Education at ERIBA

Research in ERIBA is strongly connected with education and training of the future generation of Biology-of-Aging researchers. ERIBA aims to be “the place to be” for the best students by offering comprehensive training in some of the Biology-of-Aging laboratories in the world. We have developed a cutting‐edge graduate curriculum in Aging biology in which students will be exposed to a wide variety of model systems and approaches. The extensive training experience of the international faculty at ERIBA in other Research Institutes world-wide ensures an optimal educational education and research environment.

[[Master students

Master’s students interested in pursuing ageing-related research are encouraged to enrol in one of the following programmes offered at the University of Groningen. ERIBA PIs are heavily involved in teaching in both programmes.

  • Biomedical Sciences (within this programme, it is possible to specialize in the biology of ageing)

  • MSc Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment (MMIT

Master’s students interested in doing a research internship at ERIBA should contact individual ERIBA PIs.]]

[[PhD Students

PhD students at ERIBA must complete courses, attend weekly ERIBA seminars, give one presentation each year within this seminar series, and conduct regular Supervisory Committee meetings. During their tenure, the student will have conducted independent and original research that will form their thesis. In addition, they will have demonstrated in-depth knowledge of their scientific field. While there is no strict requirement for their work to be published in peer-reviewed literature, it is expected that the work done is of publishable quality. The overwhelming majority of ERIBA PhD students have one or more first-author papers that have resulted from their research. Typically, a PhD thesis contains an introduction, two to three data chapters, and a final chapter of conclusions/future directions. Students should aim to complete their PhD in 4 years. The overall curriculum is overseen by ERIBA’s Graduate Coordinator.


Students interested in pursuing a PhD degree at ERIBA should contact individual ERIBA PIs to inquire about potential positions. Open PhD positions are typically advertised on the ERIBA website (

Research Institutes

Research within the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) is organized into five Research Institutes. All PhD students must be registered within one of these institutes. The student and supervisor will choose together the most appropriate institute for the student. These institutes help connect ERIBA to the rest of the UMCG, which is mutually beneficial in terms of knowledge transfer and collaborations. The five Research Institutes are:

1. Cancer Research Center Groningen (CRCG; central theme: Oncology)
2. Research Institute BCN-BRAIN (central theme: Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences)
3. Research Institute GUIDE (central theme: Chronic Diseases and Drug Exploration)
4. Research Institute SHARE (central theme: Health Research)
5. Research Institute W.J. Kolff (central theme: Biomaterials)


All PhD students must participate in the following courses offered by the Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GSMS):

1. Managing Your PhD (Project Management)
2. Ethics of Research and Scientific Integrity for Researchers (not obligatory for students who took a scientific integrity course during their master’s programme)
3. Research Data Management Awareness Workshop
4. ERIBA PhD course on the biology of ageing

Students are encouraged to enrol in other GSMS courses in consultation with their supervisor. A list of all GSMS courses can be found here: In particular, ERIBA PhD students may find the following GSMS courses particularly useful:

1. Cellular Imaging Light
2. Cellular Imaging Advanced
3. Genomics Data Analysis for Biologists
4. Introduction into R
5. Laboratory Animal Science (compulsory for anyone involved in the design and implementation of laboratory animal testing)
6. Presentation Skills
7. Scientific Writing for biomedical/translational research (Scientific Writing A-Z)

It is also possible to enrol in courses outside of the GSMS (e.g. Summer Schools, courses offered by other faculties, courses offered by other universities).

Supervisory Committee

At ERIBA, each PhD student has a Supervisory Committee, which is composed of the primary supervisor and two additional PIs. At least one member of the committee must be a full professor. If either of the additional PIs are actively engaged in the student’s research through a collaboration, an additional committee member must be selected (i.e. two members of the committee should not be collaborators). The members of the Supervisory Committee will be chosen by the primary supervisor in consultation with the student, and approved by the Graduate Coordinator. The first committee meeting should take place within six to eight months of the start of the PhD. Subsequent meetings must take place once every 12 months. More frequent meetings will occur if the student or Supervisory Committee determines it necessary. If the duration of the PhD exceeds 4 years, additional meetings must occur every 6 months.

During the first committee meeting, a decision is made about whether the student has shown sufficient progress to warrant continuation in the PhD programme. If there has not been sufficient progress, another meeting must take place before the one-year mark of the PhD. If there is still insufficient progress at this subsequent meeting, the student will be expelled from the PhD programme.

