The Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS)

TSP (Training & Supervision Plan)

TSP (Training & Supervision Plan)2021-07-07T05:59:05+01:00

The Graduate School EPS requires an individual Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) for every PhD candidate (all categories). In order to obtain funds for the training and an EPS Certificate, your TSP must be approved by the Educational Committee. The TSP form can be obtained here.

The outline of the TSP should be prepared in consultation between the PhD candidate and the PhD supervision committee, which consists of the (co)promotor(s) and the supervisor(s). The TSP describes how the training part of the project is scheduled within the framework of two fixed provisions: the time spent by a PhD candidate on education is 15% of the appointment (= minimum of 30 ECTS credits) and the maximum time spent on teaching duties is 10% (= 84 days or 672 hours). This outline can be adjusted later on, if needed.

The first sheet of the TSP file gives an introduction on how to use this file. To start your registration, please fill in the required information on the sheet ‘About PhD’ on the first day of your appointment and subsequently forward this information to Anja Mosselman. Please be aware that it is possible to exclude the information about the External Advisor at this time.

The rest of the TSP form (‘Supervision’, ‘Teaching’, and ‘Training’ sheets) must be completed, within three months after the start of your  PhD project. Please send the whole TSP in excel format as well as a scanned, signed version with the sheets ‘About PhD’ (including the required information of the external advisor), ‘Supervision’, ‘Teaching’ and ‘Training’ electronically to the PhD Programme coordinator, Susan Urbanus. Please cc your promotor(s) and copromotor(s) in this e-mail.

Specific terms for the training part in the TSP

EPS requires a minimum of 30 ECTS credits to be spent on educational activities. In the TSP file itself you can find comments with information about the minimum and maximum requirements for each category, if you hover over an item with your pointer. Below you can find more detailed information about the requirements for the five different training categories.  One  ECTS credit point equals a study load of 28 hours. A full day programme is usually credited with 0.3 ECTS, while a half day programme is credited with 0.2 ECTS.

1. Start-up phase

Minimum:1.5 ECTS credits

These educational activities will provide the PhD candidate with the essential knowledge, theoretical background and skills to carry out the research.

Preparing for a presentation, for instance for the staff, postdocs and colleagues of the laboratory will provide the PhD candidate with insight in both the main scientific question of the project and the way(s) to address this question. The presentation should be given within six months after appointment.

1.5 ECTS credits

Occasionally a project is written by a PhD candidate. This may occur, for instance, when a candidate is privately funded, when the candidate has to compete for a grant from a specific fund, or the candidate is allowed to create a project within the framework of a bigger programme. Substantial rewriting of the original project proposal occurs mostly when new scientific insights, obtained after the original project proposal was submitted and granted, give cause for this. Writing or rewriting a proposal is a very instructive, but also time-consuming activity. The maximum credits for this activity are set to 6 ECTS credits, to avoid an unbalanced training.

Depending on time spent to write; 6 ECTS credits maximum

Next to the first oral presentation of the project, the written presentation of the project in a review or a book chapter will be very instructive. Such written presentation of the project will be credited to a maximum of 6 ECTS credits (only possible in old TSP version), provided that it is submitted to a journal or book editor at the moment of graduation and accepted for publication. The PhD candidate should be the first author of the review or book chapter, or in very rare cases the second author with a very substantial contribution.

Depending on time spent to write; 6 ECTS credits maximum

Some PhD candidates will be appointed on a project in spite of a deficiency in their previous education regarding the specific requirements of the project. These deficiencies need to be addressed in order to enable the candidate to properly carry out the research. Therefore, attendance at lectures, practical classes and/or courses from the MSc teaching programme, for specific subjects and on a restricted scale, can be necessary. This should, however, be restricted to courses that are necessary to fill a specific knowledge gap. The study credit is the same as set in the study guide of the university involved, to a maximum of 6 ECTS credits.

6 ECTS credits maximum

2. Scientific exposure

Minimum: 7 ECTS credits

These educational activities aim to introduce the PhD candidate in the national and international network of scientists involved in related research. Knowing the network and developing a good reputation in the network is considered to be a key factor for the PhD candidate’s scientific future.

Every year the EPS PhD Council organizes a two-day meeting for all EPS PhD candidates. The programme may include both scientific lectures and lectures on subjects related to science, such as patenting, publishing or career orientation. The EPS PhD student days are a perfect place for networking and, therefore yearly attendance is highly recommended and the minimum attendance of two EPS PhD student days is required.

