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News from the COR NWO: introducing Guus van der Borg

‘The BUW must remain on the NWO agenda’
Guus van der Borg is a third-year NWO-I PhD researcher at the University of Groningen, and within the NWO Central Works Council (COR NWO) he represents the almost 400 NWO-I PhDs who work at eleven Dutch universities. These PhDs fall within the NWO-I unit BUW (Administrative Unit for Research Groups at Universities). As soon as the last PhD graduates, this BUW unit will cease to exist. And that is what Van der Borg is very mindful of. 'The BUW must remain on the agenda within NWO, even though it is a unit that is being phased out!'

Within COR NWO, Van der Borg mainly focuses on all issues affecting PhDs from the BUW. 'As COR NWO, we notice that the BUW is less visible within NWO. During the development of new plans and strategies, the BUW is sometimes not included, mainly because this operational unit will cease to exist as soon as the last PhD has graduated. So the COR really does need to keep a careful eye on this', states Van der Borg. He says that together with COR member Janou Koskamp (PhD at Utrecht University) his focus is two specific priorities: the NWO intranet Joost and the secondary employment conditions for PhDs from the BUW. 'Regrettably, PhDs from the BUW have no access to Joost, the intranet of NWO. Of course, the newsletter Inside NWO-I contains all important personnel information for NWO-I employees. However, Joost contains other important information, such as reports from the NWO executive board. We believe it is important that all employees have access to these documents. We also feel that NWO should enter into more dialogue with the universities, for example about the Christmas gift, but also about available parking places or the fact that some PhDs do not receive an entry card to their own university building because they are employed by NWO-I. We realise that, broadly speaking, PhDs at NWO-I have good employment conditions and development opportunities, but some bottlenecks remain. We hope to itemise these more clearly via the survey that we recently sent out.'

Personal ambition
Van der Borg has almost completed his two-year COR membership. When asked if he will stand for election again, Van der Borg is clear. 'I would really like to do that because being a member of NWO COR is a fantastic experience. But it demands a lot of time. Now that I am in the last two years of my PhD, I no longer have the time available. Not least because it takes more than two hours to travel from Groningen to NWO Utrecht/The Hague.’ Before he leaves NWO COR, Van der Borg hopes that he can realise his personal ambition of ensuring that all PhDs have access to Joost. To achieve this, NWO COR is closely following all developments surrounding the NWO intranet Joost. Specifically, Van der Borg has spoken to Ilona de Lange, project leader of Joost, about the plans for the future. 'Fortunately, I have noticed that our view is being heard within NWO and that things are moving in the right direction. I genuinely hope that we as COR NWO can play a positive role in these developments.'

About Guus van der Borg
Van der Borg is doing his PhD in the workgroup Molecular Biophysics of NWO-I workgroup leader and University of Groningen professor Wouter Roos. Van der Borg is investigating the forces associated with how viruses such asinfluenza and chikungunya penetrate a cell. Roos encouraged Van der Borg to become a member of COR NWO. 'Before I joined COR NWO , I knew relatively little about the NWO organisation. The distance is literally large. But now it is fantastic to see what actually happens at NWO and that I can have a say in that.'

Newsletter Inside NWO-I November 2018

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