Research project

Every GSLS Master's student performs at least one research project during their Master's programme. The goal of the research project is to train students in working in a research setting, and in using the scientific method.

Guide
The GSLS - Master's Research Project - guide for supervisors contains additional in depth information about supervising a research project. There is also a summary available in Chapter 1 of the guide.

The Osiris Case – GSLS Instructions for Examiners contains detailed information about application and assessment procedures in OSIRIS Case. 

Contact
If you can't find the answer to your question, please do not hesitate to contact one of the research project coordinators

If you can't find the answer to your question related to OSIRIS Case, please feel free to contact OSIRISCaseGSLS@uu.nl

Note: Please visit the Master's research project guide for supervisors page 5-7 for a complete overview of your responsibilities as examiner, daily supervisor, supervisor host institute, or second reviewer.

As supervisor, you are responsible for coaching the student. You are also responsible for creating the right ambiance, supporting the student, and drawing up agreements. The aim of supervising is to offer a tailor-made approach to the student's needs. You are also responsible for proposing a project that is of a sufficient level and that enables the student to achieve the learning outcomes. Students are responsible for their own learning process.

Roles

There are different supervisory roles, depending on where a student performs their research project. How these roles are divided is determined by the location of the research project; within UU/UMCU (and affiliated institutes) or outside UU/UMCU.

Projects within UU/UMCU

The examiner has final responsibility for the research project. The examiner grades research skills, written report and presentation. The daily supervision of the student on the work floor is often done by a PhD student or postdoc. This daily supervisor advises the examiner on the assessment, but does not grade the student themselves. The second reviewer, a senior scientist ideally not directly involved in the project, grades the research project and presentation independently from the examiner. The final mark is given by the examiner, in close consultation with the daily supervisor and second reviewer.

Projects outside UU/UMCU 

The examiner has final responsibility for the research project. The examiner grades the written report and oral presentation. Since we noticed that sometimes a discrepancy exist between what is expected from an examiner from a project outside UU/UMCU and the reality, we kindly ask you to have a look at the description of responsibilities of the examiner in the Master's research project guide for supervisors page 6. The (daily) supervision of the student on the work floor is done by either a senior scientist, or by a PhD or postdoc supported by a senior scientist or staff member. The supervisor of the host institute grades research skills (in consultation with the examiner), written report and presentation. The final mark is given by the examiner, in close consultation with the supervisor of the host institute.

A student can start the research project only after both the supervisor and the student have received approval from the Board of Examiners. This approval is sent in the form of an email by OSIRIS Case or via an email of one of the research project coordinators

Application forms
As of September 2022 the whole application and assessment procedure is digitized in OSIRIS Case. You can access OSIRIS Case via OSIRIS Supervisor ('Docent & Begeleider'). The OSIRIS Case application forms contain information about the project (including a research proposal), agreements between the student and supervisor, and contact information of the examiner and second reviewer/supervisor host institute. The information on the application forms allow the programme coordinator and the Board of Examiners to review the content and level of the project. More information can be found here.

Application for projects started before September 2022, may be done via the General Application form (open with Adobe Reader) for a Major Research Project or the Profile Application form (open with Adobe Reader) for a project within a profile.

Internship contract
Projects outside UU/UMCU also require a GSLS internship contract, signed by the student, Research Project Coordinator and supervisor host institute. The student can upload the internship contract without the signature of the Research Project Coordinator in OSIRIS Case. The Research Project Coordinator will automatically be notified and sign the contract. If your student is asked to sign a (non-disclosure) contract from the host institute, they can consult with the research project coordinators

Internship account UMCU
For projects at the UMC Utrecht, students need an UMCU internship account and UMCU card. The students will automatically get this account after approval of their research project. 
More information is available here.

A research project consists of several key stages: drawing up a timetable, reviewing literature, drawing up a research plan, carrying out experiments / collecting data, data analysis, writing the report and giving a presentation. Participation in group meetings and other group activities is also part of the research project.

Report
Reports should be written in English and contain a summary specifically aimed at informing a general audience about the content of the research project (layman summary – in Dutch or English, 500 words, the target audience is able to understand Biology at high school level).

Presentation
All students have to give an oral presentation of their work (in English) to the research group of their examiner (and, if applicable, also at the host institute).

