Frequently Asked Questions

Registration and Participation

You can sign up for ONWAR once you start your PhD. You do not have to have a complete TSP to begin registration and start taking courses. Although, please do not delay getting your TSP approved and through the registration process (see ‘How do I become an ONWAR member?’ for more information on that process). 

Below gives a step-by-step description of the registration process. The registration form can be found here:

Yes, it is possible to participate in ONWAR courses as a non-ONWAR student. If you are from one of ONWAR institutes, perhaps you could speak to your supervisor about whether you should be registered with us. ​​​​If you are not from an ONWAR institute, you will still be able to sign-up for the course but as a non-ONWAR participant you will have to pay 500 euros to participate in an ONWAR course and we will need the details of where and to who to send the invoice. As a non-ONWAR participant, please note that we cannot guarantee your spot in the course so if the class is full and an ONWAR student still wants to sign up, we will have to give them priority.

You qualify for the ONWAR certificate if you have successfully completed the full ONWAR training program by the end of your PhD trajectory. In short, you need to have:

  • attended the ONWAR Introductory course
  • attended the ONWAR Annual PhD Meeting 4 times (3x if you have a 3-year contract)
  • attended the Swammerdam Lectures
  • completed at least 260 hours of courses:
    • of which at least 160 hours should be courses on neuroscience topics
    • of which at least 80 hours, and min 2 courses, should be ONWAR courses on neuroscience topics

You can request the certificate through the ONWAR coordinator (please send an e-mail to If you followed any non-ONWAR courses as part of your training program, make sure that the ONWAR coordinator has proof of participation for each of those courses.

Covid: Contribution thesis printing costs
With regard to the ONWAR thesis printing costs contribution: if your contract started between 1-3-2016/2017 and 28-2-2022, you can qualify for the contribution if your thesis has been approved within 4/3 years and 9 months.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, PhD candidates experienced many challenges in conducting their research and training program. The ONWAR Board of Directors and Teaching Committee have therefore decided that for ONWAR students who started their PhD between 1-3-2016 (1-3-2017 for 3-year contracts) and 28-2-2022, the impact of the COVID-pandemic will be taken into account, and the requirements for obtaining the ONWAR certificate are adjusted accordingly.

COVID-compensation regulation (PhDs starting between 01-03-2016/2017 and 28-02-2022)
The number of COVID-compensation hours depends on how much overlap there was between the first 4 (or 3) years of the PhD contract, and the COVID-pandemic (1-3-2020 through 28-2-2022). For each month of overlap, 2 compensation hours will be granted, which will be deducted from the total number of hours that are needed to obtain the ONWAR certificate. These hours can be used to substitute courses (in any of the categories), or the 2021 annual meeting. Participation in the ONWAR Introductory course, Swammerdam Lectures, and future ONWAR/CEN Annual PhD Meetings remains mandatory.

The cancelled 2020 ONWAR/CEN Annual PhD Meeting is counted as being attended (+ 25 hours) for all ONWAR PhD candidates that should have attended the meeting, and thus does not need to be compensated. Hours for the 2021 ONWAR/CEN Annual PhD Meeting are rewarded as follows:

  • 25 hours for on-site attendees
  • 20 hours for presenters of an online oral presentation
  • 8 hours for online attendees + last minute cancellations

Click here for the COVID compensation calculator.


Courses & Training and Supervision Plan (TSP)

The introductory course, all annual meetings (during your PhD), and Swammerdam lectures are mandatory. 

In addition, 260 hours (9,3 ECTs) of courses are mandatory. Of these 260 hours, 160 hours (5,7 ECTs) need to be neuroscience courses. Of the 160 hours of neuroscience courses, 80 hours (2,9 ECTs), need to be ONWAR neuroscience courses. The only exception to this is if you have an MSc in neuroscience. Then, you only need the minimum 80 hours of ONWAR neuroscience courses. The remaining 80 neuroscience hours (of the required 160) can be in other subjects. 

If you are in a 3-year PhD, these hours are adjusted, but the minimum 80 hours ONWAR neuroscience courses remain the same. Please see table below for more information. 

