European Glaucoma Research and Training program

Ten 4-year PhD positions in clinical vision and neuroscience

Within the European Glaucoma Research and Training program (, 10 PhD students will receive training to become the next generation of clinical vision- and neuroscientists, specialized in studying neurodegenerative diseases and glaucoma in particular. Our international team includes academic, health care and private sector members with expertise in ophthalmology, audiology, neurology, genetics, epidemiology, and neuroscience. The 4-year PhD program will be based at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands. An overview of the participating researchers, their research interests and the PhD project topics can be found at

Program description

Glaucoma is the most common age-related neurodegenerative eye-disease in western society and one of the four major blinding eye diseases worldwide.

The classic view of glaucoma is that of an eye disease in which an elevated intraocular pressure damages the retinal nerve cells mechanically, initially resulting in visual field loss, and ultimately in blindness. However, recent insights indicate that the classic view is far too simplistic: rather than a disease restricted to the eye, glaucoma involves both intraocular pressure and intracranial pressure and damages neural tissue in both the eye and the brain.

With this in mind, EGRET focuses on three key research topics:
  1. Improving functional tests: current functional tests assume a straightforward relationship between the number of surviving retinal ganglion cells and visual sensitivity. This is most likely too simplistic. We will refine existing objective tests of glaucoma by studying light and motion perception using advanced psychophysics, eyetracking, and multifocal pupillographic perimetry.
  2. Improving structural assessment: examining the entire visual system in glaucoma and studying the relationship to other neurodegenerative disease (Parkinson) by using optical coherence tomography (OCT) to measure the retina and optic nerve head, assess intraocular and intracranial pressure, and perform (f)MRI measurements.
  3. Improving genetic knowledge on glaucoma: investigation of the role of glaucomarelated genes in large patient and population-based cohorts available in the EGRET network.


As a PhD student, you will follow a multidisciplinary PhD training consisting of a number of high-level training courses and workshops. As you will be able to experience working in industrial, health care and academic environments, you will have the opportunity to develop both your academic as well as your entrepreneurial skills.

Our ideal candidate:

  1. May come from a variety of background (which include but is not limited to biomedical engineering, genetics, neuroscience, ophthalmology, neuropsychology, computer science).
  2. Has a broad and strong interest in both theoretical and applied science.
  3. Should be passionate about doing research and have or be willing to develop the skills to communicate this passion with other scientists and the general public.
  4. Should welcome the opportunity to conduct research abroad and work within a multidisciplinary team.
  5. Must hold (or be on the way to hold) an MSc in a relevant scientific or medical discipline.

The requirements for the specific projects can be found via:


The EGRET program is supported by a MARIE SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE grant. According to the grant rules, transnational mobility is required for all PhD positions. To be eligible for a PhD position, you cannot have resided or carried out your main activity in the country of the recruiting institution for more than 12 months during the previous 36 months. We are only recruiting Early-Stage Researchers who, at the time of recruitment are in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.

Employment conditions

PhD candidates will start their project in 2016; the exact starting point will be decided together with the lab that the candidate becomes affiliated with. All recruiting partners honour EU and national employment law in relation to researcher recruitment and ensure that fellows have the same rights, health and safety standards as local researchers.

How to apply

Please submit a statement of your motivation for a specific project (1-2 pages), a copy of your CV and contact details for 2 referees (name, work address, phone, email) in a single PDF document. At the top of your motivation letter, make sure to indicate your nationality and country of residence over the last 3 years. If you wish to apply for several projects, please submit a separate application for each project (information on Applications should be submitted via: (deadline: 19th of February 2016).

Questions can be addressed by emailing

Selection procedure

An overview of the selection procedure and the time schedule of the selection procedure can be found via:

Recruiting principle investigators:

  • Prof. N.M. (Nomdo) Jansonius (Program coordinator, training &research coordinator)
  • Dr F.W. (Frans) Cornelissen (Program manager and outreach coordinator)
  • Prof. P. (Pim) van Dijk
  • Prof. T. (Teus) van Laar (Research co-lead)
  • Prof. H. (Harold) Snieder
  • Dr R. (Remco) Renken
  • Dr B. (Branislava) Curcic 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 661883.