The GSLS is testing a new tool with a pilot this year: the Bidirectional Assessment (BA). The BA is a tool that was designed by students to be used by students to optimize the process and the 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 a more dynamic and two-sided, instead of working with a ‘black-and-white’ rubric in which only the student is assessed (which was the case previously). With the BA we want to help you start this conversation, for which we have provided you with aiding forms with topics you can discuss. This way, any miscommunication can be avoided and you will have more positive influence on how you complete your project. The BA forms allow for giving and receiving feedback in a professional way, and therefore can help you to make your project a very informative and good experience. Currently, the pilot is only taking place in the master programmes Biology of Disease and Environmental Biology, but anyone is encouraged to try using the BA forms if you like.

The BA provides a great foundation to improve the (soft) skills you acquire during your internship and is a great opportunity for reflection, to think about how the project is going and hopefully helps with dealing with any situations you might encounter. The BA consists of three meetings with your supervisor, with accompanying forms. The forms and instructional videos for each meeting can be found below.

Guide:

PDF iconInstruction_Bidirectional_Assessment_Student_and_Supervisor.pdf

 

1) An Expectations meeting

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 (Expectations Meeting form, see video 1 for more information).

PDF iconForm1_BA.pdf

FileBA_Video1_0.mp4

 

2) A second Reflection 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 (Reflection Meeting 1 form, see video 2 for more information).

PDF iconForm2_BA.pdf

FileBA_Video2_0.mp4

 

3) An optional third 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 (Reflection Meeting 2 form, see video 3 for more information).

PDF iconForm3_BA.pdf

FileBA_Video3_0.mp4

 

Your feedback is appreciated!

Last but not least, since you are participating in the pilot, we would also like to receive some feedback from you and we are curious to hear about how you experience the BA. Therefore, we are looking for some students to join a feedback session at the end of the year to discuss your findings. If you are interested to join this session, you can send an email to lsr@umcutrecht.nl.

On behalf of the Life Science Representatives, we wish you good luck with your research projects and hopefully the BA will come in handy for you.

During the research project, the student participates in group meetings and other group activities. In addition, the supervisor and student are expected to meet every week to discuss the work of the student.

Interim assessment
A mandatory evaluation meeting between student and examiner, and preferably also the daily supervisor (if applicable), should take place two or three months after the start of the research project. We encourage supervisors to schedule dedicated feedback moments more often (e.g. also after 6 months).

During the evaluation meeting the student receives feedback on his/her work, progress and performance. We strongly advise you to use rubric about research skills as a tool to discuss the applicable strong points and points of improvement of the student. For Business Internships the rubrics can be found here
Afterwards the student has to either upload the highlighted rubric or write and upload a short report (½ A4) summarizing the meeting. Alternatively, the student can write the report using either thePDF iconinterim assessment form - inside (project at the UU/UMCU) or the PDF iconinterim assessment form - outside (projects outside the UU/UMCU). The required documents are uplaoded in OSIRIS Case

Interim assessment projects outside UU/UMCU
For a project outside UU/UMCU the interim assessment takes place between the student, the examiner, and the supervisor host institute, if possible in a single session. Afterwards, the examiner uploads a copy of the rubric/report timely in OSIRIS Case. 

Problems or questions
In case of any problems or questions, contact the programme coordinator first, or otherwise the academic counsellor or research project coordinator. In case of a project outside UU/UMCU, the examiner should be contacted first. 

Below you can find the length of the different types of research projects. This period includes time to write the report and to prepare the final presentation. Time spent on courses, holiday or other days off should be added to the duration of the project.

 Research project typeNumber of EC*LengthMaximal duration
 Major5136 weeks12 months
General Research profilemax 33 if not extendedmax 23 weeks if not extendedmax 9 months if not extended
General Research Profile Medical Imaging2014 weeks6.5 months
 Business internship27 / 3019 / 21 weeks8 / 8.5 months
 Epidemiology project6546 weeks14.5 months

*1 EC = 28 hours

Maximal duration
The research project needs to be finished within the maximal duration. This includes handing in the report and presenting the results. This does not include the 10 working days for assessment of the end products.

Delay
The end date of the project might change​, due to unforeseen circumstances. If this happens the Student has to fill in the ‘rescheduling end date form’ in OSIRIS Case. The examiner and the Research Project Coordinator will be required to approve the rescheduled end date via OSIRIS Case.

More information about valid reasons for postponing the end date can be found on the GSLS Students' Site.

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 question, 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 biomedical 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.

Rubrics
In order to assess whether the student has achieved the learning outcomes or to discuss the specific criteria beforehand, the research project rubrics for research skills, research report and presentation can be used.

