The international character of our school is reflected by the large percentage (almost half) of foreign PhD students that contribute to CARIM’s research.

CARIM PhD Program

Our PhD program is accessible for talented and motivated students graduated from national and international Medical and Biomedical Masters. Currently approximately 120 PhD candidates are enrolled in our PhD program. Almost 50% of our PhD candidates come from foreign countries, guaranteeing an international atmosphere. In general, PhD candidates are selected through open competition when there is a vacancy. Available positions are usually posted on Academic Transfer and on the CARIM website

The principal goal of the 4-year PhD training program is to support PhD candidates in developing themselves into independent and productive researchers in the cardiovascular field. To ensure high quality PhD training, CARIM offers frequent interaction of PhD candidates with a skilled and experienced supervisory team, thereby providing a stimulating and critical environment to further develop one's research skills. We also offer our PhD candidates a broad range of possibilities to attend seminars, master classes, and symposia to present their own research on national and international podia. 

Training and supervision

The contents of the CARIM PhD program is formalized in the Training & Supervision Plan (TSP) and in the Personal Research Plan (PRP). Both TSP and PRP have to be submitted within 3 months after the start of the PhD trajectory. In the TSP the tasks, duties and rights of the PhD candidate are laid down. As part of the TSP your supervisors are required to indicate how the supervision is organized. They also have to install a mentoring committee (for details on the composition and role of the mentoring committee click here

In the TSP the courses, conferences, activities and teaching roles planned that enable you to further develop your skills and competencies as a researcher during your PhD trajectory. The CARIM PhD program demands that the PhD candidate has earned 25 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) points after completion of the 4 year PhD program. The guidelines as to how you can acquire your 25 ECTS at CARIM are found here.

The Personal Research Plan (PRP) encompasses a description of the PhD research project, including background, aims, workplan and timeline, and needs to be updated each year. Research progress and plans for the nearby future are discussed with the mentoring committee on an annual basis.

Working as a researcher at CARIM implies that you will take notice of and will handle by The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice and the Code of Conduct for Research Data Management of the Maastricht University.

As of 2015 a digital platform, referred to as PhD TRACK, is operative facilitating PhD candidates in designing and updating their TSP and PRP. Moreover, it allows PhD candidates, their supervisors and the PhD coordinator to monitor and reflect on research progress and the acquisition of generic and school-specific skills and competencies. For more information about TRACK click here.  

PhD Coordinator and Education Program Committee

Marc van Bilsen (PhD, Associate professor of Molecular Physiology) has been appointed as PhD Coordinator. The PhD Coordinator serves as a mentor for all CARIM PhD candidates and as a contact point for their supervisors. The PhD coordinator is also chairman of the CARIM Education Program Committee (EPC), in which both and PhD representatives and CARIM staff members are represented. The EPC coordinates both the PhD and Master’s programs and advises the Executive Board on all issues regarding these educational programs. Within CARIM the PhD coordinator works closely with the CARIM Office, policy advisor and scientific director.

Contact information

Marc van Bilsen, Uns 50 room 3.156

T +31 (0)43 - 388 12 04


CARIM Courses Maastricht

As of 2011 CARIM organizes several state-of-the-art cardiovascular courses for PhD candidates within one week in parallel. This so-called CARIM Course Week not only encompasses cardiovascular courses, but also includes a joint program as well as various social activities co-organized by I'MCARIM, our PhD-club.

This year the CARIM Courses are scheduled from June 17-21, 2019.

The CARIM Courses allow you to get acquainted with state-of–the-art technologies and novel concepts in Cardiovascular Research. Equally important, it allows you to meet fellow-PhDs and CARIM staff. This will help you to generate new ideas, to boost your own research, and to enlarge your network.

The topics of the courses of this year are:

Please remember that as part of your PhD program you are required to participate in at least two CARIM courses.

As part of the course week I’MCARIM organizes a social event on Monday evening and a Career Workshop on Wednesday afternoon. Late Thursday afternoon there will be a BBQ for all employees of CARIM and of the Heart-Vascular Center.

In the accompanying flyer you will find a description of the courses and additional information about how to register, etc. The registration form is also attached.

In the same week the Department of Molecular Cell Biology organizes the course “Advanced Optical Microscopy”. This course also counts as a CARIM course.

Information for registration for the course  “Advanced microscopy and Vital Imaging”: If you would like to be sure of a place in this particular course next year, you can already indicate this now.

