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Two research schools partnered with Leiden University participate in Graduate Programme

The Casimir Research School and the Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences will be participating in the first Graduate Programme. This was announced on Wednesday 12 August by Minister Plasterk (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science). Leiden University is a partner in both schools. Nine Dutch research schools and graduate schools will receive a total of seven million euro.

The Casimir Research School is a school for interdisciplinary physics, that falls under the LION (Leiden Institute of Physics) of Leiden University, and the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience of the Technical University Delft. The Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences is a research and teaching institute comprising six universities: Leiden University, Wageningen University, the Radboud University, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University. 

The Graduate Programme subsidy is a new type of subsidy, intended for creating an excellent teaching and research environment for very talented young researchers. The aim is to achieve innovations in research training whereby the prospective PhD researcher will have greater influence on the research to be carried out. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) developed the programme at the request of the Minister.  

The schools within the Graduate Programme are modelled on the most successful schools worldwide and have an excellent scientific standing. Innovative elements in these schools are that the prospective PhD researchers can rotate their programmes and take part in different research projects while still receiving a considerable amount of course-based training. After having rotated their programme, the PhD students are free to determine what research they will undertake and who will be their supervisor, thereby consolidating the best research. The selection of candidates is also an important aspect, that further effectively raises the quality. 

As well as NWO, KNAW and the universities are closely involved in developing the programme. In this first Graduate Programme, national and local research schools or graduate schools each had the chance of receiving a subsidy of 800,000 euro. The funds are intended for the appointment of PhD researchers who will conduct their research within the school.   

A total of 36 applicatians were submitted. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science had made funds available for seven schools. The board of NWO was impressed with the high quality of the applications and decided to finance an additional two schools, bringing the total to nine schools, with a budget of 7.2 million euro.   

This first round was a pilot. The intention is to set up a more structural programme in the future. An annual budget of some 15 million euro has been reserved for this programme. 

Participating schools

The 9 schools taking part in the Graduate Programme (with the quotes taken from the jury reports): 

Cancer Genomics and Development Biology 
Participating institutions: 

  • Utrecht University 
  • Hubrecht Institute
  • University Medical Centrum Utrecht

'A unique concentration of high-level talent and enthusiasm in all three participating institutions.' 

Casimir Research School
Participating institutions: 

  • Technical University Delft
  • Leiden University 

'The school's teaching and supervision is of the highest standard and there is a clear vision of how students and PhD reserchers can be given the best possible training. ' 

CentER Graduate School 
Participating institution: Tilburg University. 
'CentER opted for the Harvard/Stanford model at an early stage, and put into practice the concepts that form the foundation of the pilot Graduate School.' 

Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience 
Participating institutions: 

  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

'These institutes focus on the students and PhD researchers, and prospective PhD candidates have an important say in how their PhD research is structured.'   

Erasmus Research Institute of Management Graduate School
Participating institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam. 
'ERIM is the strongest representative (including internationally) in terms of research into business economics, and ranks among the top in Europe.'   

Graduate School Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience
Participating institution: 

  • Maastricht University
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich
  • Cyclotron-Liège
  • Glaxo SmithKline-London

'This is a large-scale Graduate School with a strongly interdisciplinary approach and of the highest scientific standing.' 

Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences
Participating institutions:

  • Wageningen University and Research Centre
  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Utrecht  University
  • Leiden University
  • Vrije Universiteit
  • University of Amsterdam

'The committee observes a high degree of commitment and has the impression that the school truly puts the interests of students and PhD candidates first.' 

Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology 
Participating institution: 

  • Groningen University
  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Utrecht  University

'A great deal of attention is paid to the freedom of choice of students, to the opportunities for them to rotate their studies and to write their own research proposal.'  

3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology
Participarting institution:

  • Technical University Delft
  • Technical University Eindhoven
  • Twente University 
    'The ethicists involved from the three technical universities have successfully developed a joint research programme that is also highly regarded internationally.' 


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