Research project / business internship
Research covers a large part of your Master's programme and can take the following forms:
A research project consisting of experimental research, which is completed by writing a report and giving a final oral presentation. This can be either a major research project, which is a central component of all programmes, or a profile research project as part of the profile you have selected.
For Science and Business Management students: a business internship consisting of practical work within the field of business, which is completed by writing a report and giving a final presentation.
More information about academic versus business internships? Listen to episode 14 of the Radio Life Sciences podcast.
The major research project has to be conducted at Utrecht University (UU) or UMC Utrecht (UMCU) (including the Hubrecht Institute and the Princess Máxima Center).
Depending on which profile you select, you might choose to do an additional profile research project. These, as well as business internships can be done outside the UU/UMCU, in the Netherlands or abroad, at universities as well as private companies.
There are different supervisory roles, depending on where you perform you research project. For all projects, you need to find an examiner within UU/UMCU (cannot be a postdoc or PhD candidate).
Projects within UU/UMCU
The examiner has final responsibility for your project and the final grading. The daily supervision is done by the examiner or one or more experts in the field. If the daily supervisor is still rather junior (e.g., PhD candidate or postdoc), a senior scientist (e.g., their own supervisor) must provide support.
The second reviewer is ideally not directly involved in the project, and grades your research report and final presentation.
Projects outside UU/UMCU
The examiner has final responsibility for your project and the final grading. The daily supervision is either done by the supervisor host institute (a senior scientist), or by a PhD candidate or postdoc supported by the supervisor host institute.
Both examiner and supervisor host institute grade the research report and final presentation, therefore a second reviewer is not required.
Your research project or business internship is completed by writing a report and giving a final presentation.
The supervisor determines the format of the written report.
Research reports include an abstract, plain language summary*, introduction, materials & methods, results, conclusion & discussion, and references.
Business internship reports include a management summary, plain language summary*, introduction, company analysis, market analysis, research conducted, results, discussion, conclusions and recommendations, references, and a personal experience report.
*A plain language summary (layman summary) is a ~500-word summary specifically aimed at informing laymen about the content of the project. The target audience is able to understand biology at high school level.
The final presentation is given at the research group where you have performed your research. If the research project is performed outside UU/UMCU, the presentation has to be given both at the host institute and the department of the examiner. Alternatively, the examiner can be present during the presentation at the host institute.
Research project type
Number of EC
Major research project
General Research profile
Minor Medical Imaging
27 / 30
19 / 21 weeks
8 / 8.5 months
The minimal duration of your project is in the table under 'Length' (1 EC = 28 hours). This includes finishing your report and presentation.
If you calculate the duration with this number of weeks, all days spend on holiday and courses should be added to the end date. We estimate there will be approximately 3 weeks spent on regular days off, time while you wait for your assessment, and holidays. Therefore, while planning your programme take into account that in practice a major research project takes 9 months (39 weeks) and a General Research profile project 6 months (26 weeks).
The project should finish within the maximal duration. This includes writing the report and preparing the final presentation. This does not include the 10 working days for assessment by your examiner and second reviewer or supervisor host institute.
After finishing his/her research project the student is capable of:
- Translating a life sciences problem into a relevant research question, suitable for research development or product design.
- Designing a suitable research plan to test the formulated research questions, according to methodological and scientific standards.
- Independently performing research, with the required accuracy. Graduates are able to handle, analyse, interpret and evaluate the empirically derived data in a correct manner.
- Discussing the outcomes of empirical research and linking them with scientific theories.
- Indicating the importance of research activities for solving a life sciences question or problem, if applicable from a social perspective.
- Critically reflecting on their own research work in life sciences, from a social perspective.
- Comprehensibly reporting research results orally and in writing, to specialised and non-specialised audiences in an international context.
For more information and guidelines consult the:
- GSLS Master research project guide for students
- GSLS Master research project guide for supervisors
- OSIRIS Case - GSLS instructions for students
- OSIRIS Case - GSLS instructions for examiners
General guidelines for writing a scientific paper:
- Guidelines for writing a scientific paper, Jiskoot 2002
- How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper | arini ruku
- English for Writing Research Papers Second Edition | Rahul Kumar
- Clinical Chemistry Guide to Scientific Writing | AACC.org
- Purdue OWL // Purdue Writing Lab
- Academic Phrasebank | The University of Manchester
Check the requirements in the master research project guide (will be updated soon) before you start looking for a suitable research group for your project.