At least one week before each committee meeting, the student will distribute a written progress report to the committee members. The progress report should be a maximum of two pages (single-spaced, not including references). It should contain:

· A short overview of the background and main goals of the research.
· A summary of what has been accomplished since the previous meeting, highlighting publications that have been submitted, accepted, or are in preparation.
· An outline of proposed work for the following year, unless the student is in their final year, in which case the student should lay out the timeline for tasks related to the completion of their thesis.

At each committee meeting, the student will give a 20-minute presentation (not including interruptions) on their experimental progress. The student is expected to answer questions and participate in a discussion about the research. A discussion about future career plans must also take place. At the end of the meeting, the student is asked to leave the room. Committee members can then candidly discuss their overall impression of the student’s progress. The student is then invited back to the room for discussion and feedback, to provide recommendations, and to review any concerns regarding the project and/or the student. An assessment report is then filled out, which the student and all committee members must sign. The student ensures that the student, the primary supervisor, and the Graduate Coordinator each get a copy of this report. The meeting concludes with the primary supervisor leaving the room to give a chance for the PhD student to raise any issues they may have with their supervisor.

Weekly ERIBA Seminars

All PhD students and postdocs are expected to present once a year (except during their first year) in the weekly ERIBA seminar series. This is an important forum to meet with peers and gain experience in presenting and critiquing ongoing research. Attendance at these seminars is mandatory. After the seminars, the PhD student presenter(s) must remain in the room, along with the members of their Supervisory Committee(s), to get feedback on their presentation(s). It is the responsibility of the PhD student to inform their committee members of the date of the presentation (as soon as it is known). The PhD student should also send out a reminder email to their committee members a few days before the seminar.

PhD Thesis & Examination

When nearing completion of experimental work, the student must schedule a Supervisory Committee meeting to obtain approval to write their PhD thesis. This meeting can be one of the regularly planned Supervisory Committee meetings and should be at least 7 months before the proposed date of the PhD defence. As a guideline, the student should allot approximately 3.5 months to write the thesis. It is expected that the student will consult with their supervisor and, where appropriate, with Supervisory Committee members throughout the planning and writing of the thesis.

After the PhD student has written their thesis, and it is approved by the supervisors, an Assessment Committee will be assembled, on the advice of the primary supervisor, to assess the quality of the thesis. The Assessment Committee will be assembled according to the guidelines from the University of Groningen. In short, the Assessment Committee consists of three full professors who have not co-authored with the PhD student and has at least one professor from the University of Groningen and one professor from another university in the Netherlands or another country. Professors from foreign universities must be of a standard at least equal to the Dutch standard.

As soon as possible after being notified of the decision of the Assessment Committee, the Dean will give the PhD student permission to proceed to the defence and will appoint a PhD Examining Committee on the recommendation of the primary supervisor and according to the guidelines from the University of Groningen. The defence will then take place in the presence of this committee. The committee will include at least five individuals. There can be a maximum of 2 non-full professors. Ideally, the members of the Assessment Committee will also be in the PhD Examining Committee.

A more detailed description of the PhD regulations from the University of Groningen can be found here:

PhD Timeline

Within 1 week of start of PhD Meet with the Graduate Coordinator
Register on Hora Finita
Register with one of the five Research Institutes
Within 6 months of start of PhD Assemble Supervisory Committee
6-8 months after start of PhD First Supervisory Committee meeting
18-20 months after start of PhD Second Supervisory Committee meeting
30-32 months after start of PhD Third Supervisory Committee meeting
At least 7 months before intended date of PhD ceremony Obtain permission to write PhD thesis from the Supervisory Committee.
At least 3.5 months before intended date of PhD ceremony Supervisors register approval of PhD thesis through Hora Finita
Proposal for composition of the Assessment Committee
Arrange provisional date of PhD ceremony with PhD degree registration office
At least 2 months before intended date of PhD ceremony Apply for ISBN
Supervisors register approval in Hora Finita
At least 8 weeks before proposed date of PhD ceremony Announcement of Assessment Committee’s decision regarding permission of PhD student to proceed to the PhD ceremony
At least 5 weeks before proposed date of PhD ceremony Send information regarding publicity to Communication Office through Hora Finita
At least 3 weeks before proposed date of PhD ceremony Send 4 printed copies of PhD thesis, accompanying propositions, and title pages to PhD degree registration office
Send printed copy of PhD thesis and accompanying propositions to GSMS
Send electronic versions of PhD thesis, accompanying propositions and abstracts, and the licence agreement
PhD ceremony


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