Master Student with interest in oncology for an internship in applied data science



Are you interested in applied data science in the area of comparative effectiveness research (CER)? Due to treatment and/or selection bias, using observational data for treatment comparison may over- or underestimate treatment effects. Solving this issue, would have a significant impact, reducing the need for RCTs, significantly speeding up knowledge discovery and helping clinical decision making with existing data.

Are you up for this challenge? We are currently looking for a

Master Student with interest in oncology for an internship in applied data science 
36 hours/week, 6 – 12 months (flexible)
Utrecht and/or Eindhoven


The project

By comparing an analysis of observational data with results from randomized controlled trials, Giordano et al. have shown that using observational data for CER may over- or underestimate treatment effects1. This project aims to a) reproduce these results on data from the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR) and b) investigate the potential use of Bayesian Networks, a type of model that can be used for causal reasoning.

Your tasks

  • establishing project goals and formulating a research question
  • data preparation
  • scientific data analysis (including application of propensity scores and Bayesian Networks)
  • reporting of results, both in writing and presentations

What we offer

  • a large and well-structured dataset: The Netherlands Cancer Registry, with near-complete coverage of all patients with cancer in the Netherlands (2.5 million records; +/-100,000 new records per year)
  • an opportunity to help future cancer patients in the Netherlands
  • good supervision
  • a friendly and scientific atmosphere
  • full travel reimbursements
  • excellent quality coffee

Vacancy information

What we ask

  • you are a master student in data science, bioinformatics or a similar field
  • you are already enrolled with a Dutch university
  • programming and prototyping skills (preferably Python or R)
  • some knowledge of Dutch or willingness to improvise
  • knowledge of (Bayesian) statistics is helpful
  • interest in healthcare

About IKNL

IKNL is the quality institute for oncological and palliative research and practice in the Netherlands. IKNL collaborates with healthcare professionals and patients on the continuous improvement of oncological and palliative care. IKNL’s core business is the Netherlands Cancer Registry, a “patient-centered population-based registry”, containing key information for all patients with cancer in the Netherlands. Besides the NCR IKNL maintains cohort data with patient reported outcomes (PROFILES) and on palliative care. Our main activities are the registration and analysis of data and creating value by distributing insights from this data to care professionals and patients.

Insights from the NCR currently already are the basis for close to 200 publications per year in peer reviewed journals and have a proven impact on the quality of care. For example, changes in the Dutch healthcare system based on insights from the NCR resulted in decreased postoperative hospital mortality rates, being most outspoken for patients with pancreatic cancer: from 24 to 4%. The NCR is also used as a primary source for evaluating effectiveness of treatment. Prediction models based on NCR-data help individual patients and care professionals in shared decisions, e.g. when considering breast conserving surgery. IKNL participates in PZNL (Palliatieve zorg Nederland) and in IKNL provides insights from the NCR that are consulted 80.000 times/month by patients or their loved ones.

Your Application

We kindly receive your resume and application letter via the form underneath.

More information about IKNL can be found at

For more information about the vacancy, you can contact Melle Sieswerda (, 088 234 6017).

We are looking forward to receiving your application!

Acquisition in response to this vacancy will not be appreciated.


1. Giordano SH, Kuo Y-F, Duan Z, et al: Limits of observational data in determining outcomes from cancer therapy. Cancer 112:2456–2466, 2008

About IKNL

Integral Cancer Center the Netherlands (IKNL) monitors the prevention and treatment of cancer in the Netherlands and focuses on continuous improvement of cancer and palliative care. The Dutch Cancer Registry (NKR) is the pivot. IKNL registers data from all cancer patients in the Netherlands, analyzes them and conducts research with them. It shares the results with medical professionals, healthcare institutions, regional networks and policy makers. This provides insights with which cancer interventions can be used more effectively. In addition, IKNL promotes cooperation between organizations and professionals working in cancer and palliative care and develops decision support for the best care for every patient on the basis of guidelines.

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