Legal advice: Education and research compete for time University lecturer Sven enjoys teaching and likes to work on his research. But because teaching tasks must always be given priority, his research is compromised. He is called on to do so by his supervisor. 30 november 2020 • TEKST Ahmed Charifi I DIT BERICHT IN HET NEDERLANDS In the field of academia, most employees have both teaching and research tasks, but it often remains difficult to balance the two. They compete for time, which is in short supply. Employees are sometimes so bogged down by teaching duties that the research part runs into difficulties. Employees try to fulfil their research obligations at the edges of the day, on an evening and even at the weekend. “It makes me feel that I’m always losing 2-0,” says Sven, who has contacted the AOb following a serious conversation with his employer. Threat of dismissal Sven was told that he wasn’t fulfilling his publication obligation. His supervisor thinks it’s a problem and doesn’t have the confidence that things will still improve. Sven responded that the balance between education and research has been lacking for some time now. The situation should be that he actually has time for research too. That means fewer teaching and more research hours. ‘Sven isn’t showing the ambition necessary for this position’ But that doesn’t seem to be up for discussion. The distribution of hours is the norm and Sven isn’t showing the ambition necessary for this position, says the employer. He wants Sven to drop the research part and continue as a lecturer (with fewer hours). “Otherwise an assessment process will follow.” In order to emphasize his point, the supervisor schedules an annual appraisal within a week. Confidence The AOb lawyer says that Sven must be given a reasonable period in which to fulfil the publication obligation. The fact that the employer doesn’t have any confidence in this doesn’t matter. Sven also needs to be given the time reasonable for his field of research. In addition, the number of hours that colleagues are given for similar research is often a consideration. Finally, Sven must be given enough time to carefully prepare for his annual appraisal.