Personal Research Plan (PRP) and Training & Supervision Plan

All FHML PhD candidates follow a PhD training programme. A large part occurs in the context of conducting their research project. Within the first twelve weeks of the PhD trajectory, every PhD student (in- as well as external PhD candidates) draws up two plans in consultation and agreement with their supervisors: a Personal Research Plan (PRP) and Training & Supervision Plan (TSP).
Both plans should be uploaded in the PhD TRACK system. Every year, TRACK reminds them to update both plans and discuss them with their supervisors in the annual assessment interview.

In collaboration with the supervisor(s), the candidate develops a scientifically sound and feasible Personal Research Plan, including a timeframe that ensures that the PhD trajectory can be finished according to the contract period or to tailored agreements with the supervisors. The PRP is signed by the PhD candidate and the daily supervisor and then sent to the PhD coordinator and uploaded in TRACK.

The TSP is a tailored plan, aimed at acquiring discipline-related as well as generic skills that are crucial for the development into an independent researcher as well as for future careers outside academia. The TSP is to be signed by the supervisors and the School’s PhD coordinator (on behalf of the Dean, according to the UM Regulation on Doctoral Degrees) and for internal PhD candidates also by their HR advisor. The activities in the TSP are based on the previous education and experience of the PhD candidate, the specific skills and knowledge needed for their PhD research and generic ones for their development as academic professional and in line with their career plans.

They should make a well-balanced choice from methodological and other courses and a variety of PhD-related activities, such as
a) attending conferences, symposia, workshops, seminars
b) being PhD representative or member of the Faculty or University Council
c) organizing a societal impact activity, such as a symposium, building a website, etc.
d) performing of teaching activities. Internal FHML PhD candidate are expected to devote up to about 10% of the appointed work time to teaching activities.

ECTS points/hours to be acquired for the TSP
The FHML/FPN TSP states that PhD candidates are expected to gather 20 to 35 ECTS (European Credit Transfer system) points, which is in line with the 2011 NFU Guidelines for PhD tracks in biomedical sciences in the Netherlands. PhD candidates register their ECTS points or equivalent hours in the PhD TRACK system from which they can download their TSP. Some Schools further specify how PhD candidates can acquire these ECTS points (e.g. CARIM Education Plan and MHeNs Training Activities and Credits).

MHeNs and NUTRIM regularly hand out certificates; other FHML Schools incidentally. A certificate is not required for acceptance to the PhD ceremony.

National Research Schools
Several FHML Schools are embedded in one or more national research Schools (CAPHRI: CaRe, WTMC, MHeNs: EURON, SHE: ICO). These offer courses and have their own prescriptions which elements of their program are compulsory.

Planned courses and conference participation should be laid down in your Training & Supervision Plan. This plan should be updated every year and discussed in the annual meeting with your supervisors at the end of each PhD year. You’ll receive a timely reminder by PhD TRACK.

A number of PhD courses offered by FHML and Maastricht University are for free with your Faculty employment or registration number. If you plan to make costs that are not covered, you need agreement of your supervisors. All UM PhD candidates are entitled to an allowance for costs for printing the thesis and the reception after the PhD ceremony. At FHML, the costs are reimbursed at School level.

Overview of course opportunities for FHML PhD candidates
The course opportunities for FHML PhDs consists of:

  • Courses of the National research Schools
  • FHML Master modules
  • Professionalization of teachers (DocProf) courses;
  • The workshop Crafting the Valorisation Paragraph for your Doctoral Thesis
  • FHML PhD courses on Statistics, Biomedical and Clinical research skills
  • UM Language Centre courses in Writing and Presenting Scientific English
  • Workshops offered by the University Library
  • Courses offered by the Staff Development Centre, as well as individual career guidance.

An FHML working group is currently exploring possibilities to make the current, mainly face-to-face, PhD course offer more widely available, so that those PhD candidates who are not based in the vicinity can also participate.