Mission & Aims

Effective Mentoring for PhD Students

At the VBC, we want to foster a world-class scientific environment where PhD students develop and excel. The purpose of the PhD Program is to train rigorous, independent scientists through a comprehensive training experience.


The VBC PhD program encourages students to positively contribute to the advancement of science by making and publishing important scientific discoveries. The training program will allow students to acquire scientific skills, which are important for a career in science, but also for other career paths.

In these pages you can find what we set out as the aims (learning outcomes) and by browsing the menu in the left what are the roles and expectations os the different participants.


By the end of their PhD training VBC PhD students should be able to:

  •  Understand a scientific problem, define specific questions, and by scientific reasoning develop an (experimental) approach to address it. In particular, the following scientific practices should have been acquired:
    • to independently and critically evaluate the current state of a research field regarding the chosen scientific problem and approach
    • to formulate testable hypotheses
    • to design experiments to test hypotheses, to define a realistic time plan for them, and to define their logical outcomes
    • to plan and implement projects rigorously, and be able to revise them when necessary
    • to interpret experimental outcomes and to reach sound conclusions based on the results
    • to propose and follow up experiments
  • Have demonstrated the ability to be intellectually independent and to take project ownership
  • Be critical thinkers and proficient in scientific reasoning
  •  Be experts with regard to their topic, and knowledgeable in science and the scientific method in general
  •  Have advanced science communication skills in
    •  Writing (for publications/fellowships and grant applications)
    •  Presenting to specialized and interdisciplinary audiences

To achieve these goals students need to have/develop the following competencies

  • willingness and capability to learn and/or expand technical skills
  • proficiency in keeping thorough research records
  • practicing high standards of professionalism and collegiality
  • cultivating professional networks and collaborations