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Research Zernike (ZIAM) Education Top Master Program in Nanoscience

Small research project (NS194)


In the second semester of the first year, each student will carry out a small research project around an already defined problem. This course is designed to provide a first taste of scientific research. Properly keeping a lab journal, and presenting it at the end, is an important part of this course (see guidelines below). Additionally, each student should give an oral presentation on her/his research project. The students will organize a scientific symposium at the end of the semester where they all give their oral presentations.

Important: the small research project needs to be performed in a different group from the master thesis project. Moreover, it is required that students that have the intention to do the master project on a physics topic do the short research project on a chemistry (or bio-chemistry/physics), and vice versa.

All learning objectives, teachers, assesments and the time schedule can be found on Ocasys , all additional information can be found on this page.


Research groups in the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials submit brief (half A4, no pictures or equations) proposals, which are collected in a list of available projects: see at the bottom of this page. Futhermore, for reference or inspiration, you also find there the lists of available projects of the previous yesar.

The student selects a topic from the list of available projects and discusses this with her/his mentor, before contacting the project supervisor. Selection has to be completed by early February (the exact date will be announced by the programme coordinator), while the actual working on the project should start typically shortly after 15 February, but 1 March at the latest.

Note: students should not feel restricted to the listing, when a student has an idea for a small project of her/his own, she/he is always welcome to approach a prospective supervisor with the idea for asking whether it can be carried out.

Guidelines for Nanoscience projects in general

All guidelines for top master Nanoscience students and supervisors on individually supervised course units

Guidelines on lab journal keeping for NS194

At the start of the course prof. dr. ir. C.H. van der Wal will give a tutorial about the lab journal.

This pdf document provides the instructions that must be followed for keeping a lab journal during the small research project.

Instructions about the archiving of the lab-journal:

After all grading procedures, the host group of the student is obliged to archive the lab journal (for at least 7 years as an examination document, and 10 years as research archive). This is in line with the Zernike RDMP (Research Data Management Plan).

Guidelines on symposium for NS194

Each student should give an oral presentation on her/his research project. The students will organize a scientific symposium at the end of the semester where they all give their oral presentations. Find the programme of previous years on

The presentations should be aimed at an audience of Master students of physics or chemistry; staff members of the Zernike Institute will also be present. Each presentation should take approximately 15 minutes, plus 5 minutes for questions and discussion.

Use of modern audio-visual presentation techniques is encouraged. It is the student's responsibility to avail him/herself of advice on scientific presentation skills, if needed. There is a wealth of literature on this topic. The supervisor will assist the student by paying special attention to presentation skills during the preparation period and especially during trial presentations.

In addition, the small research project foresees in providing lectures and tutorials on oral presentation skills (by dr. M.H. Diniz Guimaraes).


The small research project is reported individually as well as collectively:

  • each student must present the progress and results of his/her research to the supervisor in the form of a log-book/labjournal (note that a thesis-like report is not required as output to pass the small research project); however, upon mutual agreement between a student and a supervisor documenting the results in a report can be part of the student's task).

  • all students belonging to the same cohort jointly organize a symposium in which everyone gives an oral presentation.

One overall mark will be given to each individual participant.

A proposed final grade is formed by averaging a grade for the symposium presentation (weight 1/3), and a grade by the supervisor reflecting the research project's quality (incl. the log-book keeping (labjournal)) as performed in the research group (weight 2/3), see final assessment-form below.

The grade for the symposium presentation is the average grade from at least two (typically four, incl. the coordinator) staff members who use a standard form for the assessment . The coordinator will define the final grade for the oral presentation from moderating the proposed final grades, by comparing the various student cases and by accounting for the quality of the student's contribution to the organization of the symposium.

Halfway the small research project it is obligatory to carry out a mid-term-assessment.

After the Nanosymposium the final assessment will be carried out.

  • For the FINAL grading the supervisor together with the course coordinator must use the final-assessment-form

The dates for scheduling the mid-term assessment and final assessment will be communicated by the course coordinator.

Assessment and remediation of Small research project:
1. The assessment of the small research project must take place at the time that is determined by the course coordinator.
2. If the assessment cannot take place on the date agreed due to a late delivery of the work by the student, the student must notify the first supervisor and course coordinator and send a request to the board of examiners to postpone the deadline (for a maximum of 10% of the total time). When this request is approved a new deadline is set by the board of examiners.
3. Before or on the agreed end date the project will be assessed and when the assessment criteria are not met an insufficient grade will be registered. Then the student is offered a remediation trajectory by the supervisor and course coordinator.
4. The student is offered a remediation trajectory of up to one third of the time of the original individual project period.
5. The supervisor and course coordinator will agree on a new deadline in consultation with the student.
6. On the deadline of the remediation trajectory, the project will be assessed again.
7. If after this deadline, the assessment does not meet the set criteria, the project will be assessed with an insufficient grade again. The student will have to carry out another project.

Time schedule

Time schedule (will be announced in detail by the course coordinator and in for the lectures/workshops)

  • Kick-off meeting and workshop lab-journal: end of January/early February
  • Selection of a project: early February (declaration of choices: 10 February; a few days after the start of semester 2A).
  • Workshop on organization symposium (early/half February)
  • Start actual working on a project: typically shortly after 15 February, but 1 March at the latest. Students and supervisors must plan a workload of 13 ECTS (13 x 28 hours) in the period up to the symposium (including the symposium presentation), in parallel with the other study tasks.
  • Mid-term assessment halfway (early May)
  • Seminars and feedback meetings on oral presentation skills.
  • Symposium should be held around 1 July, depending on the schedule of the academic year
  • Feedback meetings on oral presentations and small research project in general are scheduled some days after the symposium.
  • Hand over your lab journal to course coordinator

Current projects


Archive of the advertised student projects (as listed before the start of the project) are listed below. Note: these project are no longer valid, but merely listed for inspiration.

Last modified:06 December 2022 2.19 p.m.