The PhD Community

The PhD Community constists of PhD students and postdoctoral staff who are eager to promote and make scientific research in internal diseases and/or pediatrics public to a wider audience.

The PhD community has each month at least one of the following types of sessions:

  • Formal: plenary session with speaker (e.g., PAWO presentation)
  • Informal: networking, present-your-research, presentation of curriculum staff member
  • Teambuilding: afterwork, VR teambuilding

The session program can vary between knowledge about research areas (e.g. HIV), as well as general tips and tricks (e.g. hacks for a PhD student). Each session is focused on the interests of researchers in internal diseases and pediatrics. In addition, we have organized two times every year an open session with an international speaker, attended by researchers of our department, as well by a multidisciplinary audience. If  measures allow, we try to organize live sessions as much as possible, to further enhence the community feeling. During the informal sessions, there is an alternating “round-the-table” or "present your research" to promote collaboration.

The mission statement of the PhD Community is focused on:

PhD Community Internal Medicine and Pediatrics

The content of the sessions, the agenda, the current vacancies, and further information is spread through the newsletter on which you can subscribe by filling in this form (Dutch) or read all about it in our handy flyer .


The last 5 years, there was a need among young PhD students for more information regarding the promotion of scientific research and the establishment of surveys and networking with other researchers. Until then, PhD students often worked on their own "island" and had limited interaction with other researchers. The same needs were identified among postdoctoral researchers, as well as staff members and professors. Prof. Johan Vande Walle, senior lecturer pediatric nephrology, decided to take action to answer this cry for help and fill the 'gap' between (doctoral) researchers.

In August 2020, Prof. Vande Walle organized informal sessions with the former PhD students. The first session focused on preparing a CV as a researcher, as well as the use of the Orcid number, GISMO and other research platforms.  After an initial, very positive response from the young researchers, Dr. Eva Degraeuwe decided to formalize and professionalize the sessions for all researchers within pediatrics. Initially, there was a tandem with Dr. Ruben Van Paemel, but soon after, the team was expanded with Dr. Laurens Van Camp and Dr. Eline Hermans. The next months, a richly filled agenda with alternating sessions (formal, informal, team building) followed. Because of the high need for a similar community within the Department of Internal Diseases and because of the solidarity within this department, the PhD Community Pediatrics expanded to the PhD Community Internal Diseases and Pediatrics (in accordance with department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics (GE35)). The PhD Community received a great deal of support from the departmental board and the OAP members to encourage this expansion.