IBEC International PhD Programme fellowships

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The IBEC International PhD Programme aims to train the next generation of researchers in bioengineering for future medicine, active ageing, and regenerative therapies.

In 2018, four fellowships will be funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness through the ‘Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores’ 2018 call. Three additional fellowships will be funded by IBEC through the Severo Ochoa Excellence Award (IBEC Severo Ochoa Fellowship), Fundación Bancaria La Caixa and Fundación Cellex.



About the IBEC International PhD Programme fellowships

In 2018, four fellowships will be funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness through the ‘Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores’ 2018 call. Three additional fellowships will be funded by IBEC through the Severo Ochoa Excellence Award (IBEC Severo Ochoa Fellowship), Fundación Bancaria La Caixa and Fundación Cellex.

IBEC is one of the top research institutions named as a Severo Ochoa Research Centre by Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (in charge of research and innovation policy in Spain), which recognizes excellence at the highest international level in terms of research, training, human resources, outreach and technology transfer. The Severo Ochoa award provides 4m€ over 2015-2019 to implement IBEC’s Research and Human Resources Programmes.

PhD fellows at IBEC  receive a 4-year contract with a gross salary of 16.422€ for the first 3 years and 18.981,89€ for the fourth year, plus 6250€ for mobility and training for the 4-year period.

MINECO fellows who finish and defend their PhD thesis before the start of the 4th year of the MINECO fellowship will be able to sign a one year postdoctoral contract (POP) with a gross salary of 19.000€.

Download complete information about the programme here.



  • Candidates should be ready to enter an official doctoral programme in October 2018 (under Spanish Law). By this time, they must have obtained a university degree and a master’s degree; or must hold an official university qualification from a country of the European Higher Education Area with a minimum of 300 ECTS of official university studies, of which at least 60 are at master’s level.
  • Candidates are eligible for a period of 2 years following the end of the MSc or 5 years following the end of the BSc at the time of deadline (January 31st 2018).
  • Candidates must have a strong commitment to scientific research and an excellent academic record.
  • Candidates must have good working knowledge of English.
  • Candidates must not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Candidates must not have held a PhD contract exceeding twelve months in October 2018.
  • Candidates must not have held any fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness for the development of a PhD thesis at the time of deadline (January 31st 2018).


PhD research projects

In the online application form, you will be asked to indicate your preference of up to three research projects.

If you are invited to IBEC for interview, you will have the chance to discuss the different PhD projects with the group leaders responsible, and decide which project you prefer.

PhD projects:

etorrents_sciNew strategies to combat bacterial infections

Group: Bacterial infections: antimicrobial therapies
Group leader: Eduard Torrents (etorrents@ibecbarcelona.eu)

lalbertazzi_sciDesign of novel targeted drug delivery carriers guided by Super resolution microscopy

Group: Nanoscopy for nanomedicine
Group leader: Lorenzo Albertazzi (lalbertazzi@ibecbarcelona.eu)

montserrat_sciTargeting cardiac progenitors in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs): identification of novel non-coding RNAs driving cardiac development and regeneration

Group: Pluripotent stem cells and activation of endogenous tissue programs for organ regeneration
Group leader: Nuria Montserrat (nmontserrat@ibecbarcelona.eu)

gorostiza_sciMolecular prosthetics for vision restoration based on freely-diffusible and covalently bound photoswitches

Group: Nanoprobes and nanoswitches
Group leader: Pau Gorostiza (pgorostiza@ibecbarcelona.eu)

roca_sciControl of breast cancer by nuclear mechanics

Group: Cellular and molecular mechanobiology
Group leader: Pere Roca Cusachs (proca@ibecbarcelona.eu)

jane_sciMultimodal physiological biomarkers and mHealth tools for non-invasive monitoring and assessment of asthmatic patients

Group: Biomedical signal processing and interpretation
Group leader: Raimón Jané (rjane@ibecbarcelona.eu)

andrzejak_sciCoexistence of synchronization and desynchronization: Data-driven analysis of coupled network models

Associate researcher: Ralph Andrzejak (ralph.andrzejak@upf.edu)
Co-supervisor: Raimón Jané

