:

 

To see more examples of cover design, check out another friend Carolyn’s post how she designed her own cover.

With the thesis and cover, I ordered about 120 copies of my thesis from the publisher. This is a a relatively normal number, since you give copies to people from your department or in your field. I have even heard of people printing 300 or more! But, everybody advised me not print too many, so I got exactly the amount that the university budget would cover. In retrospect, I wish I would have invested a bit more into it, because a year after my defense, I had already ran out of copies.

***

Update April 2019: If you have cats on your PhD cover, definitely order more! Proefschriftmaken.nl was kind enough to give me a discount, and I just ordered 30 more books! 

 

On being an employee vs a student during your PhD

This is probably my most retweeted tweet to date. Since this seemed surprising to many people, I thought I’d explain a bit more about what this means.  [Disclaimer: most numbers are estimates based on my sample size of 1 – if you have more detailed / up to date information, please leave a comment!]

Salary

First of all, being an employee means that you get a salary. As an example, let’s take a look at some PhD vacancies in the Netherlands. Many of these can be found on AcademicTransfer. Here are two positions in the group I’m currently working in.

At the bottom you will see “Gross monthly salaries are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO NU), increasing from € 2191 per month initially, to € 2801 in the fourth year.

You might think the salary is there because it’s a STEM PhD, or because of the PI. Well, here are two positions in different fields and different universities – investigating why Dutch people are so tall and how people communicate positive emotions. Both mention exactly the same numbers! This is because of the labour agreement, which defines the salary, and a number of other benefits (more on this later).

[Note: at the time you are reading this, these exact vacancies might be closed, but you can find other similar positions on AcademicTransfer].

Expenses

Of course, the salary doesn´t say much if you are from a place where the cost of living a different. First, there are taxes. The actual salary you get depends on a number of things, like your savings, whether you rent or own a house (yes, this is possible during your PhD) etc. To give an indication, in 2011 my 1st year PhD after-tax salary was around 1400 EUR, and in 2014 my 4th year PhD salary was around 1900 EUR per month.

The biggest cost is where you live. This varies between the Dutch cities, with Amsterdam being the most expensive one. Delft, where I did my PhD, is a bit on the expensive side as well, but it’s doable. Even if you don’t search too long for a great deal, you could rent a room in a shared apartment for starting at 400-500 EUR or so, or rent your own apartment starting at 800 EUR. As an example, I was first paying 600 EUR (of a 1200 EUR house) and later I was renting a two-bedroom apartment for 750 EUR. You can get an idea of prices and how much space you get in return here.

Other big costs are food (200 EUR), utilities (100 EUR), health insurance (100 EUR), internet/phone (50 EUR), municipality taxes (50 EUR).  You can find much more precise estimates of everything online, such as food. Based on these main expenses, even my past self in 2011, had at least 1400 – (600+200+100+100+50+50) = 300 EUR to save or to spend. Not a “pot of gold”, but definitely enough not to have to budget every expense.

Not part of expenses

Yes, tuition is not on the list of expenses – it does not exist at PhD level. You do follow a couple of courses, but these are paid by the employer.

Also not on the list of expenses are conferences. The general rule of thumb (although this is likely to differ between fields) is that you can go to at least one conference a year, especially if you published a paper there. The registration, travel, hotel, dinner and even the 1-2 glasses of wine you had with dinner are reimbursed.

Paying off student debt is not on my list, either. This is mainly because tuition is low (less than 2K a year) and students (bachelor’s and master’s) used to receive a stipend.  With a part-time job, I didn’t need a loan. This is not the case for everyone, but on average, the debt is 15K, and it’s expected to go up to 21K because the stipend no longer exists. According to the tax office, the average case translates to payments of less than EUR 100 per month.

Benefits

Next to salary, the labour agreement (friendly English language version) takes care of a number of other benefits that make life easier. First, you have 29 vacation days per year if you work full-time (=38 hours per week). That’s more than 5 weeks of vacation. I’ve never gone on vacation for that long, but I do use vacation days here and there for a day trip, or just to relax after a busy period.

If you are ill or if you are having a baby, you don’t need to use your vacation days – you just get your full salary for up to 39 weeks of illness and 16 weeks maternity leave (fathers only get a few days off, though).

You also automatically build up pension. I have to admit I’ve never really looked into this, because I didn’t feel like there is a reason to worry. While writing this post, I actually looked at my pension account, and discovered that so far, I’ve built up a pension of 220 EUR per month, and I keep working a full-time job, this will grow to 1900 EUR a month when I retire. This is on top of the basic pension (1000 EUR) from the government.

How you see your PhD

Next to the financial side, I feel like the fact that you are employee affects the way you see your PhD. First of all, you are getting paid for becoming an expert at a topic. This is pretty awesome in itself, but it’s also helpful for your self-esteem, even though it doesn’t erase impostor feelings completely.

You and your PI are both employees of the university, with similar employment conditions. Sure, he or she has more responsibilities and more salary, but you have the same rights in terms of leave. You don’t need to negotiate whether you are “allowed” to stay home when you are ill, or if you need to visit a doctor. Of course you should inform the PI, but there cannot be negative consequences of you taking care of yourself.

After 4 years, your contract ends, and you don’t get paid anymore. As a result, people try to finish their PhD on time, and find their next job. Or, since finishing on time is difficult, just find their next job, and plan to finish the PhD later. But the emphasis is that the PhD is a job and it’s normal to move on afterwards.
 

Life

 All of this helps with what happens outside of your PhD. You just have less things to worry about, so you can concentrate more on the things that are important to you.  You can travel, buy a house, or start a family. Maybe not all at the same time, but the point is, you don’t have to put your life on hold for research.  Hopefully, this translates to a healthier and happier you, and better research as a result.

Defending propositions: where to find inspiration

Colorful trees in autumn in Japan.

This is the fifth post in the propositions series. If you don’t know what I mean by “defending propositions”, you can read the introduction here.

Now that I’ve discussed a few of my propositions (here, here and here), I thought I’d share a bit more about the process of generating ideas for propositions, and give some advice on how to make this process a bit less painful.

Write ALL your ideas down in ONE place

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s very important piece of advice that will make your life easier. I say ALL ideas because the moment you think “could this be something for a proposition?”, you need to capture it. Even if you seconds later realize that probably it’s not, it might give you ideas later in the future. I say ONE place because I kept my ideas in a LateX document, which meant that the writing down only happened when I was using my computer. Of course I made occasional notes on my phone, on a paper I was reading, on beer mats… In many cases I probably forgot that the idea was there. If I had to do it all over again, I would use an app like Evernote.

Find examples

Learning is easier with labelled training data. Find examples of propositions that have been already defended. Unfortunately, like PhD theses, the propositions do not get uploaded to the university library, so they are a bit more difficult to find. A few places to start are:

  • Offices of more senior academics. They accumulate a lot of PhD theses, which, if you are lucky, still contain the loose piece of paper with propositions on them.
  • Blog posts. The best way to start is to look at Project #TweetProp, started by Felienne Hermans. This was continued by a few others, who Eva Langsoght writes about in in this post.
  • Collections of propositions. There are two books (both in Dutch) that I know of: Beste stellingen zijn van hout Paard van Damocles. Although the first book appears to be in stock, I wasn’t able to order it back in 2014, so my guess is that it will be even more difficult now. I did manage to find a copy at the university library though.

Join Twitter

I regret not doing this during my PhD, as Twitter now daily gives me lots of ideas, but it’s never too late to start. You don’t even need to post anything. Just get an account, see who is talking about, for example, #PhDChat, #AcademicSelfcare, #AcademicKindness and follow accounts which shared something you strongly agreed or disagreed with. Soon your timeline will be filled with lots of articles, opinions, memes… you name it!

Think back

Think about advice you received from others, whether it’s in a conversation, email, or maybe a talk you listened to or a book you read (and yes, write it all down). One way to start is to think of a book you liked (it doesn’t need to be advice books, any fiction or non-fiction book will do) and to search for quotes from it on Goodreads. I was really inspired by quotes from Anathem, a fiction novel where one of the major themes is philosophy of science. Since I’m giving advice here anyway, I think reading Anathem might belong to my top 10 “things to do during your PhD” advice.

