International Master's Programme in Innovative Medicine

120 credits

Programme syllabus, MIM2M

A revised version of the programme syllabus is available.
Finalised by
The Educational Board of Medicine, 1 June 2021
Registration number
MEDFARM 2021/566
Responsible faculty
Faculty of Medicine
Responsible department
Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology
Other participating department(s)
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology

Decisions and guidelines

Conditions for participation in the education

Students are required to follow the instructions, guidelines and rules that apply to the partner university where they conduct their studies as well as IMIM's instructions for conducting the education. To continue with master's studies in year 2, courses and internships corresponding to at least 45 ECTS during year 1 must be approved. To start the degree project (30 ECTS in semester 4), it is required that the student has completed the IMIM programme courses for the equivalent of 75 ECTS. 

Students must change partner university after one academic year. Travel is at the student's own expense regardless of whether a scholarship has been awarded from the consortium.

The programme is conducted in English.

Entry requirements

The International Master's Programme in Innovative Medicine (IMIM) is a collaboration between Uppsala University (Sweden), the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) and Heidelberg University (Germany), where admitted students study year 1 at any partner university and year 2 at either Groningen or Uppsala. This means that there are three different study plans where special eligibility for IMIM and the separate partner universities must be fulfilled.

Starting at Uppsala University:

A Bachelor's degree of at least 180 ECTS from education programmes in biochemistry, biology, biomedicine/medicine, biotechnology, cell- and molecular biology, genetics, or a similar field of study that includes relevant knowledge in chemistry, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics and molecular biology/genetics. Previous experience of related laboratory work.

Starting at the University of Groningen:

A Bachelor's degree in the fields of biology, pharmacy, life science and technology or (bio)medical sciences.

Starting at Heidelberg University:

A Bachelor's degree at least equivalent to a European undergraduate degree of 180 ECTS with above-average grades. The degree needs to be in medicine or the life sciences (e.g. biology, biochemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical sciences, genetics, molecular biology, biotechnology or closely related fields). Bioscientific and/or medical content must make up at least 60% of the curriculum studied. Proven record of academic and extra-curricular excellence as well as research experience. Strong motivation to pursue a career that incorporates translational, biomedical sciences and research.

Eligibility for IMIM and all three partner universities requires documented knowledge of English with results from an internationally accepted test.

The minimum test scores are:

IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 6.5 and no less than 6.0 on each section, TOEFL iBT (internet-based test) with an overall score of 92 - no less than 21 on each section, TOEFL CBT (computer-based test) with an overall score of 237 and no less than 21 on each section, TOEFL PBT (paper-based test) with an overall score of 580 and no less than 55 on each section or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)/ Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE).


IMIM aims to create better opportunities for translational medical research, i.e to bridge the gaps between academic basic research, the private sector and medical application by educating the next generation of researchers and entrepreneurs who have the skills and competence to work effectively in various multi- and interdisciplinary settings as well as internationally competitive contexts in academia and the private sector. IMIM is a European collaboration between the universities of Groningen, Heidelberg and Uppsala, whose focus is to create an international link between academia and industry at the Master's level. IMIM has joined a number of national and international industry partners to meet the program's goals of collaboration and innovation. In a broader international network, IMIM also has associated academic partners in other regions.

IMIM's ambition is to stimulate students to innovative thinking and encourage entrepreneurship to meet future health challenges and societal needs. The programme gives students the opportunity to discover, integrate and apply knowledge from various disciplinary areas to solve complex translational problems.

The content of the programme is multidisciplinary, and also aims to reinforce this focus by creating an interdisciplinary composition of students with different academic backgrounds in medicine, biology and pharmacology. The teaching is conducted at the current research frontiers in strong subject areas at the various partner universities.

Collaboration between industry and academia takes place in global competition, and increased international mobility promotes innovation and stimulates the exchange of ideas and knowledge. IMIM prepares students for an international job market where students have already built a broad professional network for working life and research during their education.

