Parliament is expected to pass new legislation in 2016 that will allow Dutch universities to modernise their regulations determining who may take formal responsibility for the supervision of a PhD project. The following open letter, addressed to the Rector Magnificus of the University of Amsterdam, has been signed by over 90% of all faculty members as well as by several emeritus professors of the ILLC, an interdisciplinary research institute belonging to both the Faculty of Science (FNWI) and the Faculty of Humanities (FGW). In this letter, we urge the academic community to take full advantage of this historical opportunity and to finally bring practices at our university back in line with international standards. We would like to see this letter disseminated broadly and hope it will be useful to others who may also wish to take a public position on the matter.

Update: On 23 February 2017, the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) passed new legislation permitting the College van Promoties at a Dutch university to ask members of staff at the same or another university who themselves hold a doctoral degree to take on the role of promotor. On 6 June 2017, the Senate (Eerste Kamer) confirmed this change in legislation. This is good news. It is now up to the universities to decide how to implement this legislation and to come up with a mechanism by which the College van Promoties determines who exactly can serve as promotor for a given PhD project. Unfortunately, it looks like the Dutch universities will choose to implement the new law in its weakest possible form, with a statement published by the VSNU on 22 May 2017 suggesting that only Full Professors and some Associate Professors will be able to obtain the ius promovendi. If confirmed, that would be bad news.