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.

Within the programme, 6 fellowships will be offered, funded by MINECO, through the ‘Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores’ 2017 call. Two additional fellowships will be funded by IBEC through the Severo Ochoa Excellence Award and by the ERC project 681434.



About the IBEC International PhD Programme fellowships


In 2017, 6 fellowships are being offered, funded by MINECO, through the ‘Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores’ 2017 call. Two additional fellowships will be funded by IBEC through the Severo Ochoa Excellence Award and by the ERC project 681434.

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 18.242,52€ 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.

Outcome of the call

By the deadline of February 28th 2017, IBEC had received a total of 133 applications for the IBEC International PhD programme.

The following five candidates have been granted a fellowship. Three positions have not been filled.

  • Madhura Murar – Lorenzo Albertazzi’s group
  • Yolanda Castillo Escario – Alicia Casals & Raimon Jané’s groups
  • Hritwick Banerjee – Samuel Sánchez’s group
  • Sefora Conti – Xavier Trepat’s group
  • Srivatsava Viswanadha – Pere Roca’s group



  • Candidates should be ready to enter an official doