On Monday the 3rd of June, the pre-course will take place. The pre-course is organised for international students, and aims at improving your research skills. To master your research skills, several masterclasses are organised. In addition to that, a lecture about Your Future at the UMCG, two speed keynote lectures, a Science Elective and to finish the day, a spectacular salsa workshop is organised to improve your dancing!


Simeon J.S. Ruiter MSc
Simeon J.S. Ruiter MSc Click here for more information
Sietske A. Berghuis MD PhD
Sietske A. Berghuis MD PhDClick here for more information


(bio)Medical Statisics

Johannes G.M. Burgerhof MSc

Sacha la Bastide-van Gemert MD

In 90 minutes, an overview of statistical techniques will be given. Together with the participants several questions will be answered including:

  • What is the link between probability theory and statistics?
  • Why is it important to use descriptive statistics?
  • What is a statistical test and when do we use which test?
  • How do we calculate a sample size?

Based on the article of Phung et al. (2002) on risk factors for low birth weight, we will go through several steps of the statistical process. Starting with descriptive statistics, refreshing the theory of univariate tests and confidence intervals, we will end up making and interpreting several regressions models: linear, logistic and Cox regression for survival.

Emphasis will not be on formulas and mathematics, but on understanding the logic behind the statistical tools. Depending on the interest of the participants, more time can be spend on elementary or advanced statistics.

FameLab, can you engage your audience in three minutes?

B.J. van de Laar

X-factor, The Voice, MasterChef, you name it. Talent scouting is a big thing and results in prize winning television. However, do we embrace science communication talent just as passionately as we embrace young singers and chefs? Or is science communication too important to be in the hands of young talents? On the other hand, they do shape the future of science.

FameLab is the number one international science communication contest, inviting scientists, mathematicians and engineers across the globe to take part. The FameLab contestants only have three minutes to convey a scientific concept of their choice to a professional jury. It is not allowed to use a PowerPoint or any other tool to facilitate the clarity of the presentation. All contestants are judged on the three C’s: content, clarity and charisma.  An unforgettable presentation might make one the winner of a national or international FameLab competition someday. Morover, you’ll learn to master an essential skill for a PhD-student or post-doc to engage future research partners, funders and all sorts of audiences. 

This hands-on masterclass challenges participants to prepare and present a three minute presentation according to the FameLab rules. The masterclass is convened by Bart van de Laar, Dutch FameLab pioneer and regular local/national convenor, together with the winners of this year’s Groningen FameLab heat.

Critical Reading

Prof. Pieter U. Dijkstra PhD

Medical students are supposed to read an enormous amount of information in textbooks, on the internet, and in medical journals. Research is progressing fast and textbooks often contain dated information. Recent manuscripts provide up-to-date information.  However, are we certain that the presented information is valid and should be implemented in patient care? Critical appraisal of a manuscript enables the assessment of the validity of the study results. In this pre-course class, participants will be provided with a general approach to critically appraise clinical research papers and assess research design, identify selection bias, information bias, and confounding factors. Different research designs will be presented, and strengths and weaknesses will be discussed. Participants will assess a paper critically. The results of the assessment will be discussed in the masterclass.

Preparing oral presentations

Prof. Anton J.W. Scheurink PhD

This masterclass will provide strategies for preparing interesting and engaging presentations. The essence of an effective presentation is engaging the audience, capturing their interest by posing an intriguing question, spelling out a methodology for addressing that question and then answering it. A successful presentation provides the audience with cues and information in an orderly structure, allowing them to form expectations on what they will hear and when they will hear it. Tips for doing so, along with tips on what not to do, will be supplied. The presenter will engage participants in a highly interactive format by crafting storylines and structures from material that they provide. The main focus of this masterclass will be on oral presentations but at the end we will give some do’s and don’ts on poster presentations as well.



Scientific Integrity

Dr. Els L.M. Maeckelberghe PhD 

Scientific integrity is an important topic in research, but what does it actually mean? How can you be scientifically integer? Are there any guidelines for scientific integrity, including plagiarism?

There is no clear definition of what ‘scientific integrity’ is supposed to mean. However, it is acknowledged that scientific integrity should be guarded, warranted and monitored at both individual and institutional levels. Plagiarism is probably the most frequent violation of scientific integrity.

Dr. Els L.M. Maeckelberghe PhD, lecturer of ethics at the UMCG, will host a masterclass on scientific integrity. A film about a PhD student at the beginning of her doctoral research will serve as a guide in this course. The audience decides how to respond to realistic scenarios where there is potential for misconduct. The participants will discuss the options and decide together what to do in these specific cases. It is promised to be an interesting and informative masterclass on Scientific Integrity!

In order to get the most out of this masterclass we ask participants to prepare themselves by making assignments which will be discussed during the session.


How do scientific reviewers review your article?

Prof. J.A. Lisman PhD

After years of meticulous study design, data analysis and perfecting your article, there is only one task left; getting your article published!

How do you choose the right scientific journal for your manuscript, and what happens after the submission of your article to your journal of choice? Which features render your paper attractive to the editor and how do you increase the likelihood that your manuscript will be sent out for review? What will convince the reviewers that your work is good and how do you respond to their comments? How do you react to a rejection by the editor, would you accept it or fight for your article?

Prof. J.A. Lisman PhD will help you to find the answers of all these questions in this very interactive Masterclass.



You can choose your own track consisting of a combination of two masterclasses:

Track 1Track 2Track 3Track 4Track 5Track 6Track 7Track 8
Preparing oral presentations: Capture the public and make your pointCritical readingFamelab: Can you engage your audience in three minutes?Medical StatisticsScientific IntegrityHow to make a research posterAn abstract: The invitation to your researchHow do scientific journals review your articles
An abstract: the invitation to your researchPreparing oral presentations: Capture the public and make your pointHow do scientific journals review your articlesCritical readingMedical StatisticsScientific IntegrityFamelab: Can you engage your audience in three minutes?The PhD position: How to make a research poster?

Your future at the UMCG

If you want to know more about PhD positions and research at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), come to Your Future at the UMCG! The director of the Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GSMS) Martin J. Smit, PhD, will give a detailed presentation about the possibilities of doing research and the opportunities to gain a PhD position at the UMCG. The session will be concluded with a personal story from a PhD graduate.

Science Elective

The Science Elective will be held between the masterclasses. Besides the educational parts of the day, the Science Electives are meant to be a fun part of the day! You can choose between a patient lecture, participate in a debate, think critically about the approach of House M.D. or listen to a fascinating Triple-B lecture.