Email communications

Here you will find an overview of all email communications sent to students regarding various Coronavirus-related topics.

11-05-2020                                                                                                                      

Dear Master’s student,

It has been almost two months since the coronavirus pandemic era was ushered in, undoubtably bringing with it a lot of uncertainty and inconvenience in all aspects of our lives. In regards to your studies, hopefully you found the suggestions made by the Graduate School of Life Sciences useful and have by now been able to formulate a plan to avoid study delay as much as possible in the coming months. Additionally, individual webinars were held for Biosciences and Biomedical Sciences students and we created a Frequently Asked Questions section on the study guide with a lot of useful information.

With this email we would like to update you on the current state of affairs. While many things are still uncertain and we do not have all the answers (yet), we want to assure you that we are working hard on creating further solutions with your best interests at heart.

Productivity and mental wellbeing
Social distancing measures and studying/working from home can take a toll on both our ability to focus on the tasks at hand and on our overall mental health. To address some of these issues, attached you will find a slideshow852.27 KB with useful tips and tricks. Although it was created by teaching staff and coaches within the medical faculty of the UMC Utrecht, we think the advice it contains is relevant to all GSLS students. Moreover, the UU has compiled a list of resources at your disposal regarding guidance and advice and you can always contact your faculty’s academic counsellors for extra support. Finally, UU is organizing an Online Wellbeing Week which will take place next week and offers a daily programme of online activities that revolve around a variety of issue, in both Dutch and English.

Continuation or start of research projects in labs
There is no new information regarding the startup of research projects yet. The latest decision was that all labs are closed for internships until at least June 1st. While we await further updates on this topic, it is likely that certain rotation schemes will need to be put in place when labs do open up again in order to comply with safety guidelines. The GSLS would like to assure you that we are in communication with all relevant parties to ensure that your interests are taken into account with regard to (re-)gaining access to research spaces once it is allowed again.

Mini-projects can also be used to do an extra writing assignment
Since research projects cannot be carried out physically in the lab at this moment, a number of alternatives were laid out for ways to gain credits within or outside the research project. One of those is the possibility to start with your Writing Assignment.

It is our understanding that some students prefer to reserve their Writing Assignment until the end of their Master’s in order to write a literature review or research proposal as a prelude to doing a PhD in their field of interest and that they believe this increases their chances of obtaining such a position. Enquiries we made with a few group leaders indicates that this is not the case. What matters most is that a student performs well during their internships or writing assignments in order to leave a memorable impression and not so much whether it was very recent or some time ago.

In any case, we would like to remind and offer everyone the option of doing a second writing assignment as a (theoretical) mini-project using credits from their electives. That way you could start your first writing assignment now and still reserve one for the end of your studies. We would like to refer you to the document where all the different options are described and to the studyguide to read more about mini-projects and how to apply for them.

Going abroad policy – International Office
Because of the Corona virus, the travel advice has been tightened for all countries in the world. The International Office has issued a policy in regards to going abroad for a research internship. In short, all applications will be judged on an individual basis from June 1stonwards depending on the travel code for the country in question. As the situation is still not clear, students are advised not to make any financial arrangements for future internships abroad.

All students who are planning to go abroad (whether it is for the first time or whether to return to their host institute abroad after having left due to the pandemic situation) are required to register (again) their stay abroad in Osiris. Additionally, students who are planning to return to their host institutes abroad are required to fill in the ‘stay abroad – corona’ form and upload it to Osiris as well together with the approval by the Board of Examiners. Science faculty students can upload their ‘stay abroad – corona’ form without including a GSLS signature. BMS students are required to have their ‘stay abroad – corona’ form signed by their research project coordinator. Please  visit the studyguide to read the International Office policy in more detail.

We will continue to keep you updated with any developments that are important for your studies. Until then, take care and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.