Netherlands Heart Foundation PhD-training courses ("Papendal Courses")

The cardiovascular PhD-training courses consist of 3 state-of-the-art courses. These are organized under auspices of and with financial support from the Netherlands Heart Foundation. All three courses take 5 days and take place at the Papendal conference Center in Arnhem in or around October. The courses are open not only to CARIM PhD candidates but also to PhD candidates of other Dutch universities and research institutes. The Papendal courses address three topics, corresponding with the CARIM research themes: Cardiac Function & Adaptation, Vascular Biology, and Thrombosis & Haemostasis. For detailed information on the contents of the Papendal courses and how to apply click here.

Maastricht UMC+/FHML general courses

There is more to PhD training than cardiovascular research, and the Maastricht University, Medical Center (MUMC+), university library, and language center offer courses smoothening the path to your PhD thesis and future career. For example, there are courses ranging from presenting and writing scientific English, to statistics, and to career management. For further information about all courses, please visit


Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty, Second Edition

Based on workshops co-sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and HHMI, this book is a collection of practical advice and experiences from seasoned biomedical investigators and includes chapters on laboratory leadership, getting funded, project management, and teaching and course design. Download the link to the book


CARIM Postdoctoral Talent Fellowship

CARIM has initiated a new fellowship to support talented PhD students in realizing an one-year research project as a Post-doc. It has a budget to provide one year of competitive salary as a Post-doc and must be spent partly at a foreign institute.  CARIM PhD students that are in the fourth year of their PhD trajectory are eligible.

The fellowship is intended to provide recently promoted, top CARIM talent a chance to gain experience abroad and return to CARIM to perform excellent research. It offers a competitive salary for a one year post-doctoral position.
This fellowship is designed to support talented PhD students in realizing an ambitious, innovative and international one-year research project as a Post-doc. As part of the grant you will be expected to go abroad for part of the post-doc in collaboration with high-impact collaborators, gather international experience and write prestigious grants such as the VENI.

Dissertation information

Promotiewijzer, the website with all information about attaining a doctoral degree at Maastricht University is primarily designed to inform PhD candidates of Maastricht University about the most common issues concerning the writing, printing and the defense of a PhD thesis.

Although many of the procedural information is focused on University Maastricht, the information regarding design, printing of a thesis, finance, tax consequences and so on, is of such a general nature that it is also of interest for PhD candidates from other universities as well.

Career guidance for PhD candidates

A PhD position is often the first place of employment for many young graduates, ushering in the start of their professional careers. Based on their PhD defence, they can either continue with a career in the academic sector or a different field. During this process of career development, PhD candidates can draw on the services offered by the Staff Careers Counselling Services. Read more.


New information as of March 20, 2019
Several changes have been made to UM regulations for obtaining the doctoral degree. This involves a limited number of modifications that clarify the regulations and are more suitable for the way the process works in practice. You can read more about the most important changes below.
Assessment committee

Article 19 on the composition of the assessment committee has been rewritten. It now describes what is meant by ‘attached to Maastricht University (UM)’. This makes it clearer under which conditions a member of the assessment committee is considered internal or external.

Defence committee
Article 28 on the composition of the defence committee has been modified. It now states that at least half of the participants in the deliberations should be attached to UM and that at least half of the participants should be professors. In the deliberations, the members of the defence committee evaluate the research upon which the thesis is based, the thesis itself and the defence.

Joint and double doctoral degrees
Article 34 on joint and double doctoral degrees has been modified. It now states that the assessment committee should be comprised of at least one member from each of the cooperating universities and two members who are not attached to one of the cooperating universities. Furthermore, a regulation has been included that members of the assessment committee and the defence committee who are attached to the cooperating Dutch or foreign university are considered to be attached to UM.

Allowance for printing and reception costs
The ‘Regulations printing and reception costs PhD’s’ have been modified (see here). As of 1 January 2019, the allowance for printing and reception costs amounts to a maximum of € 2,000, of which a maximum of € 750 can be allocated for reception costs. Furthermore, PhD candidates will now have to submit 6 instead of 10 copies of the thesis, which will be compensated at € 0.36 per page.

  • It is required to use the correct form (enclosed) for the reimbursement.
  • It is required to enclose original bills (copies will not be accepted)
  • The costs associated with the acquiring of 6 copies of the thesis by the Maastricht University will still be reimbursed (see form)
  • The declaration form should be sent to secretariat CARIM, Box 26, UNS 50 (CARIM will sent the form to drs. W. Bosch (Bureau FHML, Peter Debyelaan 15)

You can find the UM regulations for obtaining a doctoral degree here.