0.3 ECTS credits per day; minimal 2x attendance

Every year the research theme coordinators (EPS professors or senior staff members) will organize a theme symposium for each of the four research themes. Scientific lectures, PhD candidate’s presentations, poster sessions and networking are frequent elements of the programme, but it may also be focused on a specific issue related to the theme. Since the projects of all PhD candidates are related to one of the four themes, there will always be one’s ‘own’ theme symposium and three ‘other’ theme symposia each year. Attendance of the ‘own’ theme symposia is highly recommended. The minimum attendance of two theme symposia is required.

0.3 ECTS credits per day; minimal 2x attendance

Every year plant scientists in the Netherlands will organize a two-day meeting in Lunteren for the plant scientific community. These days are subsidized by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Other scientific platforms related to plant science also organize (annual) meetings. Examples are the Royal Netherlands Botanical Society (KNBV), the Arabidopsis Network (Aranet), the Netherlands Genetic Society (NGV), the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society, The Netherlands Entomological Society etc. Attendance of the Lunteren days or other national platform days is highly recommended and the attendance of two is required.

0.3 ECTS credits per day; minimal 2x attendance


Every year EPS scientists will organize seminars, workshops and symposia on various subjects. These activities offer a wider perspective to the broad field of experimental plant sciences and the PhD candidate’s research project. A minimum of 1.5 ECTS credits is required in this subcategory.

Leading scientists in the field, often from abroad, are invited to hold seminars. Sometimes these seminars are organized as seminar series. Each seminar can be credited with 0.1 ECTS credits.

In the case of workshops and symposia, a full day programme is credited with 0.3 ECTS, while a half-day programme is credited with 0.2 ECTS credits.

0.1 ECTS credits per seminar; 0.3 ECTS credits per day; 1.5 ECTS credits minimum

With some seminars there is an opportunity for a limited number of PhD candidates to have a meeting with the speaker before or after the seminar to discuss the seminar topic, the latest paper from the speaker or other research topics, or to particpate in a special workshop. These seminar plus meetings are credited with an additional 0.1 ECTS credits.

0.1 ECTS credits per attendance

The PhD candidate is given the opportunity to visit at least two international symposia or congresses, preferably combined with an oral or poster presentation at these meetings. Reporting afterwards on the proceedings of the conference to the own group can be an integral part of the process of going to an international meeting.

0.3 ECTS credits per conference day; 8 ECTS credits maximum

The PhD candidate should give at least two presentations about the progress of his/her research outside his or her own group, preferably in the second or third year and in the fourth year. Poster presentations at the EPS PhD student days and oral and poster presentations at the theme symposia, the Lunteren days and at (inter)national workshops, symposia and congresses are good opportunities for the PhD candidates to learn to present their research and their accomplishments, and to become known to other plant scientists. If the PhD candidate belongs to a specific consortium and gives regular presentations (on the progress of the project) at these consortium meetings, only the first and the final presentation is awarded with credits.

1.0 ECTS credits per presentation; 2.0 ECTS credits minimum

Ideally each 3rd year PhD candidate will have an interview with either one of the EPS Research Coordinators or a member of the International Advisory Board of EPS.  This interview will focus on the progress of the project and the final steps to take towards the PhD defense.

0.7 ECTS credits

Occasionally PhD candidates, the EPS PhD Council or the chair group will take the initiative to organize an excursion to departments of universities, research institutes or companies performing research in their specialization. Such excursions contribute to broadening the PhD candidate’s view on research and its organization and to the network of the participating candidates. The participation in such excursions is credited for 0.3 points per full day scientific programme.

0.3 ECTS credits per day; 3 ECTS credits maximum

3. In-depth studies

Minimum 3 ECTS credits

These educational activities aim to provide the PhD candidates with a sound scientific base for their research and their future career in science or related to science. The in-depth studies can consist of courses, workshops, season schools, placements at other laboratories and journal clubs.

EPS will organize a balanced variety of courses, workshops and season schools every year. The programmes and lecturers for each course are chosen to guarantee the inclusion of the most recent scientific insights. Quite often, these courses are organized in collaboration with other Graduate Schools that focus on fields adjacent to experimental plant sciences. These collaborations are beneficial because:

  • it allows for the organization of courses only of interest for a subset of PhD candidates from both schools;
  • it broadens the PhD candidate’s view;
  • it adds new dimensions to the PhD candidate’s network.

