Starting your PhD project

Registration at CAPHRI

Man met laptop (shutterstock)

After being accepted as PhD candidate by the promoter, you will be referred to our PhD Administrative Coordinator who will register you with CAPHRI. She will ask you to submit a registration form. Contract candidates will be asked to also submit a Declaration supporting the candidates’ involvement in the PhD project from their institution/employer. Once the registration is completed, you will receive a letter that confirms your enrollment in CAPHRI’s PhD Programme. 

Online CAPHRI PhD Community

At the start of your PhD trajectory, you will be added to the CAPHRI PhD Community on the UM intranet (UMployee), a virtual environment specifically for our PhDs, with announcements, news and the possibility to come into contact with other CAPHRI PhDs around the world or ask questions to the PhD representatives, the PhD Administrative Coordinator or the PhD Community Coordinator.

This is the link to UMployee (please beware that you can only log in with your Maastricht University email address):

To quickly find your way around the intranet, manuals have been created. You can find them in the About UMployee tile (log in to intranet first)

Registration at the Faculty of Health, Medicines and Life Sciences (FHML)

All PhD candidates are registered at FHML, either via an employment contract or via a Faculty registration (currently a so-called ‘hospitality agreement’). In case you are not employed as internal PhD candidate by Maastricht University, the PhD Administrative Coordinator will ask for several documents for the registration/hospitality agreement that the HR Department will arrange for you. This process will take about 4 to 5 weeks and, after approval by the Faculty, you will receive an FHML ID number and a Maastricht University account with which you have access to your UM email address, the Intranet UMployee ( and the digital University Library ( and can subscribe for PhD courses that are paid by FHML. Your logon details will be sent automatically to the email address mentioned in the documents that have been provided to HR. Employed candidates will receive an invitation for an employment condition interview with their HR advisor. Those employed at the Maastricht UMC+ will fall under HR of the MUMC+ but also get a registration/hospitality agreement for their PhD trajectory so that they are entitled to FHML PhD courses.

Registration in the PhD Track system

Once you are registered with CAPHRI, you and your supervision team will also be registered in our PhD TRACK registration and monitoring system for PhD candidates. With your account details, you can enter PhD TRACK via You will regularly receive emails with instructions and reminders, in particular to fill out a Declaration Scientific Integrity at the start and to draw up a Training & Supervision Plan and Personal Research Plan (both within three months after the start of the PhD project) and an annual questionnaire about your satisfaction with the PhD trajectory.

Personal Research Plan (PRP)

In consultation with your supervisor(s), you will draw up a scientifically sound Personal Research Plan (PRP), including a publication plan and feasible timeframe, enabling you to finish the project within the contract period or agreed timeframe. The PRP is to be signed by you and your daily supervisor and then sent to the PhD coordinator. Consequently, the PRP should be updated and discussed with your supervisors at the end of every PhD-year and after their approval, you should upload it in TRACK. The PhD coordinator only needs to see the PRP after three months to sign it off in PhD TRACK.

Training & Supervision Plan (TSP)

The TSP is a tailored plan, aimed at acquiring specific skills and knowledge needed for your PhD research, as well as generic skills that are crucial for your development into an independent researcher, as well as increasing your employability for a career outside academia. The TSP is to be signed by the supervisors and, for internal PhD candidates, also by their HR advisor and then sent to the PhD coordinator for approval and signing it off in PhD TRACK. After their approval, you should upload it in PhD TRACK. The TSP should also be updated and discussed with your supervisors at the end of every PhD-year.

When selecting activities in your TSP, you should make a well-balanced choice from courses in research skills and courses that are relevant for your personal, academic development. PhD candidates should select courses in:

  • Methodological skills (quantitative and/or qualitative);
  • Statistics and analysis techniques (quantitative and/or qualitative);
  • Project-specific skills and knowledge;
  • English academic writing and presenting;
  •  Academic skills, such as self-, project-, time- and career management, communication skills, grant writing, networking, etc.;
  • Educational skills, such as tutoring problem-based learning, lecturing, etc.

Internal FHML PhD candidates are expected to contribute to about 10% of their appointed work time to the teaching obligations of their Department.
Besides content-related and personal development trainings, PhD candidates should also take part in conferences (preferably in a poster or oral session), symposia, workshops, seminars.
In addition, there should be room to carry out other PhD-related activities, such as:

  • Being PhD representative or member of the Faculty or University Council;
  • Organising a societal impact activity, such as a symposium, building a website, etc.

The FHML/FPN TSP states that employed 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. This rule is deviated from within CAPHRI. The number of ECTS points is not counted. CAPHRI believes it is especially important that PhD students take courses that are important for their PhD project and for their own personal development.

External PhD candidates should discuss their expectations with their supervisors and make agreements on a tailor-made TSP. You can register your courses and activities, including the related ECTS points or equivalent hours in the PhD TRACK system. These will then be included in the Word document when you generate your TSP (with the small Word-icon on the top right).

Here you will find an overview of PhD courses.

PhD budget

CAPHRI encourages every PhD candidate to grasp the opportunity to develop themselves as researcher and professional. It is therefore important to participate in courses, to visit (academic) events and to meet fellow (international) researchers. Many courses are for free for PhD candidates who are registered at FHML: the PhD courses provided by FHML staff,  the PhD courses on offer by the Language Centre, and the courses offered by the University Library. The trainings offered by the Staff Career Centre should be paid for 50%. All can be found on the FHML PhD course website. Costs can be paid from the PhD incentive payments that your supervisory team will receive upon successful completion of your PhD trajectory. If you plan to make costs, you need agreement of your supervisors as laid down in the TSP. Do not hesitate to ask your supervisors for permission to make costs, as your PhD trajectory is a developmental trajectory that your supervisors should support. In general, for most PhD candidates, up to about €4000,- is considered as reasonable to spend on courses and conference costs, although the range of the available budget and the need for courses may differ per individual PhD project. we advise you to discuss your budget with your supervisor when drawing up your TSP. 

First Years‘ PhD Meeting

You will receive an invitation for the (online) First Years‘ PhD Meeting which takes place 2 times a year. The aim of this meeting is three-fold:

  • To get to know the key contact persons of CAPHRI
  • To get to know other new PhD candidates in your cohort across Departments and research Lines
  • To be informed about the typical CAPHRI thoughts and perspectives.

Research Line

As all CAPHRI researchers, from the level of postdoc to professor, PhD candidates are also embedded in a CAPHRI Research Line, or sometimes more than one. Please consult your supervisor to which Research Line you belong. The Research Lines may organise meetings from time to time.