Learning outcomes

Overall goals

The Master's Programme in Innovative Medicine provides students with an international education in translational medicine with a focus on innovation and prepares students for further studies at the postgraduate level as well as for work in industry. During the training, the students should strengthen their professional competencies and skills for an international and mobile job market by involving potential future employers, such as national and global companies. Students are trained to work in various interdisciplinary and internationally competitive academic and business environments.

Students should acquire skills to independently and critically analyse and process data and research results, as well as skills in practicing innovative thinking to identify and solve problems in research, healthcare and industry, such as the development of new techniques and therapies.

Goals as expected study results

In addition to the general objectives for the Master's degree (two years of study) in the partner university's national rules and regulations and their existing Master's programmes, the following specific objectives for IMIM must be met:

In order to pass a Master's degree, the student must have acquired both broad and in-depth theoretical knowledge in the subject area of translational medicine as well as knowledge and practical experience of a number of advanced techniques and methods in the current research within Life sciences. With this knowledge, the student should:

  • independently, as well as in a group, be able to identify, formulate and process appropriate scientific issues within the subject area and within given time frames, both theoretically and experimentally, by applying relevant techniques and methods.
  • be able to independently and critically analyse as well as evaluate research results, and in good English compile and present relevant data orally and in written reports or scientific articles.
  • be able to apply a scientific approach to research and development work, as well as to show insight into the possibilities and limitations of science, its role in the society and people's responsibility for how it is used.
  • be able to formulate and present business plans and research plans orally and in writing.
  • have acquired skills to independently plan and run projects in both research and industry, and at the same time be able to interact and collaborate within larger groups.
  • have acquired a significant knowledge and overview of current research frontiers, novel methods and therapies as well as their applications and development in healthcare and industry, resulting in the ability to discuss, evaluate and be able to judge and draw conclusions regarding directions of further research and product development.
  • have developed an ability for abstract, analytical, conceptual and innovative thinking.
  • have developed ability to work in an interdisciplinary and international team in research and/ or the private sector.
  • have developed skills to provide, receive and respond to considering constructive criticism as well as to evaluate own and others' scientific work.
  • consider and assess ethical, societal, and sustainability aspects of research and development projects as well as the results obtained and the possible impact and consequences these may have.
  • be able to present research and results to different target groups of non-specialists in a popular science manner, both orally and in writing.
  • be able to use acquired knowledge and technological skills to identify and solve problems, generate new ideas related to the subject area.
  • demonstrate the ability to identify their need for additional knowledge and take responsibility for their own knowledge development.

Layout of the programme

Programme description

The Master's programme in Innovative Medicine (IMIM) is given in collaboration between the three European partner universities: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (the Netherlands), Heidelberg University (Germany) and Uppsala University (Sweden). In order to expand students' opportunities for international research internships in academia and industry, there are additional universities in Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Colombia as well as a number of international biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies associated with the programme, to meet the programme's goals of collaboration and innovation.

The IMIM programme provides an interdisciplinary education, where the partner universities' strengths complement each other as follows: molecular genetics and diagnostics and biomedical research (Uppsala); disease physiology and pharmacological science, drug identification (Groningen) and clinical trial studies, clinical research and treatment strategies (Heidelberg).

The universities within the collaboration have different specialization and admission requirements and therefore students with different academic backgrounds can be admitted to the same programme, forming an interdisciplinary group comprising medicine, biomedicine, biology and pharmacology. The partner universities' courses during semester 1 then provide complementary subject knowledge.

IMIM integrates certain courses from four existing international Master's programmes; Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment MMIT (Groningen), Translational Medical Research (Heidelberg) and the Master's programmes in Molecular Medicine and Medical Research at Uppsala University, with independent practical research projects ('internships') carried out at partner universities, globally or in associated companies.

Students in the programme study the first year at any of the partner universities and then switch to University of Uppsala or Groningen.