Use your own network
- Get suggestions from your programme coordinator about interesting groups and projects.
- Ask teachers from courses you liked about their research (group).
- Talk to (older) fellow students and alumni about their research projects.
- The Life Sciences Representatives (LSR) have also compiled an internship database in which you can look back at past topics and get in contact with students for more information on their project/research group. You can find this in the contents folder of your Blackboard community for the course Life Sciences Academy.
- Talk to lab chiefs, scientists, professors, and/or postdocs.
Tips for searching
- Visit the websites of the UU, UMCU, or affiliated institutes like Hubrecht Institute, Westerdijk Institute, NIO, etc.
- Visit the websites of the different Master’s programmes. They often have an overview of the research groups involved in the programme.
- Check UU Career Services. They host an internship database, which includes some interesting projects at companies within the Netherlands. Internship offers are also regularly posted via the GSLS Career Servies LinkedIn page.
- Check KonJoin UU for an overview of available research projects. Note: not all available research projects are on KonJoin.
- Visit the research project market that is organized every January. Because of the timing this is probably best suited for a project in your second year.
Tips for approaching researchers
- Send an e-mail with a clear motivation for the research topic or specialization of the supervisor. Send a separate e-mail to each supervisor or project. Think of it as a job application but keep it short (max. 300 words). Briefly state who you are, what knowledge and experience (subjects/internships/previous education) you bring to the table and why you would like to do research with this research group.
- You can contact multiple supervisors at the same time. Some will not respond and others might not have a place.
- The normal response time for an e-mail is 5 working days. Be polite, and give your receiver double the time. After two weeks, send a friendly reminder as a forwarded e-mail of the first message. Then the supervisor does not have to search for your first message. Make sure to start on time so you can allow the research groups the time to answer your e-mail.
- If you are not sure who to approach within a department, you can always ask your programme coordinator. He or she will often know how to get in touch with the group.
- If you have already sent several mails without positive results, contact your academic counsellor, career officer, or programme coordinator to discuss the content of your e-mail.
Other things to consider
- Think about the topic and type of research you are interested in (e.g. fundamental, translational, or clinical).
- Choose a project within the scope of your Master’s programme.
- Discuss your plan with your programme coordinator.
- Major research projects has to be done at UU/UMCU. Research projects of SBM, Medical Imaging, and Epidemiology (Postgraduate) can partly be conducted outside UU/UMCU, but only in cooperation with UU/UMCU. Profile research projects can be done everywhere.
- For all projects you need to find an examiner within UU/UMCU.
Make sure you meet both your examiner and your supervisor (can be the same person), to see if you get along and to discuss the project. This includes:
- Agreements on the content of the project;
- Start and end date (incl. time taken off for holidays, courses, etc.);
- Activities that you will participate on within the research group;
- Other details that can be found here.
If you would like to use the bi-directional assessment throughout your project, the beginning of the project is the perfect moment to have the expectations meeting. More information can be found below.
The quality and suitability of your research project is assessed by your programme coordinator and the Board of Examiners (BoE).
Since September 2022 the whole application procedure for research projects is digitized in OSIRIS Case. You can access OSIRIS Case via OSIRIS Student. Once you applied for the project, the examiner, programme coordinator, and Board of Examiners have to approve the application. They can request additional information if the application is not complete. You can monitor the status and the current actor of your application in OSIRIS Case. When all parties approved your application, you will receive an approval e-mail of the research project coordinator.
Contact OSIRIS Case
Both the digital procedure and the manual were created with the utmost care, but they may be incomplete or contain some inconsistencies. We appreciate your feedback, so please feel free to contact us on OSIRISCaseGSLS@uu.nl about your findings or in the event any issues occur.
For other comments or questions please contact your Master's administration office.
Project outside UU/UMCU
Projects outside UU/UMCU require signing of an internship contract. More information can be found below in the section External projects / going abroad.
UMC Utrecht internship account
For projects at UMC Utrecht (UMCU) you need an UMCU internship account. With the UMCU internship account you can work on the computers of your research group. Note: this account is different from the account that allows you to work on computers in the Hijmans van den Bergh building.
Within one week after you have received the approval of the Board of Examiners for your project , an UMCU 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 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 you finished your project the specific rights coupled to your UMCU internship account will be terminated. Should you do a second research project, you can use your UMCU internship account again. After graduating, your UMCU internship account will be closed.
Questions? Please e-mail STIP@umcutrecht.nl.
