Research in Groningen

The Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GSMS) trains and educates excellent researchers and promotes excellent research. The GSMS is responsible for all Research Masters and PhD education and training programs within the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), including the ‘Junior Scientific Masterclass’, a special research-oriented program (BSc Honours and (D)MD/PhD program) for talented medical and dental students. At the GSMS we are outward-looking in our approach, working with people and partners from all over the world. All of our postgraduate programs are conducted in English and in fact half of our doctoral students are international.

Research within the UMCG ranges from fundamental to patient-oriented (clinical) research. The UMCG has organized all its research in five Research Institutes that each have developed research programs around specific aims and objectives. The five Research Institutes collaborate in the GSMS to educate and train research masters and PhD students for future scientific leadership. We endeavor to encourage and shape students to become critical and independent thinkers. Both PhD and Research Master students have the opportunity to tailor their program to fit their own personal research interests.

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PhD training programs (MD/PhD, 2+2, 3 or 4 years)

The GSMS PhD curriculum has an extensive program (choice of more than 70 courses and activities) offering each PhD student the opportunity to join courses and activities related to the Research Institute they participate in and their own specific research interest. Five Research Institutes work together to organize these courses and activities each based on their own field of expertise: 1. Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences (Research School BCN/Research Institute BCN-BRAIN), 2. Chronic Diseases and Drug Exploration (Research Institute GUIDE), 3. Cancer Research (Cancer Research Center Groningen), 4. Health Research (Research Institute SHARE) and 5. Biomedical Engineering (Research Institute W.J. Kolff)

The Graduate School offers different types of PhD training programs. 1. The MD/PhD program offers medical and dental students the opportunity to combine the last two years of the Master phase with a PhD training (two additional years of research training financed by the UMCG) to obtain a (D)MD and PhD degree upon completion. 2. The Abel Tasman Talent Program (also see below) offers PhD Sandwich Scholarships (2+2 years). First, PhD students pursue a two years PhD education and training program at their home university followed by a two years program in Groningen (funded by the UMCG) where the thesis will be completed. 3. Upon successful completion of their Research Master’s programs GSMS Research Master’s students have the opportunity to apply for a 3 years PhD education and training program within the GSMS. 4. Finally, within the UMCG regularly regular 4-year PhD positions are available (offered by individual researchers or research groups) and posted on the UMCG website. Degree awarded: PhD

If you have any questions about doing a PhD in the UMCG, you can ask the students below by simply e-mailing one of them! These students are from abroad and came to the Netherlands to start a PhD in the UMCG. They are happy to help and answer all of your questions!

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Research Master’s programs (2 years)

Graduate School of Medical Sciences

The Graduate School of Medical Sciences administrates four Research Master’s Programs:

1. Behavioural, Cognitive and Neurosciences (BCN / BCN-BRAIN)

The Research Master Behavioural & Cognitive Neurosciences, organised by the Research School of Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences (BCN), concentrates on three focal and closely related areas of particular strength within the field of neurosciences:

  1. Animal and human behaviour (B-track),
  2. Cognitive neuroscience and cognitive modeling (C-track) and
  3. Molecular and clinical neuroscience (N-track).

The program is characterized by its interactive setting, offering the unique chance of a truly multidisciplinary neuroscience education, while becoming an expert in one specialistic track. The program is essentially tailor-made. Depending on the student’s research interest (or future career aspiration) the student can design his or her own training program.

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2. Clinical and Psychosocial Epidemiology (CPE - SHARE)

Clinical and Psychosocial Epidemiology (CPE) is a selective two-year research master. The programme is unique in the sense that students are encouraged to focus on their individual development as a researcher. Therefore, classes are taught in small groups. Students can choose additional courses that suit their personal interests and moreover, research will be conducted side by side with scientists who are leading experts in their field.
Mental and physical health and the reciprocal relationship between these two form the basis of the programme. There is a strong focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental health conditions. The central idea is that psychological, biological and social aspects all play a role in any physical condition. Students conduct research in several populations, including children, adults and elderly, with or without a physical or mental condition.

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3. Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment (MMIT)

The selective two-year master programme Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment offers research-minded students small-group interactive teaching in an international and multidisciplinary environment. You will learn how to creatively apply knowledge and we will train you to become a critical and analytical scientist. You will be challenged with exciting cutting-edge research and methodologies and will learn how to critically read the literature, design novel research questions, translate hypotheses into testable research plans, and write scientific essays.
As a student you can focus on your interests and ambitions by participating in one of the following tracks after the first semester:
– Oncology
– Medical Neurosciences and neurological diseases
– Infection and immunity
– Medical nutrition and metabolic diseases
– Medical system biology and bioinformatics
– Drug innovation

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4. Erasmus Mundus International Master in Innovative Medicine (IMIM)

The International Master in Innovative Medicine (IMIM) is a two-year master of excellence, focusing on the education of tomorrow’s leading translational biomedical researchers.