Machine Learning for Volatile Metabolomics

Group: Signal and information processing for sensing systems
Group leader: Santi Marco (smarco@ibecbarcelona.eu)

busquets_sciExploration of protein aggregation as an antimalarial design strategy

Group: Nanomalaria
Group leader: Xavier Fernàndez Busquets (xfernandez@ibecbarcelona.eu)

Visualizing the dynamics of tumor interactions at the nanoscale

Group: Integrative cell and tissue dynamics
Group leader: Xavier Trepat (xtrepat@ibecbarcelona.eu)

casals_sciMultimodal Human-Robot Interaction for assistive robotics

Associate researcher: Alicia Casals (alicia.casals@upc.edu)
Co-supervisor: Raimón Jané

Engineering of a 3D Organotypic model of Intestinal Mucosa for Cancer Research

Group: Biomimetic systems for cell engineering
Group leader: Elena Martínez (emartinez@ibecbarcelona.eu)

engel_sciPromoting cardiac regeneration by instructive microenvironments

Group: Biomaterials for regenerative therapies
Group leader: Elisabeth Engel (eengel@ibecbarcelona.eu)

ramon_sciIntegration of biosensors technology in Tissue Engineering

Group: Biosensors for bioengineering
Group leader: Javier Ramón (jramon@ibecbarcelona.eu)

delrio_sciIn vitro modelling of neuronal networks in neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases

Group: Molecular and cellular neurobiotechnology
Group leader: Jose Antonio del Rio (jadelrio@ibecbarcelona.eu)

samitier_sci3D organ on a chip system for blood diseases

Group: Nanobioengineering
Group leader: Josep Samitier (jsamitier@ibecbarcelona.eu)

Liquid Biopsies Platforms: Towards a fully informed design of personalized medicine (Fellowship funded by Fundación Bancaria La Caixa)

Group: Nanobioengineering
Group leader: Josep Samitier (jsamitier@ibecbarcelona.eu)

Using functional cell-based assays to improve pediatric cancer treatment (Fellowship funded by Fundación Cellex)

Group: Nanobioengineering
Group leader: Josep Samitier (jsamitier@ibecbarcelona.eu)

arroyo_sciBottom-up multiscale modeling of epithelial mechanobiology

Associated researcher: Marino Arroyo (marino.arroyo@upc.edu)
Co-supervisor: Xavier Trepat

Embedded sensing architecture for mixed reality environments

Group: SPECS
Group leader: Paul Verschure (pverschure@ibecbarcelona.eu)

ssanchez_sciActive Nano-particles in nanomedicine: smart drug delivery systems

Group: Smart nano-bio-devices
Group leader: Samuel Sánchez (ssánchez@ibecbarcelona.eu)

conte_sciQuantifying the forces that bend tissues

Group: Mechanics of development and disease
Group leader: Vito Conte (vconte@ibecbarcelona.eu)

Targeted Nanodevices for Delivery of Therapeutics across Body Barriers

Group: Targeted therapeutics and nanodevices
Group leader: Silvia Muro (smuro@ibecbarcelona.eu)

The Mutational Landscape of Proteins containing Prion Domains

Group to join IBEC in September 2018
Group leader: Benedetta Bolognesi (phd@ibecbarcelona.eu)

How to apply

Which documents and information do I need to provide with my application?

To apply for an IBEC International PhD fellowship, create your personal account and fill in the application form (available from 15th December 2017 until 31st January 2018).

You will be required to provide the following information in your application.

  • Personal data and CV
  • Cover letter, including motivation for applying
  • A scan of your Certified Academic Record, showing grades obtained (degree and masters). If these are not in Catalan, Spanish or English, applicants should attach a translation in one of these languages.
  • Education experience: what, when and where you have studied. In order to standardize the final marks in your application form, we will need that you submit your educational certificate using the relation of scales of foreign grades to the equivalent Spanish grades provided by the General Secretariat of Universities of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (instructions and template included in the application form) and the ranking of your university according to Times Higher Education.
  • Research experience
  • Current status
  • Publications, Presentations in conferences, Awards/fellowships
  • 2 letters of recommendation from lecturers or researchers with whom you have studied or worked and who can judge your potential as a PhD student. Only letters with official letterhead and signature will be accepted. Reference letters cannot be provided by IBEC’s Group Leaders or associated researchers. Please be sure to inform your referees that their letters must be uploaded in the online application tool before the deadline (January 31th 2018).