UMC Utrecht card
Besides the UMCU internship account, you also need a UMCU 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an e-mail when you can go to the Facility Service Center to obtain the UMCU card. Note: you can only obtain the UMCU 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 couple your UMCU internship account to the UMCU card to be able to print via Follow Me during your project. In the UMCU Study Landscape you have to print without your UMCU card, please follow the instructions that are available at the printer. Printing via your UMCU internship account is only allowed while you are doing your 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 UMCU 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 you start your 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.
If you are going to 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 Ooffice with the date of the HiX training. Please confirm your attendance in reply to this e-mail.
A mandatory interim assessment should take place 2-3 months after the start of your project. Your examiner and supervisor are advised to use the rubric for research skills to give you feedback on your work, progress, and performance. (BINN students use other rubrics for the General Research profile that can be found here. SBM students can find the rubrics for the business internships here.)
- For projects at UU/UMCU: the meeting takes place with your examiner (preferably together with the daily supervisor).
- For projects outside UU/UMCU: the meeting is between you, your supervisor host institute, and your examiner (preferably in a single meeting).
The interim assessment is different from regular work discussions. You are encouraged to schedule more assessment moments with your supervisor. The bi-directional assessment (more information below) is a newly developed tool to promote open communication and feedback between student and supervisor. You are encouraged to use it.
Submitting your results
Since the interim assessment is a mandatory part of your project, you have to upload a report of this meeting in OSIRIS Case*. There are two options:
- If your examiner and supervisor used the rubrics to give you feedback, upload a PDF of the highlighted rubric signed by your examiner.
- If no rubrics were used, write and upload a short report (½ A4) using either the interim assessment form - inside (projects at UU/UMCU) or the interim assessment form - outside (projects outside UU/UMCU).
*Did you apply using the old PDF forms and is your project not registered in OSIRIS Case? Email the documents to the Master’s administration office.
The final assessment is primarily based on an evaluation of 3 elements: research skills, the written report, and the final presentation. In principle, these elements make up 60%, 30% and 10% of the final mark, respectively. All elements have to be awarded with at least a 5.5 in order to pass the final examination. You have one chance for re-examination of each insufficient component. Student and examiner should discuss the deadlines and requirements for the re-examination and put it in writing.
Your written report will be checked for plagiarism via Ouriginal. Upload the final version of your report as a Word file without your reference list to Ouriginal. Find the instructions here. You can do this yourself or your examiner can upload your report. If there are any restrictions on publication, the supervisor/examiner should upload the final report themselves so that it can be done under embargo.
The printed report (summary) from Ouriginal should be uploaded in OSIRIS Case by your examiner during the final assessment.
Is the percentage of matching text found by Ouriginal >10%? The examiner should write an explanation why this is not due to plagiarism. This explanation should be uploaded in OSIRIS Case as well.
To detect plagiarism in source code texts MOSS (Measure Of Software Similarity) can be used. Other tools such as Marble or JPlag can also be used. Examiners need to check the source code for plagiarism and determine the appropriate tool.
Your examiner has to provide a motivation for the final grades and upload this motivation in OSIRIS Case during the final assessment. The following rubrics can be used:
- Rubric - research project - research skills
- Rubric - research project - report
- Rubric - research project - presentation
Assessment form and procedure
Note: Since September 2022 the registration of research projects is digitized in OSIRIS Case. Did you start your project before 2022 and is your project not registered in OSIRIS Case? Please use the assessment method described below.
Your examiner has to complete the final assessment form in OSIRIS Case, including the plagiarism report and the motivation of the grades. For more information, please check the OSIRIS Case examiner manual. The second reviewer or supervisor host institute will receive a notification from OSIRIS Case once the form has been completed and is asked to approve the final assessment.
Once your second reviewer or supervisor host institute has approved the final assessment you will receive an e-mail with instructions to upload your final report for the OSIRIS Thesis Archive. Once you upload your report, the grade will be registered in OSIRIS Student.
OSIRIS Thesis Archive
All written reports will be archived in OSIRIS Thesis Archive. After the final assessment is completed in OSIRIS Case, you will receive an e-mail, asking you to upload your report.
Additionally, you can choose to publish your thesis, including the timing and version to publish. The theses become open-access after the publication date and can be found through search engines like Google and WorldCat. Together with your examiner and supervisor you agree upon and decide if, when, and how your thesis will be published.
