Can I apply if I am self-employed or an independent consultant?
Self-employed people or independent consultants can apply to the programme. Instead of an employer support letter, we would like to obtain a description of your company, with 1) its main focus / description, 2) starting date of self-employed/consultancy activities. Independent consultants can be considered self-employed, or employed by various institutions.
What is meant by ”a letter from current employer, including a statement of support of the fellow and an indication of ways to support the fellow”?
We accept fellows based on their past qualifications and a current employment relevance. We also expect fellows to remain employed during the doctoral period, to create a main source of income.
However, writing a dissertation requires time, and it is likely that employers will notice that you are enrolled in the programme. It is our hope that they see the value of it, and encourage and support you in doing your PhD. But at the very least, they should be informed that you intend to start the programme, since you will be required to be in Maastricht for 6 weeks in year one, and for 2 weeks in all subsequent years.
In order to assess to what extent and how your employer is involved, we request a letter from your employer (no specific format required) as part of your application. In this letter, they should indicate that they know you have applied and are aware that once accepted it means you will engage in a longer-term project that requires you to be in Maastricht a certain number of days a year. They can also indicate to what extent they will support you. This support could be by offering you leave days, by paying your tuition, by allowing you to work on your PhD during work time, by allowing you to use company databases, or other forms of support. And they can offer their motivation in terms of how your PhD programme might be beneficial to them.
Since the support of companies varies per fellow, we cannot offer a format for the letter.
How can I encourage my referees and employer to submit the letters?
When you use the application form, you will enter the contact information of your referees and employer. Please use the application form – this is how we know who your referees are. The referees will be notified by us how they can send the letter to us. If you wish to encourage your referees to send a letter, let them know that they can email the scanned letter and send the original letter to the address mentioned above (Procedure Section).