Start your research project

The research projects (major/minor) of your program, are the main part of your training as a Master student of the Graduate School of Life Sciences.

More information about the start of your research project is available below.

When you start looking for a suitable research group for your research project: 

1.Use your own network, via your master programme:

  • get suggestions from your Masters'programme or track coordinator about interesting groups and projects
  • ask teachers from courses you liked about their research (group)
  • talk to your (older) fellow students and alumni about their research projects
  • talk to lab chiefs / scientists / profs / postdocs
  • visit the websites of the different Master’s programmes. They often have an overview of the research groups involved in the programme.

2. Check the Career Services of Utrecht University

They host an internship database, which includes some projects at companies within the Netherlands, for Life Sciences students. The career officers of the GSLS also regularly post internship offers on their LinkedIn page

3.Visit the Research Project Market

Every january a research project market is organized for GSLS and medicine students. 

Things to consider when you are looking for a research project:

  • Choose a research project within the scope of your Master’s programme.
  • Ask for approval from your programme coordinator and the Board of Examiners.
  • Your major research project has to be done at Utrecht University or at UMC Utrecht, the Hubrecht Laboratory or the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology. Research projects of Science and Business Management, Biomedical Image Sciences, and Epidemiology (Postgraduate) can partly be conducted elsewhere/abroad, but only in cooperation with Utrecht University.
  • For any of the projects you need to find a supervisor from within Utrecht University.

When you find a suitable project, make sure you meet both your examiner as well as your daily supervisor, to see if you get along. Discuss all details with your (laboratory) supervisor. An overview of what you should discuss can be found on the General application form* and includes:

  • subject of your project;
  • starting date and planning of general matters such as your courses and holidays. More information about the (maximal) duration of research project and extending your project is available here.
  • agreements on other meetings in which you should participate such as weekly lab meetings, journal clubs, seminars, etc.

*Note: students from the master's programme CSDB and SBM participate in a pilot in which the entire research project and business internship procedure is digitized. More information can be found under 'Pilot Osiris Zaak'.

Read more about the application procedure under 'Application procedure and approval'.

The quality and suitability of your research project will be assessed by your Master’s programme coordinator and the Board of Examiners (BoE). You need to follow the steps below in order for them to process your request and receive an approval:

  • Fill in the General application form*
  • Ask the approval (signature) of your Master’s programme coordinator
  • Email the application form (PDF) to the Master’s Administration Office (for BioMedical students: infobms@umcutrecht.nl and for BetaScience students: Science.gsls@uu.nl ) at least 20 working days before the start of your writing assignment. 
  • Only digital forms (as a PDF via email) will be accepted.This is done before the start of your the assignment. The BoE will assess the application and within two weeks you will receive an approval email by one of the research project coordinators.  You can only start with your writing assignment after you have received an approval email.

 *Note: students from the master's programme CSDB and SBM participate in a pilot in which the entire research project and business internship procedure is digitized. More information can be found under 'Pilot Osiris Zaak'.

**Students from the master EPIM/EPMM must hand in the application form at the education office of Epidemiology.

External projects, for example at non-university institutes or abroad require signing of an additional contract, the GSLS Internship contract. More information about external projects is available here.

For projects at the UMC Utrecht you need an UMC Utrecht internship account and UMC card. More information is available under ‘UMC Utrecht internship account and UMC card’.

UMC Utrecht internship account
For projects at the UMC Utrecht you need an UMC Utrecht internship account. With the UMC Utrecht internship account you can work on the computers of the research group within the UMC Utrecht where you perform your research project or writing assignment.  Please note, that this account is different from the account that allows you to work on computers at the UMCU Study Landscape in the Hijmans van den Bergh building.

Within one week after you have received the approval of the Board of Examiner for your research project or writing assignment at the UMC Utrecht, an UMC Utrecht internship account is requested on your behalf. You will receive an e-mail with instructions to activate this account. After your account is activated, your supervisor / the secretary of your department can request access to shared disks of your research group, specific software or lab rooms for you via the BCP-er of the department.

Please note, after the end of your research project or writing assignment the specific rights coupled to your UMC Utrecht internship account will be terminated. Should you do a second research project or writing assignment, you can use your UMC Utrecht internship account again. After graduating, your UMC Utrecht internship account will be closed.

If you have any question, please contact STIP (STIP@umcutrecht.nl or 088-75 53478).

UMC card
Besides the UMC Utrecht internship account, you also need a UMC card. You will receive an excel file with all the requirements that you need to fill in together with your supervisor, in bold. Send this form to studentautorisaties@umcutrecht.nl. You will receive an e-mail when you can go to the Facility Service Center to obtain the UMC card.

Note: You can only obtain the UMC card by showing a valid ID card or valid passport. A driving license, digital print or a photo on your telephone is not sufficient.

You can proceed with coupling your UMC Utrecht internship account to the UMCU card to be able to print via Follow Me during your research project or writing assignment. In the UMCU Study Landscape you have to print without your UMCU card, please follow the instructions that are available at the printer.
Note: printing via your UMC Utrecht internship account is only allowed while you are doing your research project. This is strictly monitored and the costs of any unlawful use of the printer outside this period will be charged directly to the student in question. 

Compulsory e-Module 'Quality and Safety'
Within the UMC Utrecht all employees and students need to work according to the Joint Commission International (JCI) rules. To introduce these standards for quality and safety to you, you need to follow the e-module 'Quality and Safety' before the start your research project. You will receive an e-mail from the Master’s administration office with an invitation for this e-module.

You can find this e-module on Blackboard under the course Master UMCU stage (BMB518518). After opening the course, click on the item 'e-modules' in the menu (left) to continue to the module. After you have finished this module this will be registered as a 'pass' in Osiris under this course code.

HiX training
If you will work with the digital patient database HiX, you need to follow a HiX training before you can start. You will receive an e-mail from the Master’s administration office with the date of the HiX training. Please confirm your attendance in reply to this e-mail.

Students from the master's programme CSDB and SBM participate in a pilot in which, the entire procedure for the research project, business internship and writing assignment is digitized. For you, this means that after arranging your research project, business internship or writing assignment, you can register this via https://osiris.uu.nl under the tab ‘Cases’ (‘Zaken’ in Dutch). Here, you can also check the status of your application, submit your interim assessment and finalize your research project, business internship or writing assignment.

More information about this new procedure can be found in the manual for students. This procedure is new for your examiner as well, so please inform him/her beforehand and point out the available manual for examiners.

Both the digital procedure and the manual were created with the utmost care, but they may be incomplete or contain some errors. We would appreciate your feedback for any type of imporvement, so please feel free to contact us about your findings. For comments or questions please contact your Master’s administration via

BMS - infobms@umcutrecht.nl or +31 (0)88 7559397.
Biosciencescience.gsls@uu.nl or +31 (0)30 2531858.