During the coronavirus pandemic there was less capacity/opportunity for scientific research that was not related to COVID-19, which means that a lot of scientific research has been delayed since March 2020 . Many researchers with temporary contracts, such as post-docs and PhD students, encountered difficulty in pursuing their research and their career.
In 2021 and 2022 UMC Utrecht received a total of € 8.5 million from Nationaal Programma Onderwijs (NPO), the national support program for education and recovery and perspectives for researchers. This funding was intended to compensate (partially) for the cost of salaries of PhD students and post-docs whose research had accumulated delays due to COVID-19 and whose appointments therefore had to be extended.
UMC Utrecht spent this support (€ 700,000 in 2021 and € 2.906 million in 2022) to cover (a part of) the salary costs of 336 PhD students and post-docs (approximately 30% of UMC Utrecht researchers). The rest of the money we received has been reserved for outflow in 2023/2024. The decision on how to use the NPO funding was made in consultation with representatives of the divisions, the strategic focal points, and the R&D Council of UMC Utrecht. The compensation on average was equal to three months of wages. In addition, UMC Utrecht used € 1 million from its own resources to compensate for the wage costs of another eighty or so researchers.