Kind regards,

On behalf of the degree directors of Biosciences, Rob de Boer and Biomedical Sciences, Harold van Rijen

Spiros T. Pachis, PhD Policy officer GSLS-BMS | UMC Utrecht & Utrecht University | Visiting address: Hijmans van den Berghgebouw, Room 4.04a, Universiteitsweg 98 | Post address: HB 4.05, Postbus 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht | 06-25777028 |s.t.pachis-2@umcutrecht.nl |

09-04-2020                                                                                                                

Subject: Update on courses for period 4, live webinars and FAQs

Dear Master’s student,

We would like to update you on the GSLS guidelines for the continuation of your studies during the Coronavirus pandemic. These have been sent to you last Wednesday, the 1st of April, and mentioned in the live webinars with the director of the GSLS on Friday, the 3rd of April.

Available spots in period 4 courses
A list of courses with available spots has been posted on the studyguide. You are still able to enroll in these even though the official deadlines have passed. Please email the course contact person to express your interest and they will reply to you with a definitive answer. Please keep an eye on this page in the coming days and stay updated, as more open spots may be posted while other courses will become full.

Webinars with GSLS director are available to watch
Last Friday, the 3rd of April, the director of the GSLS, together with the help of panel members from within the GSLS organization, held two live webinars – one for Biosciences students and one for Biomedical Sciences students. In these webinars, the measures that have been implemented in response to the Coronavirus pandemic were briefly discussed, options and suggestions for the continuation of your studies were laid out and students were able to ask questions on a variety of topics. These webinars are now available to (re-)watch on the studyguide.

Frequently Asked Questions section is available on the studyguide
Based on the questions that were posed during the live webinars and also on questions that we have received in private correspondence, we have created a section on the studyguide with Frequently Asked Questions. Here you can find questions and answers relating to the continuation of your studies, subdivided into main themes.

We realize these are strange times and we are here to support you in any way possible! Stay safe everyone.

Kind regards,

On behalf of the GSLS

01-04-2020                                                                                                                 

Download the attachment that came with this email here90.93 KB.

Subject: Important information for GSLS Master's students regarding your studies

Dear GSLS Master’s student of the faculty of Science,

We would like to give you an update regarding the measures around the new coronavirus.

Join the webinar with the Degree Director – Friday the 3rd of April between 10:00 – 10:45.
A short webinar will take place this Friday via Zoom. During this, the Degree Director of Biosciences, Prof. Rob de Boer, will talk briefly about the current situation regarding the measures taken to fight the new coronavirus. Moreover, he will outline the options available to students in order to continue with their studies. There will also be time for students to pose their questions, concerns or uncertainties.

The topics discussed during the webinar are explained in more detail in this email and the attached document, as well as in the studyguide.

Please click on this link to join the webinar.

No physical educational activities till at least June 1st
Utrecht University has decided to suspend all physical educational activities until at least June 1st due to the new Corona virus. You are expressly requested to not use any university spaces for self-study and this includes lecture halls and computer learning rooms.

The measures taken, affect research projects and courses. Courses (as well as the assessments/exams) are to be offered online until the end of Period 4. Exceptions might be granted in cases where parts of the education or the assessment can absolutely not be replaced by a good online alternative (but only after June 1st).

We, the GSLS, are working hard to come up with alternative strategies to keep our education going and to prevent study delays as much as possible without compromising the quality of your education.

Here, we describe guidelines and options on how to go forward in your studies during the coming months.

Regarding courses
-          All official deadlines for course enrolment for Period 4 have expired on March 31st, as communicated on Friday the 27th of March.

-          Moving forward, we are currently making an inventory of the capacity in terms of spots for each course and increasing it where possible. We will do our absolute best in coordinating this to ensure interested students can take available spots in courses.

           o   A list of available spots in Period 4 courses is being generated and will be placed on the studyguide here. Instructions on how to apply can be found here as well.

-          Additionally, the GSLS allows its students to follow online courses that are offered outside the GSLS and to receive credits for them as part of their electives. For more information on the requirements of online courses and the application procedure, refer to the studyguide.

Regarding Writing Assignments
-          Writing Assignments can start or will continue from home, using online communication with the supervisor/examiner.

-          If you have a medical examiner/supervisor who is now too busy or run into other problems please read the information in the attachment90.93 KB.