Useful dates

  • December 15th 2017: Launch of the call.
  • January 31st 2018: Deadline for submission of applications.
  • February 1st12th 2018: Check of eligibility criteria.
  • February 13th-March 2nd 2018: Evaluation of the candidates’ CVs.
  • March 12th-14th 2018: Communication of results. Invitation of shortlisted candidates to come to Barcelona for an interview.
  • April 16th-20th 2018: Interviews in Barcelona with selection committee and group leaders responsible for research projects.
  • April 27th 2018: Publication of final list of selected candidates. Letter of acceptance to be signed by candidates.
  • May-October 2018: Start of the fellowships funded by Fundación Bancaria La Caixa and Fundación Cellex, to be agreed with the Group Leader responsible.
  • Beginning of 2019 (To be confirmed, based on the resolution of the call ‘Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores’ by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitivity): Start of the rest of the fellowships.
Selection procedure

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee made up of IBEC group leaders and administration staff.

Applicants’ CVs will be reviewed in terms of academic record, research experience and additional merits.

In mid-March, shortlisted candidates will receive invitations to visit IBEC for interviews with the selection committee and with the group leaders responsible of their preferred potential PhD projects.

After a presentation of IBEC and its research groups, shortlisted candidates will have the opportunity to select up to two more PhD project proposals.

Interviews with the selection committee will evaluate motivation, communication skills, independent thinking, autonomy, ability to team work, etc.

The interview with the group leaders responsible of each PhD project will serve to evaluate the knowledge and expertise of the candidate related to the particular research project and his/her adequacy to the corresponding research group.

The interview will also be an opportunity for the candidate to expose any personal requirement, clarify doubts and meet with their potential PhD supervisors.

At the end of the interviews, candidates will be asked to make a final ranked list of their preferred PhD research projects and supervisors.

On April 27th, the results of the call will be published and the acceptance letters will be sent to the candidates with the highest scores.

In order of evaluation score, candidates will be able to choose their final PhD Project and supervisor priority, taking into account that each PhD research project can only have one fellowship, so if a candidate with a higher score chooses a particular PhD research project, candidates with lower scores will have to choose another one from their list of preferred PhD projects and supervisors.

Starting dates of the fellowships:

  • May-October 2018: Start of the fellowships funded by Fundación Bancaria La Caixa and Fundación Cellex, to be agreed with the Group Leader responsible.
  • Beginning of 2019 (To be confirmed, based on the resolution of the call ‘Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores’ by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitivity): Start of the rest of the fellowships.

Applicants who have not been successful but have received a positive evaluation will be put on a waiting list for future positions.

In April 2015, IBEC was awarded the ‘Human Resources Excellence in Research’ seal from the European Commission, in recognition of its commitment to continuously improving its HR policies in line with The European Charter of Researchers and The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.

In line with this recognition, IBEC has set up an international, transparent, equal-opportunities merit-based recruitment procedure to select the most qualified candidates. The selection procedure is governed by the following principles:

  • Transparency throughout the whole process.
  • Equal opportunities in the selection and hiring of personnel.
  • Non-discrimination on grounds of sex, age, ethnic, national or social origin, religion, sexual orientation, language, disability, political opinions or social and economic condition.
  • Confidentiality as the cornerstone of the selection process.
  • Principle of public dissemination of the selection processes, which must also be internationally comparable.

Life at IBEC

Living with us: Training, mobility and social activities

IBEC encourages its PhD students to participate in various activities, such as workshops,
discussions and outreach events, in order to develop themselves as international researchers.

IBEC Seminars and PhD Discussions

Our regular IBEC Seminars invite top names in bioengineering and nanomedicine from all over the world to help keep us up-to-date on the state-of-the-art of research in the field. IBEC seminars also offer the opportunity to network and discuss recent developments, fostering internal and external interaction and opening doors to future collaborations.

