Teachers' Guide | Graduate School of Life Sciences

Research project / business internship

All GSLS Master’s students perform at least one research project during their Master’s programme. The goal of the research project is to train students to work in a real research setting using the scientific method.


The Master’s research project guide for supervisors contains additional in-depth information about supervising a research project.

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


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

About the project or internship

Roles and responsibilities

Please visit the Master’s research project guide for supervisors for a complete overview of your responsibilities as examiner, daily supervisor, supervisor host institute, or second reviewer. As supervisor, you are responsible for teaching and coaching the student, creating the right ambiance, supporting the student in their learning process, and drawing up agreements. Supervising implies offering a tailor-made approach to the student’s needs. Together with the examiner, 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 and your role is to support them on that.


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. 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.

End products

A research project consists of several key stages: drawing up a timetable, reviewing literature, drawing up a research plan, carrying out experiments and 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. 


The format of the written report should be discussed and agreed upon between student and examiner before the student starts the writing process. The typical formats are described below.

Research reports include an abstract, plain language summary, introduction, materials & methods, results, conclusion & discussion, and references. 

Business internship reports include a management summary, plain language summary, introduction, company analysis, market analysis, research conducted, results, discussion, conclusions and recommendations, references, and a personal experience report. 

A plain language summary (layman summary) is a ~500-word summary specifically aimed at informing laymen about the content of the project. The target audience is able to understand biology at high school level. 

Final presentation

The final presentation is given by the student at the research group where they have performed their research. If the research project is performed outside UU/UMCU, the presentation must be given both at the host institute and the department of the examiner. Alternatively, the examiner can be present during the presentation at the host institute.


Research project typeNumber of ECLength
Major research project5136 weeks
Profile research project33 (flexible)23 weeks (flexible)
Business internship27 / 3019 / 21 weeks
Epidemiology project6546 weeks

For the profile research projects, the number of EC may vary. In this table we use 33 EC as a reference.

The standard duration of the several types of projects is in the table under ‘Length’ (1 EC = 28 hours). During the application process, students must indicate the time spent on courses, holidays or other days off and the end date will be calculated automatically. We strongly advise you to urge your students to plan and take days off and already think of this at the start of the project (preferably at least two consecutive weeks of holiday each year) to keep a healthy balance between their studies and personal time.

It is essential that students finish the project by the set deadline since any delay will likely affect the total duration of their Master’s programme. This includes handing in the final report and presenting the results. This does not include the 10 working days for assessment of the end products.

Learning outcomes

After finishing the 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 questions, 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 life sciences 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. 


The following steps will take you (chronologically) through the process of guiding a student throughout their research project.

Intake and start

A student can start the research project only after both the supervisor and the student have received an approval email from the Board of Examiners.

Discuss the rubrics with your student at the start of the project. There you will be able to emphasise which criteria are important for you and will be used for assessment. It will also give you an idea of the strengths and points for improvement of your student from the start.

Application forms

Since September 2022 the whole application procedure is digitized in OSIRIS Case. You can access OSIRIS Case via OSIRIS Supervisor. The 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. This information allows the programme coordinator and the Board of Examiners to review the content and level of the project. More information can be found here. 

Projects outside UU/UMCU

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 in OSIRIS Case. The research project coordinator will be notified and sign the contract. If your student is asked to sign a (non-disclosure) contract from the host institute, they can consult the research project coordinators. 

Internship account UMCU

For projects at the UMC Utrecht (UMCU), students need an UMCU internship account and UMCU card. The students will automatically get this account after approval of their research project.


At the GSLS we aim to stimulate an open working atmosphere and safe environment in which our students can discover who they are, who they want to be and how to get there professionally; in short, we want them to fully develop their professional identity.

What is the SEED tool about?

The SEED tool focuses on facilitating a Supervision Expectations & Evaluation Dialogue. Using this tool, students are encouraged to reflect and proactively discuss with you as a supervisors about the optimal conditions for a good learning environment. 

This SEED-tool form contains guidelines and space to serve as a base for reflection, discussion, and revision of previous agreements. Therefore, it is recommended to start using the SEED tool from the beginning of the process. Students can always go back to their SEED tool at any point during your research project.

Interim assessment

During the research project, the supervisor and student are expected to meet every week to discuss the work of the student. 

A mandatory interim assessment should take place 2-3 months after the start of the project. (We encourage supervisors to schedule dedicated feedback moments more often, e.g., also after 6 months.) 

  • For projects at UU/UMCU: the meeting takes place with your examiner (preferably together with the daily supervisor).  
  • For projects outside UU/UMCU: the meeting is between you, your supervisor host institute, and your examiner (preferably in a single meeting). 