For ONWAR, it is required to complete at least 260 hours of courses. Of these 260 hours, 160 need to be in neuroscience with at least 80 of these neuroscience hours being ONWAR organized courses. 100 hours can then be courses on other subjects. If you have an MSc in neuroscience, then only the 80 hours of ONWAR courses are required for the 160 neuroscience courses and the remaining 80 neuroscience hours can then be allocated to be used in courses on other subjects, rather than 80 more in neuroscience.

It can be possible to get credit for courses that are not listed in the TSP. Please send these requests to ONWAR Coordinator Kim Hubregtse ( including the course schedule, course program, and any other relevant information regarding the course. Credit is not guaranteed.

Up to 40 non-neuroscience hours can be online courses. However, these courses need to first be approved by the ONWAR coordinator. For approval, email Kim Hubregtse ( with the course name, hours involved, and description.

Courses are typically scheduled around the same time each year or every other year (although this is not guaranteed), and final dates for the courses are usually set around 2 months in advance with more information being finalized in the run-up to the course. You may always register for a course, even if dates are not set. The ONWAR website is updated as soon as final dates are known and email reminders to register are sent via the ONWAR mailing list, so there are plenty of opportunities to know in advance of upcoming courses.

If you have registered for a course, but you are now unable to attend, please inform ONWAR administration ( as soon as possible. If it is within two weeks of the course taking place, only extreme circumstances will warrant de-registration and this is up to the discretion of ONWAR administration. If you are only missing a day of a course, please let ONWAR administration know. Likely, you can still attend the course but receive adjusted ECTS depending on your participation. This is up to the discretion of the course coordinator.  

ONWAR Events

The ONWAR annual meetings are compulsory for all ONWAR members each year. More information can be found at the links below.

Attending Swammerdam lectures is mandatory as an ONWAR member.

Information on upcoming Swammerdam lectures can be found on ONWAR’s website and email reminders are sent to ONWAR members.

If you cannot attend the lecture in person, contact Kim Hubregtse ( for the Zoom link. If you are not able to attend at all, you can make up for the absence by participating in a Masterclass. Masterclasses are highly interactive and stimulating meetings with Swammerdam lecturers. Format is dependent on the lecturer and information is included alongside the Swammerdam Lecture information.

Financial Matters

Your institute/department will cover the annual fee of 500 euros for your participation in ONWAR, encompassing all aspects including attendance at the ONWAR annual meeting/Swammerdam Lectures, etc. Your supervisor will get an annual invoice of ONWAR of which they are aware, you do not need to worry about this.

This fee does not cover non-ONWAR courses.

ONWAR does not finance any courses outside of ONWAR. Please contact your supervisor for any funding regarding other courses. They should have a budget for your training plan.

ONWAR offers a contribution of up to €500 towards the printing costs of the thesis. This contribution is available to PhD candidates who have successfully completed the full ONWAR training program AND whose thesis has been approved by the reading committee within 4.5 years after their contract started (when on a 4-year contract).

In order to, apply you need to:

  • confirm that you have completed the full ONWAR training program
  • include a dated approval letter (e.g. generated in Hora Finita, from the dean/beadle) confirming that your thesis has been approved within 4.5 years after your contract started
  • Please mention in the title and/or notes the financial contribution in your thesis:
    Publication of this thesis was financially supported by the Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam Rotterdam (ONWAR)
  • share a physical copy of your thesis with ONWAR

Here is the information on how to apply for the ONWAR contribution towards printing of your thesis:

  • If you are currently employed by the VU, you can ask for reimbursement through
    • Cost Object Type: (PJ) Project WBS Element – ask Kim ( or Kelsey (
  • if you are not employed by the VU, you can use the following link for external personnel:

 In both cases, you need to include the invoice of the printing expenses of your thesis, as well as a receipt (e.g. bank statement). ONWAR contributes max 500 euros, so under amount fill in 500 euros (or the full amount if under 500 euros). Note that the request will not be approved before ONWAR has received the physical copy of your thesis.


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