There are three main axis of development that we plan to cover during the 3-year period of our doctoral program.

Scientific training
Learning to read article, compile scientific information, participate in conferences, exchange ideas with other researchers are the basis of a successful scientist.

Practical training
Learning the methods and technologies required to manipulate large amounts of data is a prerequisite for the next generation biologist.

Soft skill training
Learning how to give a talk, how to write a scientific article, and how to write a grant in scientific English is the survival kit of the future researcher or group leader.


Any person who is enrolled as a PhD student in one of the five participating universities is, in principle, eligible to join the program. A doctoral student wishing to join the program must register to participate in the doctoral program. It is advisable that the PhD student discuss this with his/her supervisor before registering for the program. PhD students who have already started their PhD can join the program if they have enough time left to complete the program.

Please note that a person who is not registered as a PhD student cannot join the program. The coordination office of the StarOmics program does not handle any requests for registration as a PhD student or requests for funding such as grants for conducting a PhD (see point 6 below).


The participants of the program will be asked to register for a certain number of activities over the 3-year period of the program. Several activities could be offered twice or more over the period in various locations, giving the students some flexibility. To get a final certificate from StarOmics, the minimal requirement is for students to participate to at least one activity of each type, which is equivalent to about six credits.

However, an ideal list (corresponding to about 12 ECTS credits) would be:

CountActivity typeECTS Category
2annual retreats 1

K or M

3practical courses0.25-2



M or K

1seminar presentation1




2 soft skills training1-3




The official language for all courses and activities is English.

Each activity that is either arranged or approved by the StarOmics program is listed and described on the website of the program. PhD students must register on line for the courses and activities. Registrations are handled by the StarOmics program's office. Each doctoral student is evaluated by the main organizer (usually a professor) of a given activity. If the student obtains a "pass", he receives a signed accreditation form, which must be submitted to the StarOmics coordination office for accreditation. Students should send a copy of the participation certificate and keep the original of all their certificates

The students will not receive ECTS credits from the StarOmics doctoral program but can use the signed accreditation to get ECTS credits in their own university.


PhD students who have enrolled in the StarOmics program can participate to activities organized by other doctoral programs as long as the activity has been approved by the coordination office. In principal, PhD students can also enroll in more than one doctoral program, as long as they satisfy the requirements for each program.


The StarOmics program obtains it's main funding from the Conférence Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale (CUSO). This funding is used for the organization of activities and for reimbursing travel and accommodation costs of experts and teaching staff. PhD students who are enrolled in the StarOmics program can also be reimbursed for travel costs, accommodation and meals for attending activities that are organized by the StarOmics program. Costs for attending other activities for which credits can be obtained but that are not organized by StarOmics cannot be reimbursed by funding from the program. The reimbursement of costs for teaching staff, experts or PhD students is given strictly on adherence to CUSO regulations and a detailed explanation of the reimbursement regulations can be seen in the website (reimbursement).


The role of the coordination committee is to approve the regulations and directives governing the doctoral program. Additionally, the coordination committee plans and approves each year's series of activities. The coordination committee will meets at least once a year. Suggestions for activities must be submitted to the coordination office of the doctoral program or to a coordination committee member before mid-April of the year preceding that in which the activity will occur. The coordination committee is composed of 1 representative for each of the 5 universities, and the coordinator of the program. The nomination of a scientific representative for a given university should be decided democratically by the group leaders at that university.


It is important that potential applicants to the program, doctoral students who are in the program and doctoral student supervisors understand what is not the responsability of the coordination office of the StarOmics program.

  • The coordination office of the doctoral program does not handle any matters concerning registration as a PhD student in any of the 5 participating universities. This is dealt with at each university by the admissions department and the doctoral student office. The coordination office of the doctoral program is not entitled to determine whether candidates are eligible to do a PhD.

  • The coordination office does not handle requests or administer any financial aspects relating to grants or subsidies for PhD students. PhD students who register for the StarOmics program must already be funded for their PhD studies by one of the research groups in one of the five participating universities. The doctoral program does not award research fellowships or stipends.

  • All PhD students must satisfy the requirements of their university in order to obtain a PhD degree. This may mean that the student has to obtain additional credits for activities that are not recognized by the StarOmics program. In addition, except for StarOmics activities, for which students are evaluated by the main organizer of the activity, all matters relating to evaluation of the PhD student (intermediate "mid-thesis" exam/evaluation, thesis defense, etc.) are the responsability of the university where the PhD student is registered for his/her PhD degree.

  • The PhD degree is awarded by the university where the PhD student is registered. The StarOmics program does not award PhD degrees. The doctoral program does, however, award PhD students with a final certificate listing the courses and workshops that the student has attended to.