Letter | PhD report is “fictitious stopgap on the supposed road to progress”

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2013
Galway daily news Day of Action for Palestine

Dear Editor,

On Monday 26th June, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science published the first report of an Independent National Review of State Supports for PhD Researchers.

This report had been welcomed by third-level institutions more readily than PhDs, however the results were more disappointing than previously imagined.

The report immediately diverts from the needs of PhD Researchers calling for a living wage of >€28,000 per year recommending an increase to €25,000.

The report fails to address parental leave and pay, fails to address sick pay,
Critically, the report also fails to clarify the status of PhDs as employees rather than students. This report has not progressed the discourse regarding PhD rights in the slightest.

This report serves as another fictitious stopgap on the supposed road to progress.
It has done next to nothing to ensure PhDs are paid fairly for the work they contribute, can afford their bills, and Non-EU PhDs are not burdened with supplemental healthcare and visa costs.

Whilst another report is surely ordered, this provides universities a prolonged period to bury their heads in the sand rather than act in support of their community, as they love to advertise themselves as.

The Postgraduate Workers Organisation, the collection of PhDs advocating for their peers, has warned strike action is to be considered. I for one welcome this news. For far too long have third-level institutions exploited eager and dedicated researchers. It is time enough for that to change.

Is mise le meas,
Criodán Ó Murchú
Former Postgraduate Representative of Údarás na hOllscoile, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe