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EuroScholars News

In the Spotlight: Leiden University

Education at Leiden University

Leiden University’s programmes are characterized by their focus on a specific discipline and a strong interaction between education and research. This applies both to the bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes. Leiden University strongly believes that its university education benefits directly from the high quality research that is carried out within the university itself, and that new fundamental knowledge is new intellectual capital. The latest academic insights are immediately integrated into the courses.

Leiden University offers both one and two-year master’s by coursework programmes, as well as two-year research master's. The highest degree awarded in the PhD.  Learn more about research at Leiden University.

Research at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC)

LUMC is involved in many research alliances with academia and industry, at regional, national, as well as international level. Many of them are long-term collaborations. Besides that LUMC researchers are often asked to participate in research collaborations because of their specific expertise.

National, European and international funding are driving forces behind many of the alliances mentioned below. However, prior collaborative research has built the fundaments for current and future alliances.

One of the newest projects offered by the Leiden University Medical Center is
“Project on demand: Medical Image Processing”. The research project is supervised by one of Leiden University’s VENI-Award winners, Dr. Marius Staring, PhD.

Marius Staring studied Applied Mathematics at the University of Twente. He graduated in December 2002 with a thesis entitled "Analysis of Quantization based Watermarking". This project was carried out at Philips Research Labs in Eindhoven. From April 2003 until April 2008 he worked as PhD student at the Image Sciences Institute on the topic of medical image registration. He successfully defended his thesis "Intrasubject Registration for Change Analysis in Medical Imaging" on October 8th 2008. Together with Dr. S. Klein he is the author of the registration package elastix. Since May 2008 he is with the Division of Image Processing at the Leiden University Medical Center, where he worked on the local estimation of progression of pulmonary emphysema. He recently received a VENI award for research on parallel optimisation of image registration.

Division of Image Processing

The Division of Image Processing, also known as the Laboratory for Clinical en Experimental Image processing, is a division of the Department of Radiology. Goal of the division in a broad sense is the research, implementation and validation of image processing approaches which allow the objective and reproducible assessment of objects in medical images using automated segmentation techniques following a formalized Software Development Process (SDP).

About the projects, as mentioned on the EuroScholars website:
“The projects can accommodate 2-3 students per semester. The projects range from segmentation to registration, and can be the computer-automated detection of the lungs in 3D Computed Tomography (CT) scans, the quantification of plaque-burden in the coronary artery imaged with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or the digital correction of cardiac motion in IntraVascular UltraSound (IVUS) images. A longer list is available from the website. This list is not exhaustive; it is always possible to create new projects depending on the current research interests within the group, but also on student interest, specific skills and available time. The exact content of the project is therefore determined in consultation with the contact person of a specific project. Projects are usually performed in close contact with the clinic.

From our Alumni

Anne Patterson, Iowa State University, Leiden University

I first heard about the Euroscholars program during my fall semester at my home college. I had been previously interested in studying abroad, but just hadn’t found a program I could get passionate about. I heard about this opportunity through my university Honors program and decided to pursue the once-in-a-lifetime chance. I applied to work on a project with the Behavioral Biology group at the Institute of Biology at Leiden University. The project I worked on was studying zebra finches to see if we could determine whether each bird had a distinct personality, and if so, whether other birds could detect that personality. I’d never observed animals for several hours a day while simultaneously registering all their actions on a small handheld data registration device before, but I learned quickly and soon was designing and implementing my own project. I was initially nervous that I wouldn’t know what I was doing, but my supervisor Dr. Katharina Riebel was very helpful and was always willing to sit down and work through any issues with me. I was lucky in the fact that I decided to apply for this program to participate in the spring semester because the biology bachelor students at Leiden University were beginning their final projects as well. I got to work with a lot of people around my age, and was able to make some good friends that way. I was actually partnered with a Dutch student on the project, and that worked out well because then we both could learn more about each other’s language and culture, and it made my transition to Dutch life that much easier. I learned a lot about the research process and how to solve any problems that arose, which are very valuable lessons that can be put to use in any future research work I might do.

As a student at Leiden University, I lived in the city of Leiden, the Netherlands. This was a very nice city to live in as an international student as it was easy to find my way around and the city had everything I needed to live comfortably for my six-month stay. I didn’t know much about living in the Netherlands before I arrived, but I quickly adapted and was eating “stroopwafels” (Dutch snack made from waffles and caramel), Gouda cheese, and herring with the locals in no time! I didn’t have many issues with the language barrier, as everyone spoke English at least decently well. The city itself was convenient to travel from, with a large central station that had trains going all across the country and to other countries as well! I was able to make several trips to the surrounding countries, such as Germany, Belgium, France, the UK, and Ireland, both by myself and with the friends I made during my stay.

Overall, I had a fantastic experience with this program, and highly recommend it to future students who are thinking of studying abroad. I am planning on applying to graduate school soon, and I believe this experience will definitely serve to set me apart from the other applicants. I hope I can return at some point in the future to see all my friends again and maybe do some more traveling!


Thank you for your interest in EuroScholars, a unique research study abroad program in Europe. In each edition, this newsletter aims to keep you updated with the latest program developments!

In this Edition:

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Upcoming Conferences

  • EAIE: September 11 - 14, 2012;  Dublin, Ireland
  • NCHC (National Collegiate Honors Council): November 14 - 18, 2012; Boston, Massachusetts
  • AIEA (Association of International Education Administrators): February 17 - 20, 2013; New Orleans, LA.
  • NCUR (National Conferences on Undergraduate Research): April 11 - 13, 2013; University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • NAFSA: May 26 - 31, 2013; St. Louis, Missouri

ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship

ThinkSwiss offers 15 scholarships for a research stay in Switzerland. It supports highly motivated and qualified U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to do research at a public Swiss university or research institute for 2 to 3 months. The scholarship is open to students of all fields. The ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship program provides a monthly scholarship of CHF 1,050 (approx. 1,000 USD) for a period of 2 to 3 months (CHF 3,150 maximum), which covers two thirds of the average student’s living costs.


To apply for a ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship, the student must:

  • Be currently enrolled at an accredited U.S. university/college
  • Be a graduate student or an undergraduate student who will have completed his/her sophomore year by the time the research stay in Switzerland begins
  • Provide a written confirmation from a professor at a Swiss university that he/she will accept the student for a research stay in his/her group

Next application deadline: March 31, 2013

find a research project

how to apply