Please note: the title of your report is literally copied to your international diploma supplement, so be aware of the correct use of capitals in the title.
More information on OSIRIS Thesis Archive can be found here.
Assessment in case of confidentiality
- Your examiner should be allowed to have access to the report at all times. In addition, you should be able to give your final presentation at the research group of the examiner.
- The Board of Examiners and third parties concerned with the evaluation/accreditation of the Master's Degrees should be allowed to have access to your report upon request.
- Reports are archived in OSIRIS Thesis Archive. In case of confidentiality, the examiner can indicate via the assessment form (or via OSIRIS Case, if applicable) whether (a version of) the report should be published. If a formal confidentiality agreement does not allow publication, you may upload a title page only including contact details of your supervisor, examiner, and institute as well as your name and student ID.
- The final report should be checked for plagiarism by the examiner. The option to upload a file 'under embargo' is only available when your examiner uploads the file to Ouriginal. The information in the report will not be stored in the Ouriginal database.
Conversion table international grades
Download the conversion table international marks here.
Marks will be rounded off as follows: if the second decimal is a 5 or higher, the first decimal will be rounded up. If the second decimal is a 4 or lower, the first decimal will be rounded down. This does not apply to grades between 5.45 and 5.50 and between 3.95 and 4.00: these will be round off to 5.4 and 3.9, respectively. In Osiris final grades between 5.0 and 5.4 will be rounded down to 5.0, grades from 5.5 to 5.9 will be rounded up to 6.0. Other grades will not be rounded off in OSIRIS.
Project start before September 2022?
Did you apply using the old PDF forms and is your project not registered in OSIRIS Case? After the end date of the project (when you have presented the results and submitted the final report), the examiner has 10 working days to submit the assessment form. The procedure is as follows:
- Download the assessment form and fill in the project information.
- The examiner completes the grading together with the supervisor host institute or second reviewer.
- The examiner sends the form including the motivation for the grade and plagiarism check to the Master’s administration office, programme coordinator, and student. Epidemiology students must first hand in the assessment form via MSc-Epidemiology@umcutrecht.nl.
- You receive an email asking you to upload a copy of your report via OSIRIS Student (see the section about OSIRIS Thesis Archive). Epidemiology students must first hand in the final report as a PDF via MSc-Epidemiology@umcutrecht.nl.
- Once the Master's administration office receives the assessment form and you upload your final report, the grade is registered in OSIRIS.
- You receive an evaluation form by e-mail.
The preparation and application of a research project outside UU/UMCU or a research project abroad is similar to a research project within the UU/UMCU. You require an examiner from the UU/UMCU and the approval from the Board of Examiners. Your examiner and supervisor host institute both have to approve your research project in OSIRIS Case.
Projects outside UU/UMCU require signing of the internship contract which you will find integrated in the application forms in OSIRIS Case. During the application process in OSIRIS Case, the internship contract appears, and will be signed as part of the process (no further action from your side is required).
For General Research profile projects the signing of the internship project has not yet been integrated in OSIRIS Case and you need to email the internship contract (open in Adobe Acrobat) to email@example.com to get it signed. Please upload the fully signed contract in OSIRIS Case.
If your institute is providing you with a different contract, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and submit the fully signed contract in OSIRIS Case.
Questions about the internship contract? Email:
- email@example.com (Biosciences)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Biomedical Sciences)
During your research project, stay in touch with your examiner. You are obliged to give your final presentation both at the host institute and at the research group of your examiner. Hand in your report at your examiner for review.
Going abroad? Start on time!
If you would like to do a research project abroad, we strongly advise you to start nine to eleven months advance, since there are many things that have to be arranged before you leave. More information can be found here.
Extension for credits
You can only extend your general research profile (with 6, 9 or 12 credits). Your major research project cannot be extended. Apply for an extension before the start of your project during the application procedure in OSIRIS Case.
After you started your general research project, it can only be extended for credits in exceptional cases. Apply for this extension via the ‘request extension for credits form’ in OSIRIS Case well before the start of the extension.
Extra credits will not be granted if you need more time to complete your project (e.g. due to failed experiments or problems during the analysis or writing phase).
Postponing end date
Due to unforeseen circumstances the end date of your project might change. If this happens you have to fill in the ‘rescheduling end date form’ in OSIRIS Case.
Valid reasons for postponing the end date are: more time spent on courses, extra time off due to personal circumstances, or if your examiner/supervisor needs more time due to personal circumstances. If your reason contains matters of privacy an e-mail from your academic counsellor supporting your request will suffice.