We strongly advise you to use the rubric about research skills during the interim assessment to give the student feedback on their work, progress, and performance. (Rubrics for the business internships can be found here.) 

After the interim assessment, the student must 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 the interim assessment form – inside (projects inside UU/UMCU) or the interim assessment form – outside (projects outside UU/UMCU). The required documents are uploaded in OSIRIS Case. 

Final assessment: fraud and plagiarism

Plagiarism check

The examiner has the responsibility to ensure that no fraud or plagiarism took place and should check the written report for plagiarism via Ouriginal. The students can do this themselves or the examiner can do this. Please note: as examiner you need to login with your Solis-id. If you do not have a Solis-id, request one on the UMC site containing all information regarding a Solis account.

Here you can find details on using Ouriginal.

Upload the final version of the report as Word file without the reference list to Ouriginal.  The examiner should upload the printed report (summary) from Ouriginal in OSIRIS Case during the final assessment.  

We also expect examiners to check for plagiarism in source code texts. As examiner 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 on plagiarism detection tools if you want more information what tool you can use.

Plagiarism check in case of confidentiality

In case of confidentiality, the examiner can exclude the file from the Ouriginal database. This option is only available when the examiner uploads the file. 

To do this, click on the analysis address, and go to the submission account (in Dutch: inleveraccount) see red circle. 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 the file with 0% similarity (green bar) is exempted from the database. 

If the file is exempted, other uploaders can see if there is similarity with the file but cannot open or access the file. If you click on the fourth icon, you will see the following message that includes the definition of this 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%?

When there is no case of plagiarism, a motivation written by the examiner explaining this should accompany the assessment form in OSIRIS Case.

Contract cheating sites

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

Report plagiarism

Any act of plagiarism should be reported to the Board of Examiners. Please do not hesitate to contact them for informal discussion on the case before taking formal steps: 

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

Final assessment: grading

The final assessment is primarily based on an evaluation of 3 elements: research skills, the written report, and the final presentation. These elements make up 60%, 30% and 10% of the final mark, respectively.  

If the grades of the examiner and second reviewer/supervisor host institute differ by 2 or more points, the examiner should notify the Board of Examiners. 

The examiner and second reviewer/supervisor host institute must complete the final assessment in OSIRIS Case (see OSIRIS Case manual) within 10 working days after the student has handed in the final report and has given the presentation. To make sure there are no delays, make agreements with your student beforehand about the dates for handing in the final report and giving the presentation. 


The examiner must provide a motivation for the final grades. We strongly advise to use the rubrics about research skills, research report, and presentation. For business internships the rubrics can be found on the GSLS rubric site.

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 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 consults the examiner. The examiner converts the grade according to the Dutch marking system if necessary. Here you can find the UU credit conversion table.

Grading tool

For guidance regarding the grading of a research project, you can use the flowchart on the Registering course results page.

Registration of grades

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

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Partial marks of the research projects and business internships should each be satisfactory. The student has the right to do a resit when the average final grade is higher than 4.0 (also in case of a NVD). 
  • To meet the cum laude requirements, students should receive a 8.5 or higher for their research project.

Final assessment: procedure

Please login to OSIRIS Supervisor to register the final assessment in OSIRIS Case (for more information check the OSIRIS Case manual), including the plagiarism report, and the motivation of the grades (preferably via the rubrics). The second reviewer or supervisor host institute receives a notification from OSIRIS Case once the form has been completed and is asked to approve the final assessment. After the approval, the student receives an email with instructions to upload their final report for the OSIRIS Thesis Archive and the grade is registered in OSIRIS. 

OSIRIS Thesis Archive

All written reports will be archived in OSIRIS Thesis Archive.  

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 and supervisor, they agree upon and decide if, when and how their thesis/report will be published. 

More information on OSIRIS Thesis Archive can be found here

Project start before September 2022?

For projects that are not registered via OSIRIS Case, the assessment procedure is as follows:  

  • The student downloads the assessment form and fills in the project information. 
  • The examiner completes the grading together with the supervisor host institute or second reviewer. 
  • The examiner sends the form including the motivation for the grade and plagiarism check to the Master’s administration office, programme coordinator, and student. Epidemiology students must first hand in the assessment form via MSc-Epidemiology@umcutrecht.nl.
  • The student receives an email asking to upload a copy of their report via OSIRIS Student (see the section about OSIRIS Thesis Archive).  
  • Once the Master’s administration office receives the assessment form and the student uploads their final report, the grade is registered in OSIRIS. 