Rubrics for business internships (for the examiner as well as the supervisor host institute) can be found here.

  • All three elements of the research project (research skills - 60% of final grade; the written report - 30%; and the final presentation - 10%) have to be awarded with at least a 5.5 in order for the student to pass the final examination of the research project.
  • The examiner has to provide a motivation for the final grades. We strongly advise to use all three rubrics about Research skills, Research report, and Presentation as a feedback tool. For Business Internships the rubrics can be found here.
  • A mark lower than 5.5 for one of the three elements or the final grade is unsatisfactory. The student has the right to do a resit when the average final grade is > 4.0 (also in case of a NVD).
  • If the examiner's and second reviewer's or supervisor host institute grades differ by 2 or more points, the Board of Examiners should be notified by the examiner.
  • In order to meet the cum laude requirements, students should receive a 8.5 or higher for their research project.
  • The examiner and second reviewer must complete the Final Assessment Form in OSIRIS Case (manual) within 10 working days after the student has handed in the (final) report and has given an oral presentation. To make sure there are no delays, make agreements with your student beforehand about the dates for handing in the final report and presentation.

Project within UU/UMCU 
The examiner provides grades for research skills (in consultation with the daily supervisor), research report and final presentation. The second reviewer provides grades for the research report and final presentation. The final grade is determined by the examiner in consultation with the daily supervisor.

Project outside UU/UMCU
The supervisor host institute provides grades for all three components; research skills (in consultation with the examiner), research report and final presentation. The examiner provides grades for research report and final presentation, and determines the final grades (for research skills in consultation with supervisor host institute).
The examiner and the supervisor host institute should contact each other in order to make sure that the assessment of all components is performed according to the guidelines of the GSLS.

The supervisor host institute determines the grades according to their own marking system (e.g. Anglo/Saxon marking (F-A+)) and then consult the examiner. The examiner converts the grade according to the Dutch marking system if necessary. The conversion table is available here.

Registration of grades

For the specifics about grading check out section 5 in the EER. For 2022-2023:

1. Marks are awarded on a scale of 1 to 10. A mark of 5.5 (not rounded off) or higher is satisfactory, and lower is unsatisfactory. The examiner determines the final grade expressed with one decimal figure, which will be rounded off mathematically. 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 rounded 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.

2. Partial marks of the research projects and business internships should each be satisfactory. 

NB. For the final assessment:

  • if the average final grade as well as all the partial grades are sufficient, the sufficient grade will be registered in Osiris;

  • if the average final grade is insufficient, the insufficient grade will be registered in Osiris;

  • if the average final grade is sufficient but one or more of the components does not meet the requirements, it will be registered as NVD (niet voldaan - incomplete) in Osiris.

As of September 2022 the whole application and assessment procedure is digitized in OSIRIS Case. Please login to OSIRIS Supervisor ('Docent & Begeleider') to register the final assessment in OSIRIS Case (manual), including the plagiarism report (described here) and the motivation of the grades (preferably via Rubrics). The second reviewer (or supervisor host institute in case of a project outside UU/UMCU) will receive a notification from OSIRIS Case once the form has been completed and is asked to approve the final assessment. Once the second reviewer or supervisor host institute has approved the final assessment, the student will receive an email with instructions to upload their final report for the OSIRIS Thesis Archive (more information). After that the grade will be registered in OSIRIS Student.

Projects that were started via a PDF application form are not registered in OSIRIS Case. For projects that are not registered via OSIRIS Case, the procedure for registrating grades is as follows: 

  1. The student downloads the assessment form from the GSLS Student's Site.
  2. The examiner fills in the grades and signs the assessment form, after ensuring the grades of the second reviewer or supervisor host institute  are correct.
  3. The examiner saves the form and sends the documents below to the Master’s administration office (science.gsls@uu.nl for Biosciences students and infobms@umcutrecht.nl for Biomedical Sciences students)programme coordinator and the student. The student can provide the contact information.
    1. the form, 
    2. the written motivation for the final grade (e.g. rubrics) and
    3. the summary of (Ouriginal) plagiarism check.
  4. Once the examiner sends the assessment form to the administration office (either via email or via OSIRIS Case if it relates to a CSDB, BiBc, BINN, ENVB, MCLS or SBM student), students will receive an email asking them to upload a copy of their report via OSIRIS Student (see the section below about OSIRIS - Thesis Archive).