Gathering more data, better results, new insight within the research group, inclusion, DEC or METC and other matters concerning day to day practice in research are not considered valid reasons.
Project start before September 2022?
Did you start your project before September 2022 and is your project not registered in OSIRIS Case?
- If the new end date falls within the maximal duration of the project (see the tab Duration), this only needs to be approved by your examiner. Informing the research project coordinator is not necessary.
- If the new end date exceeds the maximal duration, a request has to be submitted before the maximal duration is exceeded. Email your research project coordinator a document attached (signed by your examiner) that includes:
- A valid motivation for the delay. If your motivation contains matters of privacy an e-mail from your academic counsellor supporting your request will suffice.
- A solid plan containing a time schedule and the new end date.
Changes in the title of the project do no have to be communicated to the Board of Examiners.
In case of changes in the topic of the project, examiner, second reviewer/supervisor host institute or daily supervisor you should fill in the request for changes form (open with Adobe Reader) and email it directly to the Master's administration office.
The Board of Examiners will check whether the new examiner or second reviewer/supervisor host institute meets the requirements. The Master's administration office will inform you about their decision.
The GSLS is testing a new tool: the bi-directional assessment (BA). The BA is designed by students to optimize the process and outcome of research projects. It is an opportunity for you to communicate with your supervisor about your personal goals and to discuss the expectations about the internship from both sides. We want to stimulate you to start a professional discussion about your work environment and working style and to make the process more dynamic and two-sided. This way, any miscommunication can be avoided and you will have more positive influence on how you complete your project.
The BA consists of 3 meetings with your supervisor, with accompanying forms and explanation videos:
- An expectations meeting in the beginning of your internship where you discuss (personal) goals and expectations from both sides and make agreements with your supervisor.
Watch video about expectations meeting.
- A second reflection meeting at the same time as the interim assessment (± 3 months for a major research project) where you can reflect on what you discussed in the first meeting and adjust plans according to the progress you have made so far.
Watch video about reflection meeting.
- An optional third reflection meeting after 6 months (for major research project; 4 months for a 6-month project) where you look back at the previous meetings and discuss the progress you and your supervisor have made and to look at the final steps that need to be taken for you to finish your project nicely.
Watch video about optional third reflection meeting.
By finalising the application procedure, you declare to transfer the copyright of all products (including the tangible and intellectual products) of the research project to the UU/UMCU or host institute. Depending on the magnitude of the scientific contribution, you have the right to be a (co-)author of publications or to be otherwise acknowledged. Any questions in this regard should be addressed to the head of the research group.
The final report can be written as a scientific article. However, writing a scientific article and preparing it for submission to a scientific journal is a difficult skill to master. This can have a negative influence in the final assessment. You are encouraged to discuss with your supervisor and examiner creating a plan that ensures the project completion on time avoiding possible delays of the publication process. The assessment should be completed before preparing the article for publication.
Please note: the product that you will hand in to the school should be an individual product. That means it cannot be edited for publication by your examiners or other co-authors. Of course, you can receive feedback. If your examiner decides to publish the report as a review, the examiner may rewrite it after you handed in your individual report.
Most Master's programmes have an elective component of 12 credits. If you would like to perform extra research you may use these credits to perform a mini-project.
You need an examiner affiliated to UU/UMCU for this project. Your examiner needs to approve your project in OSIRIS Case.
Mini-project outside UU/UMCU
In case of a mini-project outside UU/UMCU, your supervisor host institute also has to approve the project in OSIRIS Case. External mini-projects at non-university institutes or abroad also require a signed internship contract (open in Adobe Acrobat) which can be uploaded in OSIRIS Case.
A mini-project can take many forms, both in size (0.5 - 12 EC), content and end products (e.g. report, presentation, poster, advice, script). The content and deliverables should be determined in consultation with your examiner, who will perform the assessment. A second reviewer is allowed, but not mandatory. Your mini-project should be assessed by (at least) two assessment methods:
- Report (the type, size and content of the report is to be determined by your examiner);
- Another method (practical work/research skills/group work/presentation/...).
Your examiner has to fill in the final assessment form in OSIRIS Case (more information can be found here). The final grade has to be motivated by the examiner, preferably via the GSLS rubrics, or alternatively a using a written motivation that they upload in OSIRIS Case.
Written end products need to be checked for plagiarism in Ouriginal.