From 10 September 2019 11:30 to 19 December 2019 18:00

My Animal Research: Experimental Design - FULLY BOOKED

Course description
‘My Animal Research: Experimental Design’ is an interactive, blended (online and face-to-face) learning track, with the aim to complete a work protocol (experimental design) involving experimental animals. The learning track is composed of online training modules, face-to-face sessions, group workshops under supervision of an expert, a practice run of the assessment and a final assessment. An e-moderator will guide your learning process remotely.

The learning track starts with an online diagnostic test to identify gaps in knowledge and skills on which your personal learning path will be based. During this blended knowledge & skills track, you can go through several topics: choosing your animal model, experimental designs, statistics, determining your sample size, bias and bias prevention and quality control. By adapting the trajectory to your personal needs, you will create an optimal experimental design that meets all the current quality criteria with the greatest efficiency. 

Parallel to the knowledge and skills track, you will follow the culture track, in which we will personally guide you in applying your new insights in your own working environment. Face-to-face sessions with your community group gives you the opportunity to exchange perspectives with peer PhD candidates and will help you overcome professional issues.


  • You have completed the course ‘Laboratory Animal Science’ (art. 9, ‘function B’, FELASA accredited)
  • You are about to start (or in the starting phase of) writing on your work protocol/experimental design for your research project
  • You are available to attend the set gatherings with the community group (described in “Course schedule”)
  • You are enthusiastic for participating in the learning track between 10 September – 19 December 2019

The benefits of this learning track:

  • Work under personal supervision on the design of your next animal experiment
  • Access to study materials and fellow PhD candidates (community) in the field via an online learning environment
  • You will often work on "things that you must do anyway". So also see it as "time to work on your experimental design/work protocol"
  • A certificate with regard to experimental design when you pass the personalized assessment (3 EC)

Sign up quickly, since the number of places is limited! When the pilot learning track has been fully booked, you will be placed on a waiting list.

*Note that this learning track is brand-new and still in the pilot phase. We will therefore ask you to share your feedback while following the track, in order to further improve and develop our content in the future!

Learning objectives
After following the learning track, you will be able to:

  • Apply the current quality criteria on the experimental design of your animal experiment;
  • Explain and/or support how and why you made the methodological and statistical choices in your experimental design;
  • Reflect on your working environment and describe ways to integrate the learned content in your day-to-day practice and deal with issues you experience.

All of the above will lead to a solid experimental design/work protocol ready for submission and execution.

Instructional method
The learning track consists of the following didactic methods:

  • An online diagnostic test at the start to define your level and knowledge gaps, with a personalized advice for the weeks to follow;
  • An online learning environment with content and exercises, directly applicable to your own experimental design/work protocol;
  • Group workshops (face-to-face)* under supervision of a subject matter expert;
  • Participation in a community group of peer PhD candidates, with both online and face-to-face* exchange of insights and experiences;
  • A personalised assessment in order to achieve a certificate in experimental design worth 3 EC (with the possibility to prepare in the practice run of the assessment).

* For external PhD candidates outside Utrecht Life Sciences who are not able to attend physically, it will be possible to attend remotely for some face-to-face activities for the knowledge & skills track. However, for the culture track only online learning materials will be available.

You will be trained by many experts in the field. Dorien Huijser and Kelly Kwant will be your e-moderators and contact persons. 

Dorien has recently obtained her master degree in Life Sciences, Neuroscience & Cognition at Utrecht University. Before starting her Master’s, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences. During her study she was always interested in education and therefore followed the Education & Communication specialisation. She has worked on an education project at the University Museum Utrecht and developed teaching experience through tutoring students in higher education. She currently works as a data & lab manager on an Open Science project at Leiden University. In the design process of the learning track Dorien worked closely with several subject matter experts (SME) and has great overview over the topics in this learning track. She will guide you in your learning journey and study planning. She will be your contact person for questions and/or comments concerning the learning track.

Kelly has a background as Doctor of Medicine (MD), which she obtained in 2009. After working in several medical positions, she decided to explore her passion for education. In 2012 she started working at University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), where she obtained a University Teacher Qualification (BKO) and taught and supervised students in (technical) medicine training. During the last couple of years, she developed expertise on online and blended education, while working for the department of Education Technology at UMCU. She has designed many e-learning products and obtained a certificate in e-moderation in 2018. She is an experienced e-moderator, and guided many participants to completion of online courses. Together with Dorien, she will guide you and keep overview of online learning processes and study planning.

Max. number of participants

Number of credits
3.0 EC

Course schedule
Obligatory community group meetings:

  • Tuesday 10 September 2019 11.30AM – 15.00PM: Kick-off learning track (lunch included)
  • Monday 14 October 12.00AM– 14.00PM (lunch included)
  • Tuesday 12 November 11.30AM-14.00PM
  • Thursday 19 December 16.00PM-18.00PM: Festive closure event & certificates (drinks included) 

Depending on your level of knowledge you will be advised to attend (some of) the workshops below, scheduled between 9.30AM - 12.30PM. Please block these sessions in your agenda in advance!
Optional group workshops:

  • Tuesday 15 October: choosing your animal model
  • Thursday 17 October: bias and bias prevention, quality control
  • Tuesday 22 October: experimental designs, statistics, determining your sample size
  • Tuesday 29 October: experimental designs, statistics, determining your sample size
  • Thursday 31 October: bias and bias prevention, quality control
  • Tuesday 5 November: experimental designs, statistics, determining your sample size


  • Tuesday 12 November, 9.30AM-11.30AM: practice run of the assessment
  • Monday 25 November – Friday 13 December: final assessment, individually planned

Course certificate
You will receive a certificate with regard to experimental design when you pass the personalized assessment (3 EC).

Course fee
Participation in the pilot of this learning track is free of charge. Instead of a fee we ask you to provide feedback which will be used for further improvement and development of the learning track in the future.

You may cancel your application free of charge up to four weeks before the start of the course. If you cancel your application within four weeks before the start or if you do not meet the attendance requirements of the course, you(r department/research group) will be charged a no-show fee (€350 for this course). Unfortunately we cannot make any exceptions to this policy.

Start date and time
10 September 2019 11:30
End date and time
19 December 2019 18:00
Entrance fee
Free of charge
More information
PhD Course Centre