Get frustrated

Find an (academic) friend, get a coffee or a beer, and talk about all the things that frustrate you. People who only treat you well if they want something from you? Researchers that don’t share their data or code? Reviewers that reject your paper because you reported, you know, ALL the results and not only the best ones? Write them down. Then imagine a utopia in which you can decide how everything in academia gets done. Write that down too.

Relax

Don’t think too hard. Let your mind relax, and it will surprise you when you least expect it (or probably, in the shower).

Defending propositions: curiosity and cats



This is the fourth post in the propositions series. If you don’t know what I mean by “defending propositions”, you can read the introduction here.

The proposition

Today I want to talk a bit my last – and my favorite, proposition:

Lack of curiosity killed the cat

The timeline of my propositions shows I only came up with this one at the last moment. After revising the propositions several times, I was a bit stuck, yet I still needed fresh propositions. To get out of my local minimum, I tried changing up my sources of inspiration. Before I relied mainly on my own notes and examples of others’ propositions. My new strategy was to search for articles on topics like “qualities of a good scientist” in hopes this would trigger new ideas. And it did!

I’m sad to say I no longer can find the original article, but one of the qualities it listed was curiosity. I proceeded to have several lightbulb moments as I was attributing behaviors of different people to (lack of) curiosity. But I knew that a statement like “Curiosity is an essential part of doing research” would not cut it, so I had to dig deeper.

I then thought about the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat”, which implies that curiosity is a negative quality. Wikipedia told me that the entire saying is, in fact, “Curiosity killed the cat, but the satisfaction brought it back”. A bit better, but still not very positive. I then did a Google Scholar search on “curiosity” and “cats”, and, lo and behold, found this 1966 (still paywalled!) paper:

In this study, the researchers compared how “curious” different animal groups were. The researchers placed unknown objects in the animals’ habitats and measured how much the animals interacted with the objects, for example by sniffing them. The responses were the highest for primates and carnivores, which included wild cats. The paper then discusses how animals adapt to their environment, for example if their usual food source runs out. Curiosity – considering whether an unknown object could be an alternative food source – could then make the difference between survival or extinction of a species. It is therefore,

Lack of curiosity killed the cat.

My cat Buffy: "Is this food for me?"
My cat Buffy: “Is this food for me?”

 

Defense

To top it off, this proposition helped me have an awesome PhD defense / viva. The first question asked to me by one of my opponents was to explain the proposition. That was great, because I had prepared a slide with figures from “Curiosity in Zoo Animals” in advance. As I started talking, I felt my confidence growing, and it didn’t go away for the rest of the defense, after which I could call myself Dr. 🙂

Defending propositions: an index for reviewers

This is the third post in the propositions series. If you don’t know what I mean by “defending propositions”, you can read the introduction here.

The proposition

I recently wrote about reviewing papers for the first time, and how happy I was when I recently discovered Publons. Publons lets you track your reviewing, essentially making visible all the effort you put into it. Here is an example of a statistic I’ve extracted from my profile:

Example statistic from publons.com
Example statistic from publons.com

This idea resonated with me because of a proposition I defended a year before, and that I will discuss today.

Introducing an r-index for reviewers as a counterpart of the h-index for authors would lead to more, better and timelier reviews.

Supply vs demand

During my PhD I noticed that the supply vs demand for publications was very different than that for reviews. For publications, supply was clearly higher than the demand: many papers would get rejected, and even if accepted, some papers would never be cited. For reviews, however, the story seemed to be the opposite! It could take months to receive reviews for your paper. And when you would finally get the reviews, regardless of the decision, a few would be very short and uninformative.

I wondered whether this discrepancy could be a result of the reward system. A new publication is rewarded by your name on the paper, by citations, and perhaps even increased chances of getting a position. A new review is – to the outside world – at most a line on your CV. Reviewing is something that is expected to be there, but I doubt it has ever been a deciding factor in a hiring decision. Combine that with well-meant advice from colleagues, “say no to everything, just focus on your publications!”, and you’ve got a supply vs demand problem.

Metrics

The h-index is meant to measure the productivity of a researcher. Although it has flaws, it is being used — consciously or perhaps subconsciously — to evaluate quality. As a result, it is something researchers can try to optimize for. And for a higher h-index, you need start with getting more publications. Do you already see where the supply is coming from?

