ManiFold offers cutting edge training in protein science
ManiFold offers an extensive training programme for 11 PhD students (“Early Stage Researchers”, ESRs). All ESRs will be enrolled as PhD students in the Bijvoet Graduate School. Central to the quality of the training programme are the individual research projects. All projects have an interdisciplinary component, and local, international and industry collaborations. The contributions of the international and private sector associate partners to the training are clearly defined. Off-site interactions are strengthened by meaningful secondments of at least 1 month each.

The training includes:
i) Specialist training in an international, interdisciplinary and intersectorial research project,
ii) Advanced technology training courses,
iii) Training in transferable skills,
iv) Seminar programme to deepen conceptional understanding on protein assembly processes.

Advanced training courses
The ESRs will follow a range of high quality advanced training courses. The relevance for both the academic and the private sector is highlighted by the fact that those courses are also booked by external scientists from both sectors. Depending on the focus of their project, the ESRs of the network will gain a minimum of 9 ECTS from advanced training courses listed below:

“Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry“
This course aims to give an overview of the present state-of-the-art in Bio­molecular Mass Spectrometry, high­lighting several recent applications in chemistry, pharmacy, biology and medicine (chair: Albert Heck). Basic fundamentals and in­strumentation are also covered. The course is meant for those who wish to learn about new developments in mass spectrometry and how they may contribute to their own area of research (2 weeks, 3 ECTS).

“Advanced NMR Spectroscopy”
This course is organised by the NMR group at the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) at the Radboud University Nijmegen and the NMR research group of the Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research at Utrecht University (chairs: Rolf Boelens). It covers the theoretical aspects of current biological high-resolution NMR spectroscopy. The course will take three weeks and will be given both in Utrecht and Nijmegen (4.5 ECTS).

“From Data to Structures”
This is an advanced NMR workshop on bio­molecular structure determination by NMR and complementary techniques, including SAXS and cryo-EM (chair: Rolf Boelens). Topics dealing with modelling, analysis, structure determination of biomolecules are discussed (2 weeks, 3 ECTS).

“Advanced Protein Crystallography”
This course covers the use of crystallography to study proteins and protein complexes (chair: Piet Gros; 2 weeks, 3 ECTS).

Symposia, seminars and meetings
The training of the ESRs will be accompanied with an intensive and diverse seminar programme. The ESR will participate in the seminar series of the Bijvoet Graduate School, in which invited (international) speaker presents a seminar on a topic relevant to the research programme. The ESRs contribute to selection of speakers. The ESR may also participate in the complementary seminar series of the Institute of Biomembranes. The ESR will participate in the monthly “MPEP” seminar series, which will be joined by all PIs and PhD students of the school. At every seminar a Bijvoet group leader reports on novel concepts and an ESR on recent research progress. The ESR will participate in the bimonthly “Bijvoet PhD student evenings” that allow ESRs to present and discuss their work in the absence of their group leaders. The ESRs also can attend journal clubs and weekly research progress meetings.

The Bijvoet Graduate Research School has an annual retreat at a location outside Utrecht, “Bijvoet Tutorial Symposium”, all ESR and PIs of the network will participate. Presentations of the ESRs will be complemented by 5 high profile (international) speakers who are invited to spend the entire 2 days with the Bijvoet staff and ESRs. This enables the ESRs to present their work in front of those high profile scientists and to network with them.

Additionally to that, the network and the Bijvoet School support ESRs to visit national and international meetings relevant to their topics. All fellows will visit at least two meetings of the Dutch NWO Studygroup Protein Research and at least one additional international meeting abroad.

Training of Transferable Skills
The ESRs of the network will be trained in transferable skills relevant to the modern life scientist. The Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences and the Bijvoet Graduate School offer a wide range of training in transferable skills courses. Each ESR will at least follow the courses listed below:

Entrepreneurship, IP issues and exploitation of results
The course “Training Valorisation in Life Sciences”, organised jointly by teachers from Utrecht University, the University Medical Center and the Technology transfer unit of the Utrecht University, Utrecht Holdings, covers valorisation as core task of public institutions, IP issues, (patents, licenses and royalties), public-private partnerships, finances and venture capital and entrepreneurship (from the idea to start of a company) (0.6 ECTS).

Management for PhD students and postdocs
The course “Management for PhD students and postdocs” consisting of lectures and skill training teaches the ESR how to get grip onto their own research project and to deal with their various tasks and responsibilities. Also professional basic skills and negotiation techniques will be addressed (5 half days, 1 ECTS).

Communication and presentation skills
The course “presentation on scientific meetings” focuses on presenting in English in the international context. It includes strategies when presenting in a foreign language, tips and tricks in scientific English and intercultural communication (1 ECTS).

Science ethics and philosophy
The course “That thing called science – a short course in science studies” (9x 2.5h) discusses several aspects - sociological, historical, ethical and philosophical - of biomedical science. During each session two speakers, who are experts in their field, will set the scene for a highly interactive session (1 ECTS).

Scientific writing
The Bijvoet course in scientific writing focuses on writing of scientific articles and grants, consisting of lectures and exercises. This course is taught by an external expert together with senior researchers of the School and comprises 5 half days of contact time (1 ECTS).