Regarding research projects
All physical activities regarding Research Projects in UU buildings will be suspended until at least June 1, 2020. In line with UU policy, the physical activities for all projects in buildings of the UMC Utrecht, Hubrecht Institute and Princess Maxima Center are also suspended until June 1, 2020.

-          For research at external institutes or companies: please follow the policy of the institution or company where you are doing your project. Contact your local supervisor in order to be informed about the policy. If you are unable to come to an agreement with your host institute, please discuss with your UU/UMCU examiner and contact the Research Project Coordinator.

-          If your institute (external or UU-related institute) opens before June 1, 2020 AND both you and your supervisor agree that it is safe to start again, please contact your Research project coordinator to discuss if this is possible.

The GSLS together with the Board of Examiners, has created different scenario’s with advice on how to prevent study delay, now that you cannot be physically present and have to work remote. Please read the attachment90.93 KB carefully.

The options include suggestions for activities that you can do within your project, outside your project and altering your project (e.g. change the number of credits). We have also included an advice when delay is inevitable. In the attachment90.93 KB, you will also find information about who you should contact in every specific situation.

MFA token for Master’s students doing a scientific internship at the UMC
If you are currently following a scientific internship at the UMC, you can apply for a MFA token (= VPN) internship / traineeship account. With this, you can work from home and continue your scientific internship on the UMC server. Please only request an MFA token when this is strictly necessary.  How do you arrange this?

  • Ask for approval from your internship supervisor / (training) coordinator.
  • Submit your application to the decentralized ICT department of the division where you are doing your internship.

Student wellbeing
The coronavirus messes up a lot of lives, even when you are not sick. Studying at home, not seeing any friends, maybe being far away from your family - that can confront you with all sorts of uncertainties, for instance financially, or perhaps mentally. In this completely new situation, everyone has to look for new answers. The UU has listed some tips that might help you in these times here. Also, you can always contact the academic counsellors for support.

Kind regards,
On behalf of the Graduate School of Life Sciences

01-04-2020                                                                                                                 

Download the attachment that came with this email here90.93 KB.

Subject: Important information for GSLS Master's students regarding your studies

Dear GSLS Biomedical Sciences Master’s student,

We would like to give you an update regarding the measures around the new coronavirus.

Join the webinar with the Degree Director – Friday the 3rd of April between 11:00 – 11:45.
A short webinar will take place this Friday via Zoom. During this, the Degree Director of Biomedical Sciences, Prof. Harold van Rijen, will talk briefly about the current situation regarding the measures taken to fight the new coronavirus. Moreover, he will outline the options available to students in order to continue with their studies. There will also be time for students to pose their questions, concerns or uncertainties.

The topics discussed during the webinar are explained in more detail in this email and the attached document, as well as in the studyguide.

Please click on this link to join the webinar.

No physical educational activities till at least June 1st
Utrecht University has decided to suspend all physical educational activities until at least June 1st due to the new Corona virus. You are expressly requested to not use any university spaces for self-study and this includes lecture halls and computer learning rooms.

The measures taken, affect research projects and courses. Courses (as well as the assessments/exams) are to be offered online until the end of Period 4. Exceptions might be granted in cases where parts of the education or the assessment can absolutely not be replaced by a good online alternative (but only after June 1st).

We, the GSLS, are working hard to come up with alternative strategies to keep our education going and to prevent study delays as much as possible without compromising the quality of your education.

Here, we describe guidelines and options on how to go forward in your studies during the coming months.

Regarding courses
-          All official deadlines for course enrolment for Period 4 have expired on March 31st, as communicated on Friday the 27th of March.

-          Moving forward, we are currently making an inventory of the capacity in terms of spots for each course and increasing it where possible. We will do our absolute best in coordinating this to ensure interested students can take available spots in courses.

           o   A list of available spots in Period 4 courses is being generated and will be placed on the studyguide here. Instructions on how to apply can be found here as well.