Next to the courses organized by EPS, be it in collaboration with other Graduate Schools or not, there are many courses of good scientific standard organized by other Graduate Schools and research institutions, both in the Netherlands and abroad. These courses, organized by other Graduate Schools in, or adjacent to the experimental plant sciences may count to fullfil the requirements of the EPS training. The attendance of, and active participation in at least two courses, workshops or season schools is required.

In principal 0.3 ECTS credits per day; 2 courses minimum

During the PhD project, the PhD candidate may have to spend some time on a short training at a different laboratory. These placements are intended particularly for the individual study of and training in techniques and bio systems that are not (yet) readily available within the own laboratory. The placements are credited for 0.3 ECTS credits per day with a maximum of 3 ECTS credits.

0.3 ECTS credits per day; 3 ECTS credits maximum

At some laboratories journal clubs are being organized. In a journal club, PhD candidates discuss for instance the design of a scientific article and the possible application of the knowledge from this article, preferably under the guidance of an experienced scientist. There is a maximum of 3 ECTS credits for attending such a Journal Club regularly (every two weeks or every month) over a period of 4 years.

Depending on frequency; 3 ECTS credits maximum

4. Personal development

Minimum 3 ECTS credits

These educational activities aim to strengthen the PhD candidate’s abilities and performance skills in their project and their future career in academia or outside academia. Personal development courses and trainings are organized at all universities by specialized branches of their own organization. EPS also recognizes the potentials of personal development through the (co)organization of major meetings and courses or the membership of EPS boards and committees.

These courses and trainings aim to improve amongst others:

  • Societal awareness and scientific responsibility:
    • Ethics in (life) science(s)
  • Performance in the research project at hand:
    • Written English
    • Scientific writing
    • Time planning
    • Project management
    • Presentation skills
    • Communication skills
    • Digital art and data processing
  • Performance as a supervisor:
    • Didactics for teachers at secondary education level
    • Supervision of MSc students
  • Performance in a future scientific career:
    • Project management
    • Writing of project proposals
  • Performance in a future career related to science:
    • Career orientation
    • Didactics for teachers at secondary education level
    • Scientific journalism
    • Outreach

0.3 ECTS credits per day; 1 course required

Co-organizing a PhD course, seminar series, workshop, excursion, outreach activities et cetera, preferably under the guidance of an experienced EPS staff member, will substantially contribute to the PhD candidate’s organizational skills.

Maximum of 1.5 ECTS credits per activity; 3 ECTS credits maximum

Active participation in the EPS PhD Council improves the organizational and management skills and at the same time broadens the PhD candidate’s network and is therefore credited with 0.7 ECTS credits per year of membership, but with a maximum of 1.4 ECTS credits. The chair and the secretary of the EPS PhD Council not only chairs the council but also attend meetings of the board, the research committee and the educational committee and are therefore credited with 1.4 ECTS credits per year, with a maximum of 2.8 ECTS credits.

0.7 ECTS credits per year of membership; 1.4  ECTS credits maximum

1.4 ECTS credits per year of presidency; 2.8 ECTS credits maximum

5. Teaching & Supervision Duties

During the PhD project the PhD candidate might be required to perform teaching and supervision duties or might choose to participate in these activities voluntarily. Please note that the PhD candidate should not spend more than 10% of their time on these teaching and supervision duties and that clear learning targets for the PhD candidate should be agreed upon in the TSP form. Please note that this section on teaching and supervision duties is only available in the new TSP version from November 2019 onwards.

For courses in which the PhD candidate has teaching duties, please calculate the total of contact hours, preparation time and hours needed for marking exams or correcting reports. One ECTS credit point equals a study load of 28 hours.

Depending on amount of hours; 3 ECTS credits maximum

PhD candidates regularly spend time on supervising BSc or MSc thesis students. EPS strongly advocates that PhD candidates supervise BSc or MSc students on thesis subjects that fall within their own scientific expertise and also fit within the scope of their PhD thesis. Because the work done by students under the supervision of PhD candidate will in most cases also benefit the results of the PhD candidate, 75% of the average time spent on supervision is counted here. Depending on the kind of work the students will need to do, a thesis or internship can require either desk research of laboratory research, or a combination of the two. Please follow the guidelines for calculating the amount of supervision hours as stated in the Teaching sheet in the TSP. One ECTS credit point equals a study load of 28 hours.

Depending on amount of hours; 3 ECTS credits maximum