New research master: what are the experiences?

Genomics in Society now half-year up and running

It has been an exciting time this past half a year for both students and faculty as the new research master Genomics in Society (GIS) kicked off in September 2022. The first intake of students started and the faculty taught their first classes. ‘It felt unreal, exciting and it has been a true joy to get to know the students and see our plan come to life.’ says Sam Riedijk, Genomics in Society program director.

This new program within the Erasmus MC Graduate School trains students to become specialized researchers and professionals in a relatively new interdisciplinary research domain. Students are trained to bridge the gap and implement genomics where it can benefit people, and gather issues from society that can benefit from genomics. They learn to integrate the knowledge and skills of research, genomics, psychology, ethics, science communication, governance, and innovation so they can and contribute to a positive impact of genomics in society. 

Student Abdullah Jabor  

‘Already I feel I have started to learn how to make impact with research rather than ending up forgotten, in a dusty drawer.’ says Abdullah Jabor, first-year student. ‘I am challenged to think and work critically and constructively, approaching (genomic) issues from all different perspectives. GIS is unique in the way that it focuses on how people from different backgrounds can collaborate together. My classmates are for instance from different backgrounds, and it is really amazing to experience the synergy in group projects and class discussions.’  

GIS achieves an interdisciplinary profile by admitting students from both biomedical as well as social sciences study directions. This variety in backgrounds enriches the program, and allows this multidisciplinary group of students to collaborate, as well as develop an interdisciplinary research language. 

Student Kamel Mohamed  

‘So far, as a part of the first cohort of the master, I am very satisfied with the program.’ says Kamel Mohamed, also a first-year student. ‘It provides the interdisciplinary nature it has promised and even when startup problems occur, there is a speedy and adequate reaction from the core teachers. The enthusiasm of the staff is unparalleled and infectious. Especially when they speak of possibilities that we can be a part of in the future we as the students take over the enthusiasm.’ 

‘Focus on the well-being of our program and students’ 

While running the program, GIS’s faculty and staff have also been working hard to make sure that the research master proactively continues with the development of the program. 

‘The focus has been on the well-being of our program and students. ’ says Sam Riedijk, Program Director GIS. Because of our ‘small school’ approach, we have been able to build relationships with our students, based on mutual trust and respect. We feel this is essential, because we believe that it is the first step towards impactful education. We have also reflected upon the first period in our ‘peace for reflection’ session together with students, core teachers, educational specialists, quality assurance officers, and program advisors. This allowed us to share the lessons learned and apply them expeditiously. An example of what we learned is the understanding the effect programmatic testing has on a student’s mindset, where all of a sudden, making mistakes can be useful and is rewarded. A bit uneasy for some, but a great method that gives both students and faculty valuable feedback in the student’s knowledge and skills development.’ 

T-shaped professionals

After graduation students are equipped as T-shaped professionals, having in-depth expertise in the field of genomics and include their broad knowledge in psychology, governance, ethics, and entrepreneurship. They will be able to synergize between different fields, speak and connect their languages, while remaining focused on scientific and societal issues at stake.

Do you want to know more about this research master? Find more information here.

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