-          Additionally, the GSLS allows its students to follow online courses that are offered outside the GSLS and to receive credits for them as part of their electives. For more information on the requirements of online courses and the application procedure, refer to the studyguide.

Regarding Writing Assignments
-          Writing Assignments can start or will continue from home, using online communication with the supervisor/examiner.

-          If you have a medical examiner/supervisor who is now too busy or run into other problems please read the information in the attachment90.93 KB.

Regarding research projects
All physical activities regarding Research Projects in UU buildings will be suspended until at least June 1, 2020. In line with UU policy, the physical activities for all projects in buildings of the UMC Utrecht, Hubrecht Institute and Princess Maxima Center are also suspended until June 1, 2020.

-          For research at external institutes or companies: please follow the policy of the institution or company where you are doing your project. Contact your local supervisor in order to be informed about the policy. If you are unable to come to an agreement with your host institute, please discuss with your UU/UMCU examiner and contact the Research Project Coordinator.

-          If your institute (external or UU-related institute) opens before June 1, 2020 AND both you and your supervisor agree that it is safe to start again, please contact your Research project coordinator to discuss if this is possible.

The GSLS together with the Board of Examiners, has created different scenario’s with advice on how to prevent study delay, now that you cannot be physically present and have to work remote. Please read the attachment90.93 KB carefully.

The options include suggestions for activities that you can do within your project, outside your project and altering your project (e.g. change the number of credits). We have also included an advice when delay is inevitable. In the attachment90.93 KB, you will also find information about who you should contact in every specific situation.

MFA token for Master’s students doing a scientific internship at the UMC
If you are currently following a scientific internship at the UMC, you can apply for a MFA token (= VPN) internship / traineeship account. With this, you can work from home and continue your scientific internship on the UMC server. Please only request an MFA token when this is strictly necessary.  How do you arrange this?

  • Ask for approval from your internship supervisor / (training) coordinator.
  • Submit your application to the decentralized ICT department of the division where you are doing your internship.

Student wellbeing
The coronavirus messes up a lot of lives, even when you are not sick. Studying at home, not seeing any friends, maybe being far away from your family - that can confront you with all sorts of uncertainties, for instance financially, or perhaps mentally. In this completely new situation, everyone has to look for new answers. The UU has listed some tips that might help you in these times here. Also, you can always contact the academic counsellors for support.

Kind regards,
On behalf of the Graduate School of Life Sciences

Dear student,

You are currently involved in a research project or writing assignment. Due to the unprecedented situation that we are living, our medical doctors and hospital staff are experiencing really busy times and we do not know yet until what level the situation will keep evolving.

Do you have a medical examiner/supervisor that is now preoccupied and/or too busy with the tasks in the hospital and you therefore need to change examiner/supervisor/research topic? If this is the case, the Board of Examiners will prioritize your request and inform all parties.

Try to discuss or inform your current supervisor or examiner if the situation allows. They can help you suggesting a new suitable examiner/supervisor. Your Programme Coordinator can also suggest you potential new examiners/research topics. Please submit the request to BoardofExaminersGSLS@umcutrecht.nl (find more information about the procedure in the StudyGuide) with the approval of (at least) your Programme Coordinator and your new examiner. Motivate your request for the change explaining your current situation. 

Best regards,

Tania Morán Luengo

Tania Morán Luengo, PhD | Research Project Coordinator & Policy Officer | Graduate School of Life Sciences – Biomedical Sciences | UMC Utrecht & Utrecht University | Hijmans van den Berghgebouw HB4.04, Universiteitsweg 98 | Post address HB4.05, Postbus 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht | T: 0611619289 | t.moranluengo@umcutrecht.nl

Dear GSLS student,

This e-mail is specifically directed to all students within the Graduate School of Life Sciences. We realize that the current coronavirus situation is very worrisome for you all. Behind the scenes we are all working very hard on solutions. Right now, we would like to give you an update from the GSLS concerning the adjustments in education due to the coronavirus. We realize that the developments are moving very fast. This e-mail describes the status and decisions at this moment. We are adhering to the UU/UMC Utrecht policy.