What if there was something similar for reviewing papers? If such a – yet to be defined – reviewer index became an important metric, more people would want to review papers and submit their reviews on time, just as they do with papers.

Quality is a bit more difficult. One way to do this is a system where reviews could be seen and discussed by others. This doesn’t mean that the reviewers’ identity needs to be revealed. See for example the reviewing process of ICLR.

Or maybe we can step away from reviews altogether, as Ludmila Kuncheva proposes
here. (The post also features one of my favorite stories about publishing before the internet). Reviews would simply be replaced by citations. Then maybe we wouldn’t need new metrics, and could just go back to looking at the h-index instead.

Defending propositions: timeline and the role of graduate school

This is the second post in the Propositions series. The first post is here.

Timeline

Before I dive into the propositions, I want to give a bit of context to how the propositions evolved over time. I show the evolution in the timeline below. The rows are different proposition ideas and the columns are different versions of propositions.pdf I could find in my Dropbox. Red propositions were ultimately rejected. Orange and yellow propositions “made it” but in a modified form. Green propositions are very close to the final versions that I posted last time.

propositions-evolution

As you can see, some propositions survived the whole journey from the first draft in April 2014, to the approved version in January 2015. Today I want to talk a bit more about the proposition on the role of graduate school, which is one of the ideas that I had on my mind the longest.

The proposition

“Graduate school should be a resource, not a requirement”

When I went to university, a lot of things were new, but a few things were exactly how I imagined. You could decide whether to go to class, whether to do an assignment, whether to show up to the exam. It was all my own responsibility, and I loved it! When I got a job – my PhD project, as PhDs are employees of the university – I assumed the same responsibility for my project and my personal development. It was up to me to make sure that four years would lead to a thesis as well as transferable skills for my next job.

But the situation was not the same for all students. In my second year of PhD, the university introduced the graduate school – a program that “ensures and enhances the development of scientific quality along with the needed proficiency for interpersonal skills“. All PhD students could attend the courses, but new PhD students had stricter requirements (compulsory course X, at least 1 course from module Y).

I was happy I could choose from many courses, and signed up for several. Unfortunately my experiences with the compulsory aspect were not as positive. For example, I very excitedly joined a teaching course. In the lessons we would split up into small groups and discuss our experiences with teaching. I shared my experiences with my group, only to hear “sorry, we are only here for the credits” back. You could also earn credits with “on the job” activities like joining a reading group, giving a presentation or collaborating with another student. Taking this to the extreme, you could start a PhD with a list of things to do, and simply tick all the boxes.

Despite my disinterested fellow students, I did learn something in the teaching course: to align learning objectives and activities. But if the learning objective is to become an independent researcher, is ticking boxes the best activity to do?

Defending propositions : introduction

Propositions?

In the Netherlands, along with your thesis you defend a few – let’s say 10 – propositions. Propositions are statements that are “opposable and defendable” and cover a number of topics. The first few are usually about the topic of your thesis, but the others can cover pretty much any topic.
These last few propositions are usually the most interesting, as they resonate with everybody – not just people who are acquainted with your research topic. It is a way to show your personality, by voicing your concerns about a particular topic, or even by slipping in a bit of humor. But apart from being a creative outlet, propositions are also rumored to be difficult to write. In this series of posts I share my experiences with writing propositions, which might give you some inspiration for writing yours.

My propositions

To get started, I present to you my propositions:

propositions
[PDF]

As you can see, propositions 1-4 are about my thesis and pattern recognition in general. Propositions 5-10 are about other topics, but most relate to doing research. It is these propositions that were the most difficult to come up with, but most rewarding to refine into their final form. In the upcoming posts, I plan to share more about a few of these propositions. I will also write about the brainstorming process that I went through, and what I think about this tradition now that it’s all behind me.

While I’m getting the other posts in this series ready, please let me know what you think about propositions. Is it a good tradition? Does it add something to the PhD defense or is it a waste of time? If you are are doing a PhD in the Netherlands, are you thinking about what your propositions might be?

%d bloggers like this: