Bright Minds Assistantships

The Graduate School of Geosciences offers Bright Minds Assistantships since 2017. The assistantship programme is offered in addition to Utrecht University’s Bright Minds Fellowships. The aim of these half-year, paid assistantships is to involve you in ongoing scientific projects conducted by academic staff and PhD candidates. This allows you to experience what it takes to do research and to pursue a career in science.

Applications for assistantships starting in February 2020 have closed. Applications for assistantships starting in September 2020 will open mid-April 2020.

Who can apply?

You can apply for an assistantship if you are a (prospective) master's student at the Graduate School of Geosciences. You need to be enrolled in a master's programme during your assistantship. The assistantships are for highly motivated and talented students with a special interest in geoscientific research. They are available to Dutch and EU students, as well as non-EU students.

More information

What you need to know when you apply:


Applications for a Bright Minds Assistantship starting February 2020 have closed. Applications for September 2020 will open mid-April 2020.

Your application should include:

  • a motivation letter (max. 400 words), describing your ambition to become a geoscientist and detailing your current experience in the field.
  • your curriculum vitae.
  • your selection of (max.) three preferred projects, ranked from (favourite) 1 to 3.
  • your written permission for us to use your application files (submitted when you applied for your master's programme) during the selection process.
  • your student number.

Your application doesn't need to include an overview of your grades (transcript). We'll retrieve your grades from Osiris and/or your application file.

Please send your application (preferably as a single PDF file) via email to Tom Bouwmeester.


All applicants are ranked by the Student Affairs department on the basis of their grades (bachelor's, and, if applicable, master's) and their motivation to pursue a career in geoscientific research. A shortlist is then compiled and sent to the Faculty Board for assessment. Upon approval, the best-ranked students are invited to an interview with the supervisor of their preferred project.

Pay and employment

A Bright Minds Assistantship consists of 320 hours, including a certain amount of leave hours. You are required to work at least one and at most two-and-a-half days a week (8 to 20 hours). Your working schedule may be flexible within these limits, depending on your availability and your supervisor's preferences.

The Bright Minds Assistantships are subject to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities. As a master's student, you are paid according to increment 4 of the student-assistant (SA) scale. In 2019 this amounted to 2.319 Euro a month for a full-time position. As a Bright Minds Assistant you are usually appointed for 0,2 to 0,4 fte, depending on how you schedule your assistantship.

Please note that Bright Minds Assistantships are extracurricular (no credits are awarded) and cannot be a part of a thesis/graduation project.

If you are a non-EU student, different rules for working part-time apply. You are limited to a maximum of 16 working hours per week. Human Resources will help you obtain a work permit, but cannot guarantee that this request will be honoured. You should be aware that this process can take up to 12 weeks. If you're invited for an interview, make sure to discuss this with your supervisor. It may be advisable to choose a later starting date than September 1 or February 1, respectively.


If you have any questions, please contact Tom Bouwmeester.


Please see below for the project proposals submitted for the Bright Minds Assistantships starting in February 2020.