The content and progression of the education

The first semester of the IMIM programme consists of compulsory courses conducted at one of the three partner universities. During semesters 2 and 3, the students carry out a research project, alternatively integrated with courses and course modules, to complete a Master's project during semester 4. Research and degree projects are carried out in research groups or in companies.

The IMIM programme also includes three shorter compulsory modules, common to all IMIM students: 'IMIM introduction' (arranged in Uppsala, during semester 1), 'Spring School Personal development' (arranged in Heidelberg, during semester 2) and 'Industrial Perspectives on Innovative Medicine' (IPIM) (arranged in Groningen, during semester 3).

At the three partner universities and during all courses on the IMIM programme, course modules include longitudinal student-centered work with translational aspects, 'Bench to Bedside and Back' (BBB), where students integrate and apply their knowledge from different disciplines to solve problems within healthcare. Students carry out the work individually and in groups on campus or via video conferencing. During semester 1 (BBB1), all students acquire a common background knowledge and evaluate current research; moving on to identify problems and compile a research plan during semester 2 (BBB2), and further the development of a business plan during semester 3 (BBB3). During semester 4 (BBB4), the students develop this into a product, which can be a real research or doctoral application or a "start-up" company.

The courses will provide both breadth and depth in several subject areas in addition to translational medicine and provide students with theoretical and practical experience of current research and development work in academia, healthcare and industry. Through lectures and seminar series illustrating current research, the students continuously develop their subject knowledge to be at the research frontier, a prerequisite for generating new ideas and for increasing students' employability.

All courses are taught at the advanced level.

Students are trained to independently tackle scientific issues both theoretically and experimentally, as well as the ability to interpret and critically evaluate scientific research, own as well as others. During the longitudinal modules, students are trained to practice innovative thinking to identify and solve problems in translational medicine with applications in healthcare, research and industry. Here, the students gradually develop skills in today's research work and entrepreneurship, in evaluating research, drafting business plan and research plan, to finally compile an actual application.

A large part of the education consists of individual research projects where the students will apply knowledge and gain experience in methods and experimental work. These practical elements are intertwined with review of current research findings and scientific literature, which promotes lifelong learning. The education's collaboration with industry and the private sector provides a direct and wider connection to the job market.

The semesters on IMIM have the following content:

Studies at Uppsala University Year 1 and University of Groningen Year 2

Semester 1

At Uppsala, courses provide in-depth knowledge on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that cause genetic diseases and cancer, as well as current methods and techniques used in diagnostics and treatment. Students will gain practical experience in methods of analysis for genetic and epigenetic variation. A shorter research project is carried out, from which the results are compiled into a scientific article and presented at public seminars. During the first semester, the students also follow a seminar series that includes bioinformatics, research and bioethics, biobanks, entrepreneurship and presentation skills.

(BBB1 is included in the courses)

Semester 1

Medical genetics and cancer; molecular mechanisms 15 ECTS

Advanced Techniques in Molecular Medicine 15 ECTS

Semester 2

At Uppsala University, the course Advanced Research Practice 30 ECTS, allows the student to under supervision, plan and perform experimental work in a research group which is presented both in writing and orally. In addition, theoretical research-oriented teaching is provided in current thematic areas. BBB2 and Spring School are included in the course.

Semesters 3 and 4 at the University of Groningen, students carry out 30 ECTS research projects in a research group or in the private sector in the field of bio-/ medical or pharmacological drug innovation. Students are trained in designing and conducting experiments that address issues in biomedical, clinical and pharmacological science, interpreting data and then presenting the project both in writing and orally. The student is also trained in writing and evaluating innovative research grant applications.

