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Innovative Research Ideas


Admission requirements

This course is open to all students that have been admitted to the minor ‘Quantitative Biology’.

Contact information

Course coordinator: Dr. S.C. Hille


In interdisciplinary teams of 2-4 students the participants study a selection of papers. The use or lack of use of mathematical modeling in these research projects is discussed under supervision of a mentor. The teams give presentations of their findings to the other teams. Moreover, they formulate and discuss ideas for integrated mathematical-biological research related to that performed in the studied papers, such that the proposed ideas are both realistic and experimentally feasible. The teams assess the pros and cons of each of their ideas for integrated Quantitative Biology approaches, e.g. on experimental feasibility, mathematical and/or computational complexity, envisioned issues with integrative approach, etc. The teams document and present their findings to the other teams. The topic or application that is the subject of discussion of a team can be tuned to fit the research interests of the team members in agreement with the supervisor.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
Getting acquainted with the possibilities and limitations of mathematical and experimental techniques to a Quantitative Biology approach in a variety of practical research settings. The students gain experience in the application of this approach to a specific research question, and in working together in an interdisciplinary setting. They increase their communication skills in such a setting. They train their skills in assessing the feasibility of proposed detailed approaches.

Final qualifications:
• Ability to assess the (im)possibilities of application of a Quantitative Biology approach to a specific biological research question.
• Students obtained practical experience in working in (small) interdisciplinary teams.
• Obtained practical experience in an experimental design with an integrated Quantitative Biology research approach.
• Increased communication skills in interdisciplinary setting.

Time table

The time table is provisional and provided times are indicative. A detailed final schedule will become available before the start of the minor. It is foreseen that the course runs intensively from week 8 until week 12 of the semester, except for week 10, when an exam has been planned for the course ‘Physics and Chemistry for Biodynamic modeling’. The course ends with presentations by participants in week 13 of the semester.

Mode of instruction

Plenary meetings with instruction, team presentations and discussion. Team meetings with supervisor. Final presentation of research plans by teams.

Assessment method

a) Participation in plenary sessions and discussion (10%)
b) Participation in team work and team presentations (20%)
c) Final project proposal of the team (30%)
d) Oral examination of the student’s understanding of topic(s) discussed in the selected papers and the ideas for a integrative research approaches adapted to the topic(s) considered (40%)


Blackboard will be used for communication and provision of course material.


Will be announced. A selection of papers on a biological topic is provided to each of the teams. In agreement with the team supervisor a topic may be chosen that is of joint interest of the team members and within the expertise of the supervisor.


Via Usis. Enroll also for the course in Blackboard.
Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Prospective students website for information on the application procedure.