Do you have the ambition to become a leading translational biomedical researcher? Do you want to receive a degree from the Top-100 Universities of Groningen, Heidelberg and Uppsala? Do you belong to the top of your class? If your answer to these questions is Yes, then the International Master in Innovative Medicine (IMIM) might be for you!

The International Master in Innovative Medicine (IMIM) is a 2-year programme. As an IMIM student, you follow a tailor-made training programme at two or three EU partner universities. Additionally, you have the opportunity to do a research internship at one of IMIM’s industry partners or at one of the programme’s leading Latin American partner institutions.

The common thread throughout IMIM is the ‘From Bench to Bedside and Back’ (BBB) Learning Line. BBB helps you get a full perspective on medical sciences, ranging from the underlying basic mechanisms of disease to drug design and the clinical applications of research. The strong IMIM connection with private-sector partners further ensures that you will gain important insights into non-academic perspectives on research. On top of this, you will take part in the IMIM Spring and Summer Schools, designed to foster personal development skills and business savvy.

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Abel Tasman Talent Program

The Abel Tasman Talent Program (ATTP) supports high-potential international students to excel in the field of (bio)medical or pharmaceutical sciences. Two types of financial support can be distinguished:

  • Financial support for students from one of our so-called ‘preferred partner universities’
  • Financial support for exceptionally talented students from other institutions
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Erasmus Mundus Action 2 mobility

The European Committee’s program ‘Education and Training’ offers many opportunities to stimulate education, training and exchange of Research Master’s and PhD students of the European Union and beyond. The University of Groningen participates in many of these exchange programs.

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Research institutes

1. Research Institute BCN-BRAIN

Director: prof. I.E.C. Sommer MD PhD
Central theme: Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences

The Research Institute BCN-BRAIN was established in 2005 and is part of the Graduate School of Medical Sciences and of the Research School of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences. BCN-BRAIN promotes research that is aimed at understanding the function of the healthy brain and dysfunction of the nervous system with reference to neurological and psychiatric disorders. Research is focused on translational collaboration between lab-based (molecular- and cell biological) and hospital-based (clinical) researchers integrating different levels of neuroscience research.

2. Research Institute GUIDE

Director: prof. dr. J.G.W. Kosterink
Deputy Director: prof. dr. Erik Frijlink
Central theme: Drug research and development

Within GUIDE research is performed that covers all aspects of the drug/intervention life cycle from its inception to its use in daily clinical practice, with a specific focus on personalized medicine. To reach this desired personalized medicine concept, our researchers strive to innovate the process of target finding, drug/intervention design and development, and its clinical implementation. Target finding is advanced by active forward integration of the omics and big data sciences. Drug design and development are accelerated by rapid drug discovery technology and advanced more humanized methods for candidate screening and selection. Clinical implementation focuses on new trial design, methodology for accelerated regulatory approval, improved therapeutic applications, evaluation of effectiveness and safety in daily practice, and interventions to improve optimal drug use. Our research covers small therapeutic molecules, biopharmaceuticals, gene based products, and interactions with lifestyle changes.

3. Cancer Research Center Groningen (CRCG)

Director: prof. M. van Vugt PhD
Central theme: Cancer Research

The Cancer Research Center Groningen (CRCG) organizes and facilitates high-quality, oncology-related research activities within the UMCG and University of Groningen. All research activities at CRCG share the overall perspective of ‘healthier and longer lives of cancer patients through imprOoved care’. Research is performed at the fundamental, translational and clinical levels and organized in a coherent and effective manner in several research programs to achieve fundamental, clinical and societal relevant research output. Ultimately this leads to personalized cancer therapy, thus reducing the unintended side effects of treatment on normal tissues and improving the quality of life of cancer patients.

4. Research Institute SHARE (Science in Healthy Ageing and healthcaRE)

Director: prof. M.J. Postma PhD
Central theme: Prevention in Health Research

SHARE’s mission is to identify determinants and consequences of illness and Healthy Ageing, conducted within inter-/multidisciplinary programs, in close connection with societal parties and often based on observational data. The institute investigates and evaluates factors and interventions that are population-, patient- and/or healthcare-system-related. It adds knowledge on prevention of and adaptation to disease, enhancing societal participation of patients with chronic somatic and mental disease and cost-effectiveness and efficacy of pharmaceutical, medical, life-style and psychosocial interventions. Notably, a life-course perspective is taken, addressing research questions spanning from the preconception period, through infancy, reproductive and working ages to old age.

5. Research Institute W.J. Kolff

Director: prof. Y. Ren MD PhD
Central theme: Biomaterials

The primary objective of the W.J. Kolff Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science is to bring together pre-clinical and clinical research groups and to establish a center of expertise for the entire stage of biomedical materials science and its application involving basic materials science, medical product development and clinical evaluation that will contribute to the long-lasting well-being of patients in need of biomaterial implants and extra-corporal support systems. Research is conducted within four thematic research programs each with their own specific theme: 1. Bioadhesion, biocompatibility and infection, 2. Nanobiotechnology and advanced therapeutic materials, 3. Restoring organ function by means of regenerative medicine and 4. Maintaining oral health and oral function.