Students learn about the research environments at Tilburg and Radboud Universities. They get to know which research groups and departments are hosted by the two Faculties, and how these relate to the program’s five specialization areas. Also, they become familiarized with the research carried out in various groups, and they learn about the local research culture, in which they will start participating in the next stages of their individual program. At the end of the course, the student has acquired knowledge of what the focal areas are of ongoing local research, and has formed an initial impression of the variety in research questions that are asked and methods used to investigate them. In addition, the students have formulated a project proposal for a research group of their choice that will be used as a starting point for their Lab Rotation.|
The coordinator of the course monitors the sessions to make sure that all students do their part. The grade (pass/fail) is based on the portfolio in which the student describes the researchers in their areas of interest and writes the final project proposal.
During the first weeks, students get themselves acquainted with the research groups present at the two faculties and explore their areas of interest. In particular, the students should draw from the various project proposal that are offered by the research groups of the two universities, but they can also conduct a literature search, read the annual reports, or explore the website in detail. Based on their findings, the students identify a number of researchers or (impromptu) research groups (2-4, at least one from each university) which they deem interesting and select one or two relevant papers from each.
Following this, two seminars will be organized in which students have the opportunity to interact with the staff. The staff is asked to briefly present their area of expertise and interest after which students and staff will be able to freely discuss possible future collaborations. After the second seminar, the students decide on the topic of their project proposal. The course ends with a (draft) project proposal that will serve as a starting point for the student’s lab rotation(s) and will be assessed by the relevant researchers.
The proposal contains at least the following elements:
- A short overview of the research projects considered (including some relevant literature), with a quick focus on the chosen project, including a list of references obtained.
- A short description of the research context (the PI group, the individual scholar(s), but also the targeted field of study)
- The objectives of the lab rotation.
- A description of the kind of activities that will be employed, including a tentative planning
- A list of deliverables; what are the intended products of the lab rotation. For example, a literature review, a pilot experiment, a piece of code, a presentation, and abstract, or a conference paper.
- A short indication of the role of valorization: how does society, the academic community, or the research group benefit from the proposed project, and how does the student benefit?
- A list of the educational activities that will be employed during the lab rotation. This can be university courses, in Tilburg, Nijmegen or elsewhere, self-study (including webcourses), but also seminars (-series) or workshops that will be attended. Especially in the case of seminars, planning to attend the seminars related to the research group of the lab rotation, is especially recommended. This is also the place where the skills that will be acquired should be listed.