Doctoral School of Health & Life Sciences

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Organisation & management

The Doctoral School of Health & Life Sciences (DS H&LS) is a joint initiative of

  • the Faculty of Medicine & Life Sciences
  • the Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences

The Doctoral School Board consists of members of each faculty (see below). Prof. Dr Jean-Michel Rigo is appointed as director. Prof. Dr Raf Meesen is appointed as vice-director. The doctoral schoolboard is responsible for

  • development of the curriculum (organisation of courses, quality control)
  • evaluation of the individual program of PhD students
  • decisions about possible exceptions

The faculty liaison doctoral schools, Dr Hans Nickmans, is responsible for all communication with PhD students and postdocs, as well as for the coordination of all discipline-specific activities.

Members of the Doctoral School Board

  • Prof. Dr Jean-Michel Rigo (director)
  • Prof. Dr Raf Meesen (vice-director)
  • Prof. Dr Ilse Dewachter
  • Prof. Dr Pieter Vandervoort
  • Prof. Dr Niels Hellings
  • Prof. Dr Annick Timmermans
  • Sam Vanherle (PhD representative - Biomedical Sciences)
  • Evert Baten (PhD representative - Medicine)
  • Laura Casters (PhD representative - Rehabilitation Sciences & Physiotherapy)
  • Dr Dorien Lanssens (postdoc representative - Faculty of Medicine & Life Sciences)
  • Dr Stefanie Verstraelen (postdoc representative - Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences)
  • Prof. Dr Piet Stinissen (Dean Faculty of Medicine & Life Sciences)
  • Prof. Dr Peter Feys (Dean Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences)
  • Dr Kim Pannemans (Staff scientist BIOMED)
  • Dr Hans Nickmans (Faculty liaison doctoral schools)

Minimal requirements

An overview of the minimal requirements postulated by the Doctoral School of Health & Life Sciences is shown on the websites below. Fulfilling these requirements is obligatory for all PhD students who started their PhD from October 2010 onwards.

The doctoral school course offer may be used to fulfill the requirements, but (additional) external courses may also be acknowledged and may sometimes be needed. A digital procedure is used for the acknowledgement of activities within the framework of the minimal requirements, generating an overview of the progress made in your individual doctoral school portfolio on Google Drive. This document can be consulted at any time by you, your supervisor and the doctoral school’s management team.

Exemption from (certain) doctoral school requirements can only be requested within three months after starting the PhD (or within six months if you have a 3 x 2 year contract), by completing this template and sending it to the DS faculty liaison (hans.nickmans@uhasselt.be).

The requirements that need to be fulfilled are different depending on the start date of the PhD. Below you can find an overview:

Requirements - PhD started before 01/09/2017

Poster/Oral presentations

  • three abstracts as first author on national or international conferences/meetings
    • 3 different abstracts
    • oral presentation or poster count equally
    • cumulative, can be published all in one year

Grant proposals

  • participation in writing a submitted grant proposal (FWO, IWT, EU …)
    • writing/submission counts but NOT success
    • supervisor signs standard form to confirm participation

Scientific skills

  • one obligatory course* on ethics & Research integrity
  • three compulsory elective technical/methods courses: (e.g. neuroanatomy of mice/rats, FELASA, Imaging, basic statistics...)
    • pragmatic calculation for the compulsory elective courses: 1 course = ~8h (except for the obligatory courses)

Transferable skills

  • organization of a scientific symposium OR participate actively in two initiatives related to the dissemination of science to society
    • organization of a scientific symposium: In order to be eligible of the DS, the symposium should meet these criteria (pdf, 99 KB). It is obligatory to ask approval of the doctoral school before you start organizing a symposium to make sure that this will be acknowledged by the DS.
    • the following activities related to dissemination of science to society can count for this requirement: participate actively in the organisation of the 'Dag van de Wetenschap', participate actively in research projects from high school or be actively involved in guided tours for students from high school and the senior university (seniorenuniversiteit). Any other activities must always be submitted to and approved by the DS board.
  • three compulsory elective (verplichte keuzevakken) courses/activities (e.g. project management, managing my PhD, presentation skills, time management, lab management, business development, IP, biomedical ethics …
    • pragmatic calculation for the compulsory elective courses: 1 course = ~8h
  • sessions about research data management: a combination of different sessions (adding up to a half/full day), organized at the UHasselt, can be acknowledged together as (half) a transferable skills course.

Teaching and supervision of students

  • teaching (at least 8 contact hours / semester)
    • possibilities for teaching are: lecture, practicum, work session, COO, PGO, journal clubs, seminars)
  • supervision of students (at least 4 students during your PhD and provide at least one scientific topic for supervision each year)
    • possibilities for ‘supervision’: supervision of bachelor, junior or senior students, jaarwerkstukken
  • more information about the required documents in order to add these activities to your DS-portfolio can be found on the website: Procedure to add activities to DS-portfolio

Publications & Patents

  • one first author paper (original research paper) in the top 50% of the domain according to the ISI Web of Science (requirement to be fulfilled in combination with cumulative impact factor - see below)
    • In case of equally contributed authorship, and your name is mentioned on the second place, you need approval from the DS-board that this paper can count for this requirement.
  • cumulative Impact Factor (IF) > 5
    • calculation:
      • research papers:
             first/last author (equally contributing counts) = full IF counts
             middle author = IF/2 counts
             in case of new journals without an impact factor special approval by doctoral school necessary
      • systematic review (only if registered in an official database like Prospero** and only one counts)
             first/last author (equally contributing counts) = full IF counts
             middle author = IF/2 counts
      • review (only one counts):
             first/last author (equally contributing counts) = IF/2
             middle author = IF/4 counts
      • patent
             counts as up to 2 impact points dependent on contribution
             cannot compensate for first/last author paper)

* or equivalent: if you would like to follow an equivalent, please send the programme to the coördinator of the DS.

