The work of a PhD student is much freer than that of a university student. However, regular checks remain vital and are carried out through C3 meetings. In order to keep track of progress and evaluate the management of your supervisor(s), a so-called C3-committee is assembled after your first six months of employment. This committee consists of your promotor, second promotor and an independent member of the Education Committee of the Research School. A meeting between the committee and the PhD student takes place 6, 12, 24 and 36 months after the start of their employment. Essential topics of this talk are: education such as summer schools and lectures, the progress of the PhD student’s research and any other topics that a PhD student or their promotors may want to discuss. The independent C3 member presides over the meeting and takes notes. These notes might prove cause for an extension on your PhD programme in a meeting four months before the end, so make sure that all the important points are noted down!
The Third C3 Member
The third C3 member is meant to have few connections to your promotors and subject so that they may form an independent view of your progress as a PhD student. This also makes them an excellent person to go to if you have questions or concerns about how your promotors and supervisors are managing you. If there is tension or even conflict between you and your supervisors, for example, the C3 meeting would be an excellent time to talk it over. Don’t wait until these meetings to resolve disputes, however! Nikhef has several confidential people you can discuss sensitive information with: ask Pieter van Braam van Vloten (human resources) where you can go best in your situation.
Arranging a Meeting
After approximately six months of employment, you will get a message announcing the assignment of the third C3 member to your PhD programme. This is the signal for you to arrange your first C3 meeting. Because all members of the C3 committee are likely to be very busy people, start planning the meeting as soon as possible by probing during which weeks they will all be present at the institute. You can then propose a number of dates or open a Doodle poll. You can also ask your supervisor or promotor what the best course of action would be in your specific situation. If all else fails, a C3 committee member may join via video chat. The procedure and instructions regarding a C3 meeting are listed in the C3 form.
It is customary to hold the C3 meetings at the third member’s office. If this office is shared or otherwise unavailable, there are a number of other options. For example, a general small meeting room exists at the beginning of the detector R&D hallway: you cannot reserve this room, but you may always use it if it’s not occupied.