Qbio honours programme

tree of life

QBio Research proposal

All students participating in the QBio honours programme will write their own PhD proposal during the second year. This project proposal is obligatory to finish succesfully the Qbio programme and counts as the obligatory ``writing assignment'' of your master programme (7,5 ECTS). Two students will be awarded with a PhD position in the group of their choice.

The IBB QBio graduate program invites students to submit their own research proposal for a PhD position in the area of quantitative biology. The project should be supervised by at least one member of the QBio team (see the QBio Home page). Interdisciplinary projects combining theoretical and experimental research are highly encouraged. Writing such a proposal is mandatory for students participating in the QBio honours program (and counts as the writing assignment worth 7.5EC).

Proposals can be on any topic in molecular and cellular biology provided it is within the area of expertise of your supervisor(s) from the QBio team. Examples of research areas range from microbial evolution, membrane trafficking, cytoskeletal organization and cell division, to development of embryos, epithelia, the brain and immune system. Our aim is to promote innovative quantitative biology, typically combining sophisticated technologies, quantitative measurements, advanced live cell imaging and computational approaches (such as bioinformatics, mathematical modelling and/or computer simulations) over the whole spectrum of the Life Sciences.

The proposal should be prepared using the form provided, and needs to be submitted before 3 July 2017 (by email to Can Kesmir). The main section containing the research proposal (section 6) has a page limit of 10 pages. Please identify your supervisor(s) and promotor(s) on the first page, and make sure that they support this proposal. A committee will judge the projects according to scientific excellence, originality, feasibility, and combination of theoretical and experimental research. Successful candidates will present their proposal and will be interviewed by the joint Advisory- and IBB Boards (in the last week of August).

We will award two proposals with a PhD position for 4 years (no bench fees included). These will be awarded to the most talented students, with the best interdisciplinary training, having written the most exciting research proposal, and the best presentation, interview, CV, grades, and letters of recommendation.


The application form follows the general NWO format, and is largely self-explanatory. Please describe the proposed research in section 6 in no more than 10 pages (including references), and address the following aspects:

  • Objective: state the scientific objectives and give the scientific background
  • Approach: indicate how the research is to be conducted, which methods and equipment will be use, and demonstrate the quantitative biology aspects.
  • Time table: Indicate the schedule of the entire project in time periods (no more than half a page). Specify the activities per time period and by whom they will be performed. Make sure the time table is realistic for a 4 year PhD position, and that time is reserved at the end for writing the thesis.
  • Discuss preliminary data from the group and/or yourself.
  • Innovation: describe the originality and the innovative aspects of the research question and the proposed research.
  • References: include a complete list of references (including authors, title and journal) at the end of section 6.

The form can be downloaded here. The U-GSLS also has rules about the format of such a writing assignment. Please read their website and check the "Application form and procedure" button.