The examiner should be allowed to have access to the final report at all times. In addition, the student should be able to give the final presentation at the research group of the examiner. The Board of Examiners should be allowed to have access to the final report upon request, as well as third parties concerned with the evaluation and accreditation of the Master's Degrees.

In case of confidentiality, the following assessment procedure applies:

  1. The final report should be checked via the plagiarism checker Ouriginal. The examiner has to upload the file to Ouriginal and select 'EXEMPT‘. The information in the report will not be accessible in the Ouriginal database.
  2. The examiner fills in the assessment form in Osiris Case*, including the Ouriginal plagiarism check and the written motivation of the grades (Rubrics).
  3. The second reviewer or supervisor host institute will approve the assessment in Osiris Case*.
  4. Theses/reports are archived in Osiris Thesis Archive (see section below). In case of confidentiality, the examiner can indicate via the assessment form in OSIRIS Case whether (a version of) the thesis/report should be published.
  5. The student will be asked by OSIRIS Thesis Archive to upload the final report for archiving purposes and a version for publishing if this has been previously indicated.

*If the project is not registered via OSIRIS Case, the examiner fills in an assesment form (PDF) which is signed by the second reviewer.

Detect and deal with plagiarism / Ouriginal (Urkund)

Utrecht University takes fraud and plagiarism very seriously and aims to counteract it. Therefore, all written products (essays, reports, and writing assignments) will be checked for plagiarism via Ouriginal, a plagiarism detection system for supervisors, examiners, and students. For further details on implementing and using this tool, go to this Ouriginal page by the UU.

Please note: as examiner you can login with your Solis-id. If you do not have a Solis-id, please get one here. Once you have your Solis-id, make sure to activate the two-factor authentication (2FA) via mysolisid.uu.nl as well.

 

Contract cheating sites

The use of the services as described in PDF iconthis paper is considered as plagiarism by the Board of Examiners. The examiner should take all the written versions of the student into account.

 

Report case of plagiarism

Know that any act of plagiarism should be reported to the Board of Examiners (BoE). Please do not hesitate to contact the Board of Examiners for informal discussion on the case before taking the formal steps.

Please contact the following members of the Board of Examiners:

Fraud or plagiarism are absolutely not allowed and will be dealt with as described in the Education and Examination Regulations (article 5.14).

The examiner:

  • has the responsibility to ensure that no fraud or plagiarism took place. When you find or suspect that your student is committing fraud or is plagiarizing during his/her research project, this must be reported to the Board of Examiners (BoE). You are invited to contact the BoE first for advice. More information on how to deal with plagiarism or fraud can be found here.
  • should check the final research report for plagiarism using Ouriginal, in a stand-alone-function or in Blackboard. When the reported percentage of plagiarism in Ouriginal is >10%, but there is no case of plagiarism, a motivation written by the examiner explaining this should accompany the assessment form. 

In addition to texts, we also expect examiners to check for plagiarism in source code texts. As examiner / teacher you can choose the right plagiarism detection tool applicable for your course. For instance MOSS (Measure Of Software Similarity) can be used. On the website you can obtain a manual after you register and obtain an account. You can use this article if you want more information what tool you can use and if it supports the correct language to detect plagiarism in source code texts.

 

Upload
Upload the final version of the report as Word file (not PDF) without the reference list to Ouriginal. The students can do this themselves or the examiner can do this. The printed report (summary) from Ouriginal should be uploaded in the Final Assessment Form in OSIRIS Case.

 

Upload under embargo (exempt the file from Ouriginal)
In case of confidentiality, you can exclude the file (exempt) it from the Ouriginal database.

To do this, click on the analysis address, and go to the submission account (inleveraccount) see red circcle. It ends with @uu.nl in most cases.

You can do this by clicking on the fourth icon (that looks like a paper with an earmark).  In the figure below it is the file with 0% similarity (green bar) is exempted from the database.

If the file is exempt, it means other uploaders can see that there is similarity, but cannot open or access the file. If you click on the forth icon, you will see the following message that includes the definition of this examption:

 

Exemption
Previously submitted documents provide comparative material in checking documents later submitted by others. Normally, a previously submitted document – where similarities have been detected - will be recognized as the source, in its entirety, in the Ouriginal Analysis.

You can, by clicking the button, exempt the document from being able to be viewed in its entirety if there are similarities found at subsequent inspections of other documents. If you choose to exempt the document, the document will still be stored on behalf of your educational organization and itself checked for potential similarities with other sources, but it will not be shown in its entirety or be downloadable. The analysis of the latter document will still show that there is a similarity to your document and inform when and where it was submitted, but no text from the document will be visible - instead, a text explaining why it cannot be shown will be displayed.

