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Translational Medicine & Life Sciences

Many fine initiatives were undertaken in 2023 in terms of Translational Medicine & Life Sciences in education. Examples include:

Challenge-based learning in the Translational Life Sciences profile

The Translational Life Sciences profile (an optional course) is an innovative concept in education. 2nd-year students in various master’s programs of the Graduate School of Life Sciences worked for 22 weeks (full-time) on a complex social-welfare challenge in the field of Life Sciences.

In 2023, students worked in teams of five on four challenges that were supplied by clients in and outside the (medical) academic world. We also organized ‘JAM days’ in the first week of the profile. Students were able to get acquainted with challenge-based education and the design-thinking model that they will apply in their project. The client of these JAM days was the municipality of Utrecht, which gave students the assignment to find a solution for the huge peer pressure reigning among young adults in Utrecht. Many students were intensely involved in this topic since they recognized the phenomenon of peer pressure. The topic also received extra attention in the 2023 profile. We organized a symposium on peer pressure and offered students a workshop on how to deal with this kind of pressure. Students furthermore had two individual coaching talks during the profile to discuss their progress and wellbeing.

BITT challenge: working on care solutions in interdisciplinary project mode

In 2023 for the fourth time we organized the Bio-Med-Tech-Nutrition Interdisciplinary Team Training (BITT) challenge for master’s students in our SUMMA program and the Graduate School of Life Sciences Utrecht, and students of Nutrition & Health (WUR) and Biomedical Engineering (TU/e). Over 100 students and 16 tutors took part in this 2023 edition of BITT . They worked in interdisciplinary teams and in project mode on one of the eleven challenges to find a solution to a complex problem that a patient or a healthcare professional was facing. On the last day of the challenge, each team presented their solution to tackle the problem and thereby improve patients’ healthcare and quality of life. Students found it a surprising and motivating experience to work on a problem while also interacting with the problem owners. In other words the patient and/or the doctor. This put them on another track towards finding a solution than if they had been working without these discussions.