Practical information


The entire procedure of research projects and writing assignments within the GSLS is digitised in OSIRIS Case. As an examiner, you can approach the OSIRIS Case environment via OSIRIS Supervisor. There is a manual for examiners available with detailed instructions on this procedure.

You need to have a Solis-id and OSIRIS account to log in to OSIRIS. If you are employed by the UMCU, and you do not have a Solis-id and/or OSIRIS account yet, you can request one on the UMCU Solis account site.


  • Why can I not log in to OSIRIS Supervisor?

There are different reasons why you might not be able to log in to OSIRIS Supervisor:

OptionWhat you need to do
2FA not workingIf the two-factor authentication (2FA) is not working properly. Please check the FAQ about 2FA. Still not working? Contact the UU IT service desk.
Solis-id not workingFor UMCU employees: please contact solisbeheer@umcutrecht.nl. For UU employees: please contact UU IT service desk.
None of the aboveContact OSIRISCaseGSLS@uu.nl.
  • Why can I not find the student in tasks?

There are different reasons why you cannot find a Case:

OptionWhat you need to do
Incorrect facultyCheck in the top right-hand corner in OSIRIS Supervisor if the correct faculty is selected.
You are not yet the active actorThe student still has an action that they need to undertake before the case is visible for you. Please remind the student that they need to click on ‘Ready’. They can do this by logging onto OSIRIS Student and selecting their case. If the student has any issues, they should check the OSIRIS Case manual for students or contact OSIRISCaseGSLS@uu.nl.
Email in junk folderPlease check your junk mail folder for the email from OSIRIS Case. If you still cannot find the email, please contact OSIRISCaseGSLS@uu.nl
Final assessment not possible yetFirst complete or approve the Interim assessment in OSIRIS Supervisor.
  • What can I do when the host supervisor did not receive a link to access OSIRIS Case?

Send OSIRISCaseGSLS@uu.nl the contact details of the host supervisor, including the email address, and a new link will be sent by them to the host supervisor.

  • What should I do if I have not been in contact with the student for a long time?

Reach out to the research project coordinator or programme coordinator, so they can help.

  • What is a ‘one-time password’?

The one-time password is generated by an authenticator app on your phone (e.g. Google authenticator) that is linked to your Solis-id. An explanation of the app can be found in this manual about two-factor-authentication.

For more frequently asked questions and answers – including those of students and the host supervisor – please visit the FAQ information on the Students’ Site.


If you have any problems, questions or suggestions, please contact OSIRISCaseGSLS@uu.nl.

Assessment in case of confidentiality

In case of confidentiality, the following applies: 

  • 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. 
  • The final report should be checked via the plagiarism checker Ouriginal. The examiner must upload the file to Ouriginal and select ‘EXEMPT‘. The information in the report will not be accessible in the Ouriginal database. 
  • Reports are archived in OSIRIS Thesis Archive. In case of confidentiality, the examiner can indicate via the assessment form (PDF or via OSIRIS Case) whether (a version of) the report should be published. If a formal confidentiality agreement does not allow archiving, the student may upload a title page only including contact details of the supervisor, examiner, and institute as well as their own name and student ID. 


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 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 projects 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 students (also students from other faculties), please contact your own faculty: 

Facilities for students with a disability

Students with a disability can submit a request for additional provisions in OSIRIS Student. The academic counsellor (study advisor) will pick up the request and register the provision in OSIRIS. This is a UU-wide procedure (log in with Solis-id for more information). If you have any questions regarding this topic, please contact the academic counsellors.

Problems, disputes, and premature termination

There can be different reasons for things not going as planned: the progress of the student, unmatched expectations in the topic or previous experience, the capacity for supervision in the research group, the student’s motivation, communication issues, etc.

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 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. 


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

  • Try to work out what caused the dispute and if you can resolve it, e.g. during the 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.


Due to unforeseen circumstances the end date of the research project might change.

After the end date, the student has a maximum of 20 working days that they can take to wrap up any last project details without officially requesting an extension. If the delay is longer than that, the student must fill in the ‘rescheduling end date form’ in OSIRIS Case including the new end date, new planning for completion of the project and the motivation for this delay. The examiner and the research project coordinator will be prompted to review and approve the rescheduled end date via OSIRIS Case.

Valid reasons for postponing the end date are: more time spent on courses, extra time off due to personal circumstances, or if the examiner/supervisor needs more time due to personal circumstances. When student’s personal circumstances play a role, the student must discuss this with the academic counselor before submitting the rescheduling request. Gathering more data, better results, new insight within the research group, inclusion, DEC or METC, and other matters concerning day to day practice in research are not considered valid reasons.