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As the coronavirus could affect PhD conferral ceremonies, TU Delft has set guidelines. The first defence has already taken place behind closed doors.
Obtaining a doctorate by phone is one option. (Photo: Sam Rentmeester)

As the coronavirus could affect PhD conferral ceremonies, TU Delft has set guidelines. The first defence has already taken place behind closed doors.

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The doors were not closed to keep out the virus, but to create a quiet environment in which three members of the doctoral committee could join in with a conference call. They could not or did not want to travel to Delft for reasons of prevention. Among them was an Italian who was the second promotor.

The doctorate, entitled Atomistic simulations of nickel-titanium shape-memory alloys was on Thursday 5 March at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG). According to Vice Rector Peter Wieringa, Head of the Graduate School, conference calls are not always stable. “You can confer a bit more easily if the doors are closed,” he said. An exception was made during one part of the ceremony for family members of the PhD Candidate, P. Srinivasan, who came to TU Delft from India specially for the ceremony.

“This will happen more frequently in the weeks to come,” expects Wieringa. TU Delft has therefore set guidelines for situations in which PhD Candidates are unable to be present at his or her defence, and for situations in which members of the doctoral committee are unable to attend.

In the former case, the ceremony will be postponed. In the latter case, TU Delft will arrange conference calls. As was the case in last week’s defence, it could be that there is no space for an audience. “It will be on a case-by-case basis,” says Wieringa.

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