Theoretical Biology & Bioinformatics

tree of life

Organizing your PhD at Computational Life Sciences (CLS)

As a PhD candidate in our group, you can enroll in the PhD school of Computational Life Sciences (CLS) which is a part of the Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS). Our PhD Program offers courses, seminars, winter schools, and social activities. On top of that, the GSLS offers a great variety of courses via the newly installed PhD Course Centre.
At the end of your PhD you will be eligible for a PhD Training Certificate of the GSLS, but there are a couple of things you should do first. This page provides an overview of what you need to do at the beginning, and at the end of your PhD.

The beginning of your PhD

The Training & Supervision Agreement (TSA) is a document in which you and your supervisor devise a training program for your PhD. It consists of the courses, seminars and international conferences that you plan to attend during your PhD. When filling in your TSA, keep in mind that the TSA will always be amendable to change. The document serves as an agreement between you and your supervisor that, as a PhD candidate, you have the right to follow these courses.

The courses should cover a total of 20 EC during 4 years, with the following requirements:

  • Training and education should compromise a minimum of 5 credits for each year of research
    appointment, which will be at least 2 years and no more than 4 years (10-20 credits in total).
  • A minimum of 40% of the total credits should be spent on thematic courses of the PhD programme to which the PhD candidate has been admitted.
  • A minimum of 20% of the total credits should be spent on general courses.
  • A maximum of 20% of the total credits may be spent on symposia/conferences.

Your TSA will also ask you to ask 1 or 2 people as external supervisors: the supervisory committee. This committee should be kept up to date with your yearly progress, monitor your research, and may suggest adjustments. As this committee is ment as an independent third party, we recommend that the person(s) are someone from outside of your own research group.

When meeting with your supervisory committe, consider the following topics:

  • Which are the results of the previous year?
  • Is the project, and eventual subprojects, realistic and feasible in the timeframe planned?
  • Which activity has priority?
  • Which bottlenecks do you expect?

Hora Est & Form 1
Hora Est is a computer system in which all PhDs candidates within Utrecht University should be registered. Note that this is an administation seperate from your employement, and you need to complete these forms in order to officially start your PhD. More information on Form 1 can be found here.

Where to go with your forms?
Before handing your forms over, make sure they are all signed. You can then hand them over to Marjan Fiechter (Kruyt building room O106) for further archiving.

Download location for all GSLS-related forms

Throughout your PhD

Here are some things you need to keep in mind during your PhD.

B&O stands for "Beoordeling- en Ontwikkelingsgesprek", which is the yearly assessment you have with your supervisor. The Human Resources department will remind your supervisor to organize this, but it is important for you to keep an eye on this as your salary scale will not progress until you have completed the first year B&O. It should be a point to reflect on your progress and your goals in the rest of your research. As a starting point for reflection, a form is used that you fill in before going to the 'B&O'. You can find this form on intranet.

PhD Council and PhD events
In the PhD council, all 14 PhD program of the GSLS are represented. The representative for our program is Julian Vosseberg. The council meets once a month, to discusses and evaluate the quality of education, supervision and regulations. It presents these evaluations to the Board of Studies. If you have complaints or ideas about education (e.g. ideas for courses) or supervision that you would like to be discussed "higher up", you can let Julian know and he will take them to the council.

Furthermore, the PhD council organizes bimonthly PhD events and a yearly PhD day. These events concern general scientific issues (such as publishing, "standing out in the crowd", "the future of science" etc), include free food and drinks, and might be a nice way to meet PhD students from different fields.

PhD Event Thingies
Almost as fun as the actual GSLS PhD Events, our program organises a small evening for all PhDs candidates enrolled in our program. We typically present some of our skills or some project we are stuck with, introduce new PhD candidates to the GSLS, and finish up with some drinks/food.

Ending your PhD

Before you run away into the sunset, here are a few last things to do:

Finish Hora Est
Remember Hora Est? There's still some more forms you need to fill out before you can have your PhD Defense. Make sure to keep this in mind!

GSLS Certificate
If you want to get a GSLS certificate (you do!), make sure to wrap up by filling in the GS-LS Training Certificate application and bring it to the program coordinator (Bram van Dijk).

Planning the symposium
Catering, and reservation of the room: Academiegebouw Catering Oud London ( the room `Belle van Zuylenzaal' is very good, as it is closest to the room where the defense takes place

Planning the Party
Here are some popular places:

  • Cafe Joost (
  • Jan de Winter (
  • Witte Ballons (
  • Rubens (Nieuwegracht) (
  • De Grote Catakomben (
  • de Reunie (
  • Hemingway (