IBEC International PhD Programme fellowships


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

In 2020, five fellowships will be funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the ‘Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores’ 2020 call. 



About the IBEC International PhD Programme fellowships

In 2020, five fellowships will be funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the ‘Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores’ 2020 call. 

IBEC is one of the top research institutions named as a Severo Ochoa Research Centre by Ministry of Science and Innovation (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 2020-2024 to implement IBEC’s Research and Human Resources Programmes.

PhD fellows at IBEC  receive a 4-year contract with a gross annual salary of 17.785€ per year, plus 6.250€ for mobility and training for the 4-year period.

Fellows who finish and defend their PhD thesis before the start of the 4th year of the 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 2020 (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 (March 25th, 2020).
  • 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 2020.
  • 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 (March 25th, 2020).


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 preselected for an 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 cell function 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

Signal processing and machine learning for omics data

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

busquets_sciTargeting vesicle trafficking as a strategy against malaria

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

Mechanobiology of intestinal organoids

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

engel_sci3D tumor models for cancer research

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

Bioprinted hydrogel microfluidics to mimic tissue barriers

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

ramon_sciMuscle-on-a-chip platform to evaluate Myotonic Dystrophy therapeutic strategies

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

samitier_sciDeciphering key cell-matrix interactions in differentiation and disease of the 3D musculoskeletal system tissues

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

ssanchez_sciActive Nano-particles in nanomedicine: smart drug delivery systems

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

Embedded sensing architecture for mixed reality environments

Group: SPECS
Group leader: Paul Verschure (pverschure@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: Protein phase transitions in health and disease
Group leader: Benedetta Bolognesi (bbolognesi@ibecbarcelona.eu)

Improving immunotherapy by targeting the immunosuppressive fibroblasts in lung cancer

Associate researcher: Jordi Alcaraz (jalcaraz@ub.edu)
Co-supervisor: Joan Montero/Josep Samitier

delrio_sciThe minimal chemotactic cell

Group: Molecular Bionics
Group leader: Giuseppe Battaglia (gbattaglia@ibecbarcelona.eu)

Single-cell transcriptomic profiling of in vitro human embryo implantation

Group: Bioengineering in reproductive health
Group leader: Samuel Ojosnegros (sojosnegros@ibecbarcelona.eu)

Big data methods for electric functional scanning probe microscopies in Biology

Group: Nanoscale bioelectrical characterization
Group leader: Gabriel Gomila (ggomila@ibecbarcelona.eu)

How to apply

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

From 12th February 2020 until 25th March 2020, an online application form   will be available through IBEC International PhD Programme dedicated site.

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 the 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 (March 25th 2020).


Useful dates

  • February 12th, 2020: Launch of the call
  • March 25th, 2020: New Deadline for submission of applications
  • March 26th–April 7th, 2020: Check of eligibility Criteria
  • April 8th–27th, 2020: Evaluation of the candidates’ CVs
  • May 4th–5th, 2020: Communication of results of the evaluation of the candidates’ CVs. Invitation of shortlisted candidates for an online interview.
  • May 6th–15th, 2020:  shortlisted candidates will be asked to contact the IBEC supervisors and get to know their research and PhD project.
  • May 18th–20th, 2020: Shortlisted candidates will present a final ranked list of their preferred PhD research projects and supervisors.
  • May 21th–22th, 2020: Online interviews with the selection committee.
  • May 25th–29th, 2020: Publication of final list of selected candidates. Letter of acceptance to be signed by candidates.
  • From November, 2020: start of the research assistant contract
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-April, results will be communicated. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to contact their preferred group leaders and get to know their research lines and the PhD project. This 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.

After the talks with the PIs, candidates will be asked to make a final ranked list of their preferred PhD research projects and supervisors.

In May, online interviews of shortlisted candidates will be held. Interviews with the selection committee will evaluate following competencies: communication, critical and analytical thinking, team and collaborative working, commitment, proactivity and open mind.

The interview will also be an opportunity for the candidate to expose any personal requirement or clarify doubts.

On May 25th–29th 2020, 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, they will be able to choose their final PhD Project and supervisor, 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.

Fellows should expect to take up their positions at IBEC from Novembre 2020 until April 2021. Please note these are tentative dates and they are subject to the Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores’ 2020-call from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.  

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

IBEC is committed to the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (The Charter & Code).

In 2015, IBEC gained the HR Excellence in Research Award in recognition of our ongoing commitment. At the mid-term evaluation in 2017, IBEC was successful in retaining the award.

Our Recruitment and Selection Policy is based on the OTM Strategy (Open, Transparent and Merit-based recruitment) www.ibecbarcelona.eu/jobs/ and accept applications without distinction on any grounds. Candidates with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Our commitment to OTM-R principles can also be found in our Gender and Diversity plan.

In line with the principles defined in the OTM-R procedure, selection processes are 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
  • Merit based evaluation
  • 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.

Selected Fellows

Awarded Candidates
Miguel González Martín
Laura Francesca Bianchi
Paula Piñeiro Varela
Samet Aytekin
Thomas Wilson


IBEC Strategic Investigation Program in Bioengineering

Program offered for selected  fellows of the IBEC International PhD Programme (2020 call)


Alessandra Colantuoni | Research Assistant
Melika Parchehbaf Kashani | Research Assistant
Thomas Wilson | Research Assistant






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.