PhD internships within Smarter Choices for Better Health

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At the Erasmus Initiative Smarter Choices for Better Health, we aim to improve the health of the population by conducting societally relevant and high-quality research. Internships offer opportunities to bring research and practice together. This experience will help making our research more meaningful, it will illustrate what stakeholders can gain from collaborating with academics, and it will expand the skillset of researchers. 

Most importantly, it is a lot of fun conducting an internship besides your regular academic projects! We strongly encourage all PhD candidates to expand their horizon by conducting an internship.

This document will be offered to all PhD candidates at the start of their appointment within Smarter Choices, and will serve as an entry point for a timely discussion with supervisors about possible internships. There are no strict rules or regulations related to the content, duration or timing of an internship. It is important that students have sufficient time and resources available to conduct an internship. This sometimes means that during an internship period, other activities will be placed on hold. We ask supervisors to accommodate internships where possible. Discuss with your supervisors if your internship can be added to your PhD training programme.

What type of internships are possible?

Your internship will take place at a stakeholders' institute, or you will work on a commissioned project at your own institute. You will use your knowledge and analytical skills to help a stakeholder find the answers to a research or policy question. Depending on your interest, you can think for example of one of the following stakeholders:

  • Erasmus Medical Center or other healthcare providers
  • Policy institutes (e.g., Ministry, Dutch Healthcare Authority, National Health Care Institute)
  • Health insurers
  • International organizations (e.g., World Health Organisation, OECD, World Bank)[1]
  • Knowledge institutes (e.g., The Netherlands Nutrition Centre, The Mulier Institute)
  • Action-oriented parties (e.g., Krajicek Foundation, Jantje Beton)

Your internship will be centred around creating societal impact or implementation. One can think of the following actions:

  • Make research visible to the general public (e.g., organise roundtables, podcasts)
  • Make research visible to societal stakeholders (e.g., organise workshops, conferences, lunch seminars)
  • Organise or join initiatives to help implementing and embedding findings into practice

Your internship will include teaching or developing educational materials. It can take place within the educational setting, or will be conducted in close collaboration with a societal stakeholder. Some opportunities for a teaching internship include:

  • Get involved in one of the minors offered at the Erasmus University or Erasmus Medical Center (e.g., Minor Smarter Choices for Better Health, Minor Public Health or the Minor Value Based Health Care)
  • Give lectures to young Rotterdam talents (e.g., via the Science Education Hub)
  • Organise training sessions or develop e-modules for clinicians, (local) policymakers or other societal stakeholders

Do not miss an internship opportunity!

Some general tips:

  • It’s never too early to discuss internship ideas. Do not wait for your final year of appointment as arranging an internship will take some time.
  • Your supervisors can help finding the best internship opportunities. Discuss the best timing and duration for conducting an internship with your supervisor.
  • Make use of existing networks to help find the best placement. We encourage supervisors to introduce the candidate to their network of stakeholders.


[1] Some institutions have specific internship programs, some of which are paid:

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