Prompted also by some coworkers, I have decided to apply for this 3-year responsibility as I am deeply convinced that it is extremely important and necessary to improve the working conditions of us all during this passionate period of study and research we are living. According to this general aim, it is my purpose to represent and defend the rights of every PhD student of our University, from humanities to science fields.
The three years mandate as PhD representative overlaps with the duration my PhD. This allows me to guarantee a seamless presence and continuity that enables to structure my electoral programme into immediate actions and long-term goals.
1. Fellowship amount +20%. As reported in the petition to level our paycheck to that of University of Milano-Bicocca that I prompted in the last few weeks, we can and must ask for a monthly increase of 200 net euros.
This action is meant to recognize the importance and value of our work as well as to improve the competitiveness and the image of our University. It can be achieved by investing more resources in what is and has to be regarded as the highest education level.
Moreover, since competitiveness is one of the major goals that the University of Milan aims to achieve, especially to attract foreign students, additional funding should be devoted to this end. These funds should be made available and guaranteed for the entire duration of the PhD.
I will immediately pledge so that these additional funds can be gathered and made available as soon as possible.
2. Cost of Transportation -80%. The University of Milan makes conspicuous reductions on public transportation available to its employees.
To them, the ATM urban travel card costs only 60,40 euros instead of 340,00 (-80%) with a direct and in advance contribution of the University of 258,23 euros and ATM discount of 38,00 euros1. For extra-urban travel cards and TRENORD train tickets similar reductions are available.
I will immediately pledge in order to allow also the Unimi PhD students to have access to such contributions.
3. PhD Alumni association. For many of us the PhD is a life choice.
Notwithstanding the difficulties we have to face, we fall in love with what we do. For this reason it is important to deepen the links we share as part of a broader intellectual community. Furthermore, these bonds can offer opportunities of professional growth at any level. To this end, following many positive experiences of other Universities, I want to promote the birth of an informal doctorate network recognized by the University open to PhD students and ex-alumni. This network will be able to provide specialized and continuous services for our careers both in Academia and in the broader job market (journal access, online data banks and libraries, institutional email address, collaboration with the University, etc.).
The creation of this association, which will gather the most different experiences and skills, cannot be achieved by me alone. For this reason, if you believe in its importance, I will ask you to get involved to see this project fully realized by the end of my studies, within three years.
Looking to the future
4. Extension of the PhD fellowship beyond the 3rd year. The Doctorate is meant to be of three years. However, we all know that often the time required to accomplish an outstanding research leading to publication may be longer, especially if many compulsory courses are scheduled in the first years.
Sometimes only six more months are sufficient to finish a great work. Therefore, the Doctorate can be longer than three years and in other countries this circumstance is often accounted for. Let alone very few exceptional cases, our University requires us to work for free if our PhD extends beyond the third year, even if only for a very short period. This is hardly sustainable for many. Unfortunately, a fair request along this line at national level was rejected few weeks ago2.
I will immediately pledge to ask our University to face this issue in a transparent and serious way so that it could provide solutions enabling to make the delicate end of the PhD as easy as possible.
5. Bill of PhD Rights. The PhD is crucial for our formation. In many cases it directly determines who we are going to be and what we are going to do in the years to come. Clear rules that can account for any specific situation are thus mandatory (classes, teaching, research funding, transport contributions for foreign people, publications, tutoring activities, external activities, etc.).
These rules should initially be discussed among us and then evaluated and applied in accordance with the University administration, which should be subsequently supervised for its accountability.
I will immediately pledge for the legal certainty of our rights and for the Bill to be approved before the end of my Doctorate.
If we have clear in mind what we want, this programme can be fulfilled with your help, the direct engagement of many more of our colleagues and my commitment. In any case, I guarantee my reliability in facing this challenge at my best, as I hope to have made clear to you through this message.