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University of Groningen awards its first international doctorate to aphasia researchers

23 January 2015
Laura Bos (left) and Rimke Groenewold Photo: Elmer Spaargaren
Laura Bos (left) and Rimke Groenewold Photo: Elmer Spaargaren

Thursday 22 January the University of Groningen presented its first ever joint PhD certificates, when Laura Bos and Rimke Groenewold have been both awarded a PhD for a project relating to aphasia. In addition to a degree certificate from the University of Groningen, they also received a doctorate from the University of Potsdam and Macquarie University (Sydney). Bos and Groenewold conducted their research as part of the IDEALAB programme, which is supported by the European Union.

A joint doctorate means that PhD candidates are awarded a doctorate by not one, but two or more universities. The research and teaching required for the PhD take place in a joint track at two or more universities. This has been the first time that the University of Groningen has awarded a degree certificate of this kind.


Laura Bos and Rimke Groenewold carried out research into aphasia, a language disorder resulting from acquired brain injury. Aphasia presents in various ways; for example, patients may have trouble with grammar or experience problems accessing vocabulary. One of the more striking aspects is that most people with aphasia find verbs, which are a vital part of human communication, particularly difficult. Bos focused on the use of verb tenses, while Groenewold studied the way in which aphasia patients use direct speech.

Joint programme

The Department of Neurolinguistics in the Faculty of Arts is partnering four other universities (three in Europe, one in Australia) in the IDEALAB programme. The aim of IDEALAB (International Doctorate in Experimental Approaches to Language and Brain) is to train PhD candidates in the experimental and clinical aspects of language and the brain in children and adults with and without language disorders. A joint teaching programme and research project at a minimum of two partner universities leads to a joint doctorate. IDEALAB is funded by the European Union Erasmus Mundus grant programme, which supports excellent international cooperation programmes in higher education.

More information

Prof. Roelien Bastiaanse , Professor of Neurolinguistics and supervisor of Bos and Groenewold
Alice Pomstra, IDEALAB coordinator

Laura Bos
Laura Bos
Rimke Groenewold
Rimke Groenewold
Last modified:19 March 2020 2.01 p.m.
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