Casimir Research School receives € 800.000 for talented PhD’s


The Casimir Research School has received a € 800.000 grant from the NWO Graduate Programme. Today Plasterk announced that Casimir’s plans to train talented physics PhD students were ranked as one of the best. The Leiden-Delft Casimir receives the grant for its plans to further integrate the master and PhD phase.
Thus Casimir wants to attract top-of-theclass students from both the Netherlands and from abroad. On top of thefour PhD students that will be subsidized by the NWO, Leiden and Delft will each fund three additional positions. In total, ten PhDs in will get a special position in Leiden and Delft within the framework of the Graduate Programme.

Upside down

The Casimir Graduate Programme turns the established order upside down. During the two year master, students usually follow courses and do research at one university. Afterwards they can apply for a PhD position, for which the research topic is set. At the Casimir Graduate School PhDs can propose their own research plan. The selection for the Graduate Programme is based on personal qualities and the proposal. Furthermore the programme integrates the master and PhD studies, in order to give talented students an in-depth education and to appeal to their creativity as independent researchers.

From master to PhD

The integration of master and PhD starts at the beginning of the master studies. Each year thirty master students will be selected and invited to participate in the “Pre-PhD Track”: During the master each student has his/her custom made programme, focused on topics chosen by the student him-/herself. In the Pre-Phd Track students are introduced to the research cultures of Leiden and Delft, and to a foreign university. The students conclude the master with a proposal in which they formulate their own research ideas. The top ten proposals are rewarded with a special PhD position. Instead of following the lead of a professor, the students are presented with the opportunity to follow their own research line during a four year period. Aside from the four year internationally oriented research project, the PhDs have a training programme which includes research courses, complementary skills courses and workshops.

A Leiden-Delft cooperation

The Casimir Research School is an intensive cooperation between Leiden University and Delft University of Technology in the field of interdisciplinary physics. In 2004 the Leiden Institute of Physics (LEI) and the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience (TUD) decided to unite forces and to jointly educate and coach of PhD students. Casimir combines theoretical, experimental and applied physics on six research themes. Fundamental and applied research is done at both locations.

read information on NWO website