NWO Diamond Program

In 2013, the ‘Nederlandse  Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek’ (NWO) awarded the Oncology Graduate School (Oncologie Onderzoekschool Amsterdam – OOA) with a grant of €800,000 to initiate the ‘OOA Diamond Program’. This Program is designed for four outstanding Master’s students who have the ambition and talent to write and perform their own PhD research project at one of the participating OOA institutes (AMC, NKI and VUmc CCA). OOA will finance the salary costs of the selected students (200,000 euro each). Benchfee and other costs have to be financed by the host laboratory. Currently, four Diamond PhD students are appointed by the OOA .

Are you a highly motivated, (Bio)Medical and/or Life Sciences Master’s student with an interest in the research performed in the groups affiliated with the research school OOA? Then this program offers you the unique chance to join one of the research groups at AMC, NKI and VUmc CCA that best fits your interests and ambitions.

For whom?
Our Diamond Program is specifically designed for outstanding first year Master’s (of Science) students who wish to design and perform their own PhD research project at OOA.
Students who are currently enrolled in one of the following Master’s Programs (in the Netherlands or abroad) can apply:

  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Biomolecular Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Medical (Natural) Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Other Life Sciences, Medicine & Health related programs

Why OOA?
OOA is a large research school dedicated to the training of PhD students working in the field of Oncology. It has been accredited by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1993. The scientific output is very large, with more than 2,000 papers registered in Pubmed every year.

Our main goal is to prevent and cure cancer. We perform top-level research to improve diagnostics and find new treatment modalities in order to provide patients with optimal, individualized medical care. In addition, OOA focuses on improving the quality of life of patients with oncological diseases. Besides fundamental cancer research, many research activities are integrated with clinical care, enabling true translational research. The interaction between different scientific disciplines within the school creates a stimulating atmosphere.

To maintain high-level research and health care, a major aim is also to pass on knowledge to the next generation of students, researchers, technicians, clinicians and health care professionals. The OOA has a longstanding tradition of providing a top-level PhD training program.

More than 320 PhD students are currently working towards a PhD degree. The future perspectives of the graduated OOA PhD students are excellent.

Talent Program

The aim of our Diamond Program is to scout highly motivated Master’s students who have the ambition to design and undertake a PhD research project at OOA, based on their own ideas and interest. In May – June 2015, a maximum of five talented first-year Master’s students will be selected in a two-step process. Selection is based on – amongst others – grades, CV, motivation and interest in scientific research, recommendation letters from supervisors, result internship and a presentation by the candidate.

The selected Diamond candidates are free to choose one of the research groups at the OOA institutes provided the principle investigator has already supervised at least one PhD student and has a good past performance. The research project should be focused on Oncology.

To help the students in deciding in which research group they would like to write and perform their PhD project, we would like to let them get acquainted with the various research groups by a speed-date session, a research information meetings and rotations (October – November 2015). After three two-week rotations in research groups of their own choice, one at each institute (AMC, NKI and VUmc CCA), the candidates choose a supervisor and research theme that fits their interest and ambition.

The students may subsequently perform their second internship at this particular research group.

The last phase of the Master’s program will be dedicated to writing a PhD research proposal. The proposals will be evaluated. Finally, two students will be selected in April 2016 and awarded with a personal grant to perform PhD research at one of the OOA institutes for four years. All students will receive a certificate of participation in the Diamond Program. Participants of this program must take into account that this talent program runs next to their regular Master’s program.

Mid 2016, the two selected students will start their own PhD research project. The PhD project will be monitored and guided by an evaluation committee. We will offer a full-time PhD appointment for four years. Students will receive a competitive salary and secondary benefits, excellent courses, seminars and numerous training and networking opportunities. After four years (2020), the PhD project will be completed with a PhD thesis.

Admission requirements 
To be eligible for the personal grant, you have to meet the following requirements:

  • Enrolled in one of the Master’s programs: Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Biomolecular Sciences, Health Sciences, Life Sciences, Medical Natural Sciences, Medicine, Oncology, Other Life Sciences, Medicine & Health related programs
  • Highly interested in scientific research focused on Oncology
  • Excellent study results
  • Available for giving a presentation about internship during first year of Master’s Program (2014-2015)
  • Available for extra study burden (in spare time) during second year of Master’s Program (2015-2016)
  • Available for fulltime PhD research at OOA starting mid 2016
  • Proficient in English.

If you are not sure whether your (theoretical) background is sufficient to apply for the Diamond Program, please contact us (see below).

How to apply
At this moment, the program is closed for registration.

After your PhD
Gaining a PhD is often the first serious step in an academic career. For a full academic career track, through a postdoc position towards assistant-, associate- and full professor, there is a strong competition. Being awarded with our talent program will most definitely help you to achieve your goals.

If you have any question about the Diamond Program, please contact:

Dr. Esther Ruhé-Hoogervorst
VU Medical Center
De Boelelaan 1118
Postbus 7057 – 1007 MB Amsterdam
Tel: +31-(0)20-4442406
Email: e.ruhe@vumc.nl