Elective module: research hubs in Utrecht & Montpellier

Registration for the 2024 edition of the elective module "Tackling health challenges in internationally linked research hubs" is open for master's students from Université de Montpellier and Utrecht University. This year's theme is: Immunotherapies for tackling cancer.

Université de Montpellier and Utrecht University are collaborating on a new elective module consisting of two parts:

Critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration skills are vital for professionals to tackle complex health challenges. Training these skills can be achieved through interdisciplinary projects where students research, prototype, and collaborate. The linked research HUBs provide an innovative international educational platform for Master students to work together on translational medicine challenges.

Learning outcomes module

Tackling health challenges in internationally linked research hubs: Framing solutions

The elective Master's course offered jointly by University of Montpellier and Utrecht University fosters an international network of research hubs dedicated to addressing global health challenges with a student-centric approach. Emphasizing the cultivation of transversal skills essential for effective research, the course aims to equip students with the tools necessary to excel as researchers and prepare them for future internships and career opportunities.  Students engage in interdisciplinary teamwork focused on a real-world health challenge, with the theme for the 2024/25 edition being "Immunotherapies for Tackling Cancer". This theme evolves annually to address current issues. 

Collaborating across partner universities, students form subgroups representing diverse disciplinary backgrounds to devise hypotheses and draft research proposals aimed at addressing the chosen challenge.  A hybrid or on-site conference at University of Montpellier is organized at the beginning of the course with representatives of various aspects of the chosen topic—including patients, patient advocacy groups, medical professionals, and researchers—who provide insights from their respective perspectives. Throughout the module, students participate in (hybrid) plenary workshops, skill-development lectures, and collaborative work sessions led by principal investigators from the research hubs.  The culmination of the course involves the collaborative production of a written research proposal and presentation, which students pitch at the conclusion. Selected students who have participated in the course may also have the opportunity to undertake a six-month unit internship starting in January 2025.

After completing the module, students will be able to:

  • Collaborate with stakeholders from different domains, disciplines, and social groups, including scientists, medical specialists, patients, society, industry, and policymakers, to design solutions to health challenges in a transdisciplinary manner.
  • Develop and translate cross-sectoral, context-specific strategies/interventions within the continuum of fundamental science to pharmaceutical industry, policymaking, and social, economic, cultural, and environmental determinants of health problems.
  • Demonstrate comprehensive and critical awareness of health challenges and their interconnections with One Health and Environmental & Planetary Health, including ethical approaches, personalized disease management, and societal needs.
  • Formulate hypotheses based on current literature and cutting-edge data, identify appropriate methodologies, and communicate proposals to stakeholders and society in both written and oral formats.
  • Analyse the principles of evidence-based translational medicine, including its application from bench to bedside and society, and vice versa.
  • Summarize the key concepts and theories of the study subject, including the pathophysiology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of both communicable and non-communicable diseases with high disease burden and mortality, as well as their associated risk factors.
  • Reflect on your own personal development, and potential cognitive biases and assumptions in the context of interdisciplinary and international work.

Research HUBs


Learning outcomes internship

Tackling health challenges in internationally linked research hubs: Research

On successful completion of the internship students should be able to:

  • Work full-time for 6 months on a relevant research question or patient case originating from the elective module of this course in which patients are also often involved.
  • In subgroups, work together with a group of students on the same overall hypothesis using different perspectives and methodologies.
  • Study the subject under the supervision of medical doctors and researchers and devise the research strategy.
  • Conduct experiments to answer the research question.
  • Analyse and present the data and collectively write a single scientific article or report about it.

Four students can take part in the internship (+/- 30 ECTS). There will be an exchange between Montpellier and Utrecht during the internship and students collaborate on the same challenge in four different internships.


    Module: Framing solutions

    The module requires a sufficient level in English speaking and writing, to facilitate the international collaboration. The lectures will be in English and the research proposal will be written in English. A mobility from UU to UM will be a part of this module.

    The module is open for students from:

    • UM: students from the following master programs: Science du medicament, Biologie santé (cancer biology/others), Pharmacie Industrielle, Master biomolecule, Material for health
    • UU:  Graduate School of Life Sciences Master programs including Cancer, Stem Cells and Developmental Biology, Cardiovascular Health and Disease, Drug Innovation, and Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences

    Internship: Research

    Four students can take part in the internship (+/- 30 ECTS). An interest in interdisciplinary and international collaboration is important. The requirements for application are given under 'how to apply?'

    How to apply?

    Module: Framing solutions

    Please include in the application:

    • Name
    • Email address
    • Your current MSc programme
    • Short motivation on why you want to join the module (max. 150 words)

    The deadline for applications for the 3 ECTS module is the 1st of June 2024.

    Internship: Research

    Internship opportunities

    Please include in your application:

    • Name
    • Email address
    • Current MSc programme, including completed ECTS
    • Specify which internship you’re applying for
    • Motivation letter of max 600 words.
    • Your application for the DRY part (it is required to participate in the 3ECTS module as a preparation for this internship).

    The deadline for applications for the 30ECTS internship is the 1st of June 2024.

    For more information and sending in your application, you can contact the module coordinators.


    Questions about housing or mobility

    If you have any questions regarding housing or mobility, please contact your local international office:


    Time schedule module 

    The module will start the 18th of September and end at 11th of December 2024. 

    • 18th of September (15.00 CET): Online kick off meeting
    • 25th of September (10.00-16.00 CET): Conference in Montpellier
    • 16th of October: Workshop framing the research question and hypothesis 
    • 6th of November: Workshop on scientific communication
    • 20th of November: Workshop on methodology and lab tours
    • 27th of November: Workshop on buidling your pitch
    • 11th of December: Grande Finale - present your proposals

    In the weeks between the workshops, students will have self-organised team meetings.

    Time schedule internship

    The internship will take place from January - June 2025.