Do note that depending on the settings chosen by your university, your document may still be visible and possible to download within the university to which you submitted it.

Click on proceed.

 

What if the percentage of matching text is >10%?
If the percentage of matching text found by Ouriginal is >10% the examiner should write an explanation why this high percentage is not due to plagiarism. This explanation and the Ouriginal summary should be handed in together with your assessment form.

Reports from Major Research Project, Profile Projects and Writing Assignments will be archived in OSIRIS.

Additionally, students can choose to publish their thesis/report, including the timing and version to publish. The theses/reports become open-access after the publication date and can be found through search engines like Google and WorldCat. Together with the examiner/supervisor, they agree upon and decide if, when and how their thesis/report will be published.

After the administration office has received the final assessment of their thesis/report from the examiner, they will initiate the archiving process and students will receive an email about it asking them to upload their report. This process takes place through OSIRIS Student.

More information on the digital Thesis Archive of the University Library can be found here.

If in doubt who to contact, please do not hesitate to contact the research project coordinators. You can informally discuss your case with them, so they can advise you on which steps to take or who to contact.

Student with personal problems
If you notice that your student is having any personal problems, but (s)he does not want to discuss this with you or other group members, or neither of them can help him/her, please send the student to their programme coordinator or academic counsellor for help.

If the problem affects the students' chances of finishing the project in time and/or with a passing grade, please also contact the research project coordinator.

Disputes
If a (personal) dispute arises between the student and supervisor(s) during a research project please consider these steps:

  • Try to work out what caused the dispute and if you can resolve it, for example during an interim assessment meeting. 
  • If this fails to resolve the dispute, you and/or the student can consult the programme coordinator or academic counsellor. A conversation with the academic counsellor is confidential. With the prior approval of the student or supervisor, the academic counsellor contacts the other party or other experts (for example the programme coordinator or institute director) for further mediation. 
  • If the dispute is not resolved after consulting the programme coordinator or academic counsellor, the student (but not the supervisor) can submit an appeal to the Board of Examiners, or the complaints coordinator in case of a dispute on personal grounds. The Board of Examiners will assess whether any procedural mistakes were made in handling the dispute.
  • Lastly, the student is entitled to submit a complaint with the university ‘Examinations Appeals Board’. This board is solely charged with assessing procedural mistakes. 

Premature termination of the project
No credits will be allocated to prematurely terminated research projects.

Termination by supervisor
A research project may be terminated by the supervisor. This can be the consequence if the student fails to honour agreements or does not remain in contact with the supervisor, without giving substantiated reasons. The following guidelines should be used:

  • The student has failed to honour the agreements laid down in the application form (and the internship contract if applicable) and has been reprimanded clearly on several occasions in writing (letter or email) by the supervisor.
  • The student has been granted at least two opportunities to redeem him/herself by continuing the research project in the agreed manner. The student must have been notified in writing (letter or email).
  • The supervisor has stipulated a clear deadline in the second notification, warning the student that the research project will be terminated in the event of continued non-compliance. The student will be notified in writing if the research project is deemed to have been terminated.
  • The supervisor has sent copies of this correspondence to the programme coordinator and academic counsellor.
  • The student is entitled to submit an appeal against this decision with the Board of Examiners.

Termination by student
The student is entitled to terminate the research project prematurely. Before deciding to terminate the project prematurely, the student is advised to contact the academic counsellor first to discuss the matter. The academic counsellor will also advise the student on further progress of the study programme. The student must notify the supervisor as soon as possible on the decision to terminate the research project, and inform the programme coordinator and research project coordinator as well. 

Examiners of research projects receive reimbursement both when they supervise students in their own group and when they act as examiners for projects outside UU/UMCU. Host institutes or groups do not receive reimbursements.

Reimbursement of research project and internship supervision between faculties
At the UU and the UMCU agreements have been made and arrangements are in place at faculty level regarding the reimbursement of education and research project or internship supervision. This means that examiners are reimbursed for all students within the GSLS regardless of their programme.

For questions about the reimbursement of supervision of all students -also students from other faculties-, please contact your own faculty:
UMCU - Martine Koppenhol
Science Faculty - Pim Visscher
Veterinary Sciences Faculty - Education Office of your Faculty