Research Projects and Writing Assignments
 

General guidelines

Last weekend, the UU advised all students who are on an internship abroad to return to the Netherlands. As of today, the UU asks all the students doing a research project or internship, both at the UU, UMC Utrecht and externally, to stay home. By sending all students home, all physical activities (practical work) of research projects and internships will be stopped. The GSLS supports this decision and asks all her students to adhere to UU/UMC Utrecht policy.

Advice to prevent study delay

In case the practical work of your internship is halted for a few weeks, try to work from home on your project where possible. For example, work on your report, the introduction of your project, literature research, and data analysis. If a student is done with analysis of the data collected up to now or cannot do it (from home), we advise the student to do a more elaborate literature review to strengthen the introduction section of their report. Alternatively, all students are encouraged to start with their writing assignment if delay becomes too significant. All examiners will be informed on this as well. This way we can avoid study delay up to a certain extent. Discuss all these options with your examiner, supervisor, or group leader. The measures are based on the current information that projects can continue after April 6th. With spending this time on strengthening the theoretical component rather than the practical work, the learning goals of the research projects and business internships are not at risk. Should the corona measures take longer than April 6th, we will review whether additional measures are needed. For now, the assessment criteria and percentages remain unchanged.

Research projects at the UU/UMC Utrecht

All scientific internships/research projects at the UU/UMC Utrecht have been suspended until at least April 6th. We are currently unable to indicate whether the internships can be resumed after this date and what the exact consequences will be. This information will follow as soon as we know more.

Research projects in the Netherlands elsewhere (outside UU or UMC Utrecht)

Students who are performing an internship/research project elsewhere in the Netherlands are also urged to stay at home and stop the physical activities of their internship for the moment, regardless of the policy of their host institution.

Research projects abroad

The UU advises all students who are on an internship/research project abroad to return to the Netherlands.International UU-students (in internships abroad) are advised to return to the Netherlands or alternatively to their home country. All students abroad should have received an e-mail from the UU last Sunday with this information. UU students can declare the costs made for their return with the UU. It is not clear at this point whether there will be a maximum refundable amount. The UU is currently working on a procedure regarding the reimbursement of the travelling costs made for their return. You will be informed by e-mail.

The same returning policy applies for international students who are enrolled in a Master’s program in the Netherlands, doing their internship in the Netherlands and willing to return to their home country. Questions about visa’s etc. should be sent to the International Office.

When you are abroad or returning: contact coronavirus@uu.nl

All students who decide to return and also those who decide not to return to the Netherlands or their home country, are asked to contact coronavirus@uu.nl. This team is keeping an overview of which students have returned and they will manage the eventual costs.

Writing assignment

The writing assignment can continue as usual, but now from home. For writing assignments, we expect this will not affect the progress of this education and supervision/guidance can be done online, we therefore do not take additional measures. The Board of Examiners will prioritize approval for new writing assignments.
 

Courses

The UU and UMCU have both decided to cancel all face-to-face education until April 20th (end of period 3). We are currently working together with the course coordinators to decide which courses can continue using digital material. Most courses will be able to continue digitally.
                           

What if you get a study delay?

If you have a study delay due to the discontinuation of the internship or if a course has been cancelled, this is considered ‘circumstances beyond control’ (‘force majeure’). You can appeal for financial support.
 

What do we ask from you?

We ask all students to be creative and flexible under these unique circumstances. We trust that students and their examiner(s) will make good agreements on how to spend the upcoming couple of weeks (in consultation with the external supervisor when applicable). Therefore, additional approval of the Board of Examiners is not needed in those cases. Should you have any questions or doubts regarding this, please to contact the Board of Examiners.
 