IBEC researchers also have the chance to learn from their colleagues at the PhD Discussions series of talks and skills sessions. These provide a forum for PhD students to present the results of their research and discuss them with each other, as well as with more experienced researchers. Outside speakers are also invited to help IBEC’s students in their career development by delivering talks on complementary skills such as entrepreneurship and career mobility.

The institute also holds an annual symposium on bioengineering and nanomedicine, as well as hosting and organizing several project-based or general scientific meetings and workshops throughout the year.

Practical training

Thanks to IBEC’s interdisciplinarity, the most recent technical and technological approaches developed for research in biology and the biomedical sciences are available at the institute. PhD students can acquire experience and practical training in both the classical approaches and new methodologies in imaging techniques, nanomaterials technology, nanofabrication, biosensors, biosignal interpretation, lab-on-a-chip approaches, and many more.

Complementary skills training

Besides the mandatory doctoral courses offered by the universities, IBEC offers several training courses specifically devoted to PhD students and early postdocs, covering such topics as Scientific writing, Effective communication, Leadership, Guidance for women in their research, How to publish in high ranking journals, Preparing a PhD thesis, Presentation skills in English, Career development, Diversity and cross-cultural awareness in research, Entrepreneurship or Technology transfer.

All courses in complementary and transferrable skills are designed to enhance future employability and career progress.

Outreach activities

As part of its mission, IBEC aims to inform society about the research being carried by its scientists in bioengineering and nanomedicine, both to help citizens understand the importance of research and make informed decisions, and to encourage young people to consider scientific careers.

To do this, the institute organizes or takes part in a range of outreach activities throughout the year. IBEC’s PhD students are required to volunteer for these activities, as they offer the perfect opportunity to gain experience in explaining your research in terms that a lay audience can understand, a skill that is essential for your career in areas such as achieving funding for projects.

IBEC’s outreach activities include group visits from schools, universities and other organizations, one-on-one mentoring, workshops for teachers, science fairs and festivals, talks in public spaces, Open Doors days, and many more.

Research Placements

As part of their training, young researchers are encouraged to take up research placements in other centres. Thanks to these stays, students benefit from intense transnational and multidisciplinary mobility, as well as the expertise and facilities of the best institutions worldwide. Such mobility provides them with multicultural skills, including languages, and proves highly beneficial in crossing cultural borders and enhancing their future employability in a globalised job market.

Placements take place in any of the many institutions with which our researchers collaborate, including but not restricted to centres linked to IBEC by strategic research agreements or funded exchange programmes such as Marie Curie or the Networks of Excellence. These stays have the added value of enabling PhD students to obtain an international PhD, a recognised distinction which significantly improves their chances of a successful career.

IBEC PhD Students’ Committee

The PhD Students’ Committee is a group of highly motivated representatives of different research groups at IBEC, mainly graduate students, that work voluntarily with two major aims: to be the voice of the PhD students inside the institute, and to improve the PhD experience. The Committee works jointly with IBEC’s support service units to organize workshops, courses and seminars in response to the PhD community’s needs and requests. Social and sports activities where students can relax and mingle with others, such as bowling, tennis table and beach volley, are held frequently too. The representatives of the Committee convene regularly with HR and the Directorate to organize all these activities, as well as to pass on ideas and suggestions from the young IBEC community.


I still have questions!

If you have any further questions about the IBEC International PhD Programme fellowships, or if there are particular issues you’d like to discuss regarding your application, please contact phd@ibecbarcelona.eu.





Call 18

6 candidates have been granted a PhD fellowship to develop their PhD at IBEC within the IBEC International PhD Programme 2018:
  • Alba Rubio Canalejas
  • Marina Pavlova
  • Júlia Sala i Jarque
  • Héctor López Carral
  • Francesc Xavier Arqué Roca
  • Jessica Nathalia Sierra Agudelo (Fellowship funded by Bancaria Fundació La Caixa)

The fellowship funded by Fundación Cellex has not been filled.