PhD competence model

VU University medical center PhD candidates should be equipped to pursue a career inside or outside academia after their PhD track. Excellence in the doctorate level training of PhD candidates as highly qualified future professionals in an international environment is essential. VU University medical center aims at creating an infrastructure to promote and support this excellence. PhD candidates are challenged to model their own learning processes. Offering a self-assessment tool for PhD competences is one way to encourage PhD candidates to self-reflect on their capacities and further develop themselves.

Collectively the University Medical Centers have defined a set of core competences for PhD candidates as a guideline for professional career development, and to recognize acquired competences. Of course these competences are also very relevant for postdoc's. The PhD Competence Model is designed as a self-assessment tool. It reflects the competences a VU University medical center PhD candidate should have acquired by the end of his/her PhD track, depending on his/her career perspective. Please find the model here.

The emphasis of the model is on career development and orientation. The user evaluates his/her level on the given competence, using a 5-point scale from zero to five (excellent). A score of three reflects an average level based on peer group. The final profile can be viewed in the spider chart. The results are available offline only. The PhD Competence Model can be used yearly to monitor progress. This tool will also be applied in the course Integral PhD-program: from student to professional.

For VU University Medical Center employees this information is also available on the intranet webpages P&O direct, in Dutch or in English

Tips for use

  • The tool is for self-assessment purposes only. It is explicitly not to be used as an appraisal or assessment tool.
  • We recommend that you consult peers and your supervisors for feedback.
  • Select a number of competencies per year that you would like to develop; the competence categories may differ per year based on your research goals and ambitions.
  • Competences are shown in behavior. Note the references and examples of behavior used to evaluate your level on each specific competence, so that you can compare your performance levels over the years.
  • Once your individual profile is completed, it is important to consult available courses, workshops etc to enhance your skills. See the VU University medical center PhD training and education possibilities here.
  • The tool can also be used as input for career planning discussions or even for job applications (employers and employees).
  • Whilst the model was designed for PhD candidates, it can of course be used in postdoctoral careers also.