Useful websites and contact information

The latest corona-policy from the UU:
https://www.uu.nl/en/organisation/practical-matters/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates

Frequently asked questions:
https://www.uu.nl/en/organisation/practical-matters/coronavirus/coronavirus-students-education

Updates on the GSLS study guide:
https://studyguidelifesciences.nl/coronaupdates

Contact Information BMS:
General contact: infobms@umcutrecht.nl
Research Project Coordinator: ResearchProjectCoordinator@umcutrecht.nl
Board of Examiners: boardofexaminersGSLS@umcutrecht.nl
International Office: international.office@umcutrecht.nl

Contact Information Biosciences:
General contact: sciences.gsls@uu.nl
Research Project Coordinator: science.researchprojectcoordinator@uu.nl
Board of Examiners: boardofexaminersgsls@uu.nl
International Office: Science.internationaloffice@uu.nl

We wish you all the best of luck in these exceptional times and would like to thank you for your cooperation. Stay healthy.

On behalf of Rob de Boer and Harold van Rijen

This announcement is relevant only to Biomedical Sciences students who are doing an internship outside the Netherlands.

Dear GSLS Master’s student,

You are currently doing a research project abroad. As you have read in previous communications, due to the critical situation with coronavirus the UU has advised you to return to the Netherlands or alternatively to your home country. Please follow the updates in the UU-website.

Together with this email you should have received an attachment for your external supervisor from Prof. H.V.M. van Rijen (Chairman of the Board of Studies, GSLS). We have composed an email for your supervisor at the host institution to be up to date about the UU decisions regarding coronavirus.

If you have not received such an email and attachment, you are kindly requested to contact your research project coordinator.

Kind regards,

On behalf of Harold van Rijen,
Tania Morán Luengo

13-03-2020                                                                                                                

Subject: Important: educational activities are cancelled – Coronavirus

Dear student,

As of Friday 13th of March 2020, the executive board of the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) has decided to cancel the physical educational activities of the Faculty of Medicine, Utrecht University. This decision concerns the following study programmes: Biomedical Sciences (bachelor and Master), Medicine and Clinical Health Sciences.

This means that all physical educational activities such as lectures, seminars, practical training activities and tests will not take place. Students will not have access to the Hijmans van den Bergh building. Consequently, the study landscape of the Hijmans van den Bergh building is also closed. In case you are a student of the Faculty of Medicine, you are also not allowed to follow classes at other faculties of Utrecht University.

This action is applicable from Friday 13th of March 2020 with a provisional end date of Tuesday  31st March. This decision has been taken to prevent further coronavirus infections as much as possible and to ensure that patientcare can continue at all times.

Continuing educational activities

All study programmes of the Faculty of Medicine are working on solutions to continue their education in a different way and to possibly prevent any study delay. Together with teachers, the study programme is currently working on digital education methods.  Further information on these solutions and measures will be announced through your students e-mail address.

Information – Biomedical Sciences programme

  • Further information about next week’s tests will follow as soon as possible.
  • Research internships can be continued and students have to follow the Corona policy of their department.
  • The same applies for internships abroad. However, we advise you to keep an eye on the travel advice of the specific country, by downloading the travel app (Android of iOS) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to register yourself. By doing so, you will be immediately informed in case the travel advice changes and you will be able to follow the instructions and advice of the authorities. Should you have any questions or doubts regarding your stay abroad? Please contact the International Office: international.office@umcutrecht.nl
  • If you need or want to stop your internship, try to continue as much as possible by working remotely (e.g. for data analysis, reading literature, writing etc)
  • Will you start a new internship before 31st of March 2020, please contact the following persons:

Other study programmes

Are you not a student of the Faculty of Medicine? The same applies to you: all physical educational activities of the Faculty of Medicine have been cancelled. In addition, we kindly request you to follow up on the policy of your own faculty.

For internships which will be continued: If you have influenza-like symptoms you need to stay at home and inform  your supervisor and the STIP desk via STIP@umcutrecht.nl.

In case of any doubt of a possible Coronavirus infection, we advise you to call your GP or the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) for advice and medical care.

Questions?

Should you have any questions regarding this e-mail, please contact Study Information Point (STIP). STIP is available on working days from 9 am till 5 pm.

Phone number:          +31 (0)88 75 53478

e-mail address:          STIP@umcutrecht.nl

Kind regards,

Administration Biomedical Sciences