Summer School Industrial Perspectives of Innovative Medicine (IPIM; 2 ECTS)


Introduction to research project II (2 ECTS)

Research project II (32 ECTS)

Fit for practice 2 (2 ECTS)

Writing a tender (2 ECTS)

Writing and defending your own PhD Research Proposal (6 ECTS)

Elective courses (10 ECTS) 

Studies at the University of Groningen Year 1, at Uppsala University Year 2

Semester 1 in Groningen provides courses for basic knowledge in cell biology and highlights current issues in biomedical and pharmacological science, including cell differentiation, genomics and medical chemistry. Students are trained to critically evaluate scientific literature and to present science in writing and orally. The courses also provide theoretical and practical knowledge of a number of current techniques in biomedical and pharmacological science, such as the use of model organisms, imaging, pharmacology and drug development. Students are trained in formulating research problems and in applying appropriate techniques to solve them. During Semester 2, the students complete a 30 ECTS research project in a research group.

Mechanisms of disease and innovative therapies (11 ECTS)

Experimental techniques in research (9 ECTS)


Springschool (2 ECTS)


Research project I (29 ECTS)

Scientific Integrity (1 ECTS)

Semester 3

At Uppsala University, the course Advanced Research Practice 2 (including IPIM and BBB3) gives 30 ECTS practical experience of an individual research project either at a research institution or in companies as well as teaching new methods and techniques for biomedical research. The student also writes an overview article on the research area.

Semester 4

The programme is concluded with an independent degree project (30 ECTS) in the form of a research or development project carried out in a research group or company, nationally or internationally.

Master's Project in Innovative Medicine 30 ECTS, including BBB4.

Studies Heidelberg University at Year 1 and Uppsala University Year 2

Semester 1

Students will gain knowledge of basic molecular and cell biology, causes of disease processes and molecular laboratory techniques. They may apply laboratory and biostatistical methods to medical issues and interpret results. Courses address current issues of diagnosis, clinical treatments, imaging, radiotherapy and design of clinical studies in molecular oncology, neurobiology and vascular biology. Shorter research internships are conducted in a research group or clinic where students are able to formulate a translational problem and to present the research project orally and in writing. Case studies are conducted that describe how translational therapies develop into established therapeutic strategies. Also included are biobanking, drug development and commercial application of medical technologies and products. Semester 1 also includes BBB1.

Module 1. The biological basis of disease 7 ECTS

Module 2. Diagnosis and clinical treatment 6 ECTS

Module 3. Research in practice 10 ECTS


Module 4. Translation in lab and clinics 7 ECTS

Semester 2

The students carry out a research project. Module 5. Research project 30 ECTS. Research project with written and oral presentation. Includes BBB2 and Spring School.

Semester 3 and 4 at Uppsala University as above.

Common modules for all IMIM students regardless of university

The IMIM program starts with Introduction Days at UU (Kick-off) where the longitudinal 'Bench to Bedside and Back' (BBB1) module is initiated and several companies associated with IMIM are presented.

BBB1-4 is included in each semester at all three universities.

Semester 2 also includes a compulsory module, 'Personal development', which is given annually in Heidelberg and includes training in various leadership skills, written and oral communication and a business fair.

Semester 3 includes a compulsory module, 'Industrial Perspectives on Innovative Medicine' (IPIM), comprising entrepreneurship, intellectual property and research funding, and in which private sector representatives (Pharma / Drug Discovery; Biotech; Diagnostics; and Food & Nutrition) participate in interactive lectures and workshops. During the course, students prepare and present their own research applications. IPIM is organised annually in Groningen.

To start the degree project during semester 4, the equivalent of 75 ECTS in completed courses on the IMIM programme is required.


The teaching consists of lectures, both on campus and online, as well as compulsory seminars, demonstrations, web-based assignments, experimental and theoretical modules, and project work in research laboratories or in companies, study visits, symposia and events. A significant element of teaching consists of student-driven learning and interaction between partner universities. The teaching is in English.


Written tests, assignments and reports also in the form of scientific articles, product/business plan, research plan and applications as well as oral presentations in seminars or symposia. Strong emphasis is put on independence and showed activity.


The program leads to a Medical Master's degree in Medical Science. The student applies for a Double degree from the partner universities where the studies were conducted.