The centre

The Netherlands

The NKI is a comprehensive cancer centre that combines cancer treatment and research under one roof. Close interaction between clinicians and researchers, excellent science, state of the art facilities, and an open and collaborative environment provide an ideal starting point for a PhD training. The NKI hosts a large and diverse PhD community of around 400 PhD students. The research at the NKI covers the whole spectrum of cancer research, from fundamental research, translational research, clinical research up to implementation and cost effectiveness studies.

PhD students receive an employment contract with the NKI, a monthly salary, an additional holiday allowance and an end-of-year payment (both approximately 8% of the annual pay). Employees are enrolled in a pension scheme and the NKI contributes 50% of the contribution. Employees are entitled to 144 holiday hours per year in addition to the public holidays and 57 hours per year that one can use for extra free time, or they get paid out at the end of the contract. The NKI offers financial support when moving to the Netherlands and additional tax exemptions might apply in case of expats.

The research at the NKI covers the whole spectrum of cancer research: molecular and cellular biology, molecular genetics, genome organization, structural biology, immunology and immune therapy, pre-clinical research, early detection, epidemiology, psychosocial research, translational cancer biology, clinical trials, cost effectiveness studies, and imaging. The research is organized in 5 themes: fundamental biology, immunotherapy, precision medicine, image guided interventions, and survivorship. An important cross cutting focus is digital oncology, including artificial intelligence.

The NKI is connected to the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek cancer hospital, constituting together a Comprehensive Cancer Centre by the OECI and accredited as a Centre of Excellence on Translational cancer Research by the EACS. The clinic treats a wide spectrum of cancers except paediatric and hematologic cancers. NKI is a partner within Cancer Core Europe: seven centres for translational/clinical cancer research. NKI collaborates with many (inter)national research institutes, hospitals and other organizations, including the Hartwig Foundation, generating whole genome sequence data from a large cohort of cancer patients. NKI is a partner of the virtual Oncode Institute, helping researchers to speed up the process from bench to bedside.

The PhD program at the NKI includes a wide spectrum of courses that are offered throughout the years. Furthermore, all PhD students go to a yearly retreat during which they exchange science and build their network. The students take part in the international seminar program at the NKI through which they connect with excellent scientists in cancer biology from all over the world. Every student has a supervisory committee composed of 4-6 faculty members that helps the student and the supervisor during the PhD period.

The NKI houses a very lively scientific community. A culture of openness and collaboration supports all members of our community. An active PhD committee helps the management of the NKI to make conditions for PhD students better. The social interactions are many and diverse. Every Friday there are free drinks, and everyone is welcome to discuss science, exchange the latest scientific news or make plans for the weekend. The NKI is within 10 minutes biking from the centre of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is one of the most international cities in Europe. Everyone speaks English and there are many cultural and culinary hotspots in the city. The party-scene is great, and Amsterdam is a very open-minded and inclusive city.


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