** The DS Board approved a transitional measure for systematic reviews that were/will be published before or in 2020. The impact factor of a systematic review, which is not included in the Prospero database, can count fully in the calculation of the cumulative IF if the systematic review has been carried out according to the PRISMA guidelines and on condition that the PhD student is first or last author. The full IF of a systematic review published after 2020 can only count if the systematic review is included in a database such as Prospero.

Requirements - PhD started after 01/09/2017

Poster/Oral presentations

  • three abstracts as first author on national or international conferences/meetings
    • 3 different abstracts
    • oral presentation or poster count equally
    • cumulative, can be published all in one year

Grant proposals

  • participation in writing a submitted grant proposal (FWO, EU …)
    • writing/submission counts but NOT success
    • supervisor signs standard form to confirm participation

Scientific skills

  • one obligatory course* on ethics & Research integrity
  • three compulsory elective technical/methods courses: (e.g. neuroanatomy of mice/rats, FELASA, Imaging, basic statistics...)
    • pragmatic calculation for the compulsory elective courses: 1 course = ~8h (except for the obligatory courses)

Transferable skills

  • organization of a scientific symposium OR participate actively in two initiatives related to the dissemination of science to society
    • organization of a scientific symposium: In order to be eligible of the DS, the symposium should meet these criteria (pdf, 99 KB). It is obligatory to ask approval of the doctoral school before you start organizing a symposium to make sure that this will be acknowledged by the DS.
    • the following activities related to dissemination of science to society can count for this requirement: participate actively in the organisation of the 'Dag van de Wetenschap', participate actively in research projects from high school or be actively involved in guided tours for students from high school and the senior university (seniorenuniversiteit). Any other activities must always be submitted to and approved by the DS board.
  • three compulsory elective (verplichte keuzevakken) courses/activities (e.g. project management, managing my PhD, presentation skills, time management, lab management, business development, IP, biomedical ethics …
    • pragmatic calculation for the compulsory elective courses: 1 course = ~8h
  • sessions about research data management: a combination of different sessions (adding up to a half/full day), organized at the UHasselt, can be acknowledged together as (half) a transferable skills course.

Teaching and supervision of students

  • teaching (at least 30 contact hours / year)
    • possibilities for teaching are: lecture, practicum, work session, COO, PGO, journal clubs, seminars)
  • supervision of students (at least 4 students during your PhD and provide at least one scientific topic for supervision each year)
    • possibilities for ‘supervision’: supervision of bachelor, junior or senior students, jaarwerkstukken
  • more information about the required documents in order to add these activities to your DS-portfolio can be found on the website: Procedure to add activities to DS-portfolio
  • teaching professionalization
    • obligatory information session for starting PhD students about the teaching concept at Hasselt University, the curricula of the different programmes and the didactic basis competences which help you to teach in an activating way. If you are not involved in teaching or guiding students at Hasselt University, you only need to follow the part about didactic basis competences which help you to teach in an activating way.
    • obligatory: Starting PhD students will receive guidance when they start teaching. How? A system for observations and support is set up. More information about this system and what is expected from you is available here.
    • optional: additional modules related to teaching professionalization such as ‘how to give feedback’, ‘guiding bachelor/master students’,… are organized. Optional modules related to teaching professionalization are eligible as transferable skills courses/activities. If you follow two optional modules, this can count for half a course in the category: ‘transferable skills’.

Publications & Patents

  • one first author paper (original research paper) in the top 50% of the domain according to the ISI Web of Science (requirement to be fulfilled in combination with cumulative impact factor - see below)
    • In case of equally contributed authorship, and your name is mentioned on the second place, you need approval from the DS-board that this paper can count for this requirement.
  • cumulative Impact Factor (IF) > 5
    • calculation:
      • research papers:
             first/last author (equally contributing counts) = full IF counts
             middle author = IF/2 counts
             in case of new journals without an impact factor special approval by doctoral school necessary
      • systematic review (only if registered in an official database like Prospero** and only one counts)
             first/last author (equally contributing counts) = full IF counts
             middle author = IF/2 counts
      • review (only one counts):
             first/last author (equally contributing counts) = IF/2
             middle author = IF/4 counts
      • patent
             counts as up to 2 impact points dependent on contribution
             cannot compensate for first/last author paper)

Thesis

  • Cumulative Thesis (publications bundled + introduction and discussion; max. 20 pages each) OR
  • Classical thesis (rewriting all data in a booklet)

* or equivalent: if you would like to follow an equivalent, please send the programme to the coördinator of the DS.

** The DS Board approved a transitional measure for systematic reviews that were/will be published before or in 2020. The impact factor of a systematic review, which is not included in the Prospero database, can count fully in the calculation of the cumulative IF if the systematic review has been carried out according to the PRISMA guidelines and on condition that the PhD student is first or last author. The full IF of a systematic review published after 2020 can only count if the systematic review is included in a database such as Prospero.