Universiteit Leiden

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Casimir Research School to receive € 800,000 for talented PhD candidates

The Casimir Research School is to receive an € 800,000 subsidy from the NWO Graduate Programme to further integrate the master's study and PhD research. Minister Plasterk judged the Leiden-Delft Casimir plan to be one of the best.

In contrast to standard practice, a candidate develops his or her own PhD proposal

Top students

Casimir aims to attract top students from the Netherlands and abroad. As well as the four PhD candidates who will be subsidised by NWO, Leiden and Delft will each pay for three PhD positions.  The Graduate Programme means a total of ten special PhD places for candidates in Leiden and Delft.

Making your own choice

The Graduate Programme reverses the roles. Normally, master's students have lectures for two years and then they carry out research at one university. After that they can apply for a PhD position, where the subject of the research is already determined. Within the Casimir Graduate School, (potential) PhD candidates write their own proposal and they already make a start on this during their master's study. This approach integrates the two programmes, the master's and the PhD, which gives talented students more scope to develop their own creativity. Selection is on the basis of personal qualities and the research proposal.  

Training programme

Greater depth and more scope for personal creativity

The integration of the master's and PhD stages starts from the very beginning of the master's study. Each year, thirty master's students are selected to take part in a specialPre-PhD track. During the master's phase each students is assigned a special programme, focusing on his or her own chosen subject. At the same time, the student becomes familiar with the research cultures within Leiden and Delft, and those of an international university. To conclude the study, the students write a proposal based on their own research ideas. The ten students with the best proposals are given a PhD place; instead of working on a subject proposed by a professor, these students have the opportunity to follow their own line of research. In parallel with the four years of research with the appropriate international interaction, the PhD candidate follows a training programme comprising lectures, courses and workshops.  

Casimir: Leiden-Delft collaboration 

Casimir is an intensive collaboration between Leiden University and the TU Delft in the field of interdisciplionary physics. In 2004, the Leiden Institute of Physics (LEI) and the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience (TU Delft) decided to join forces in the training and supervision of PhD candidates. Within the research programme, Casimir combines theoretical, experimental and applied physics in six research themes, with fundamental and applied research being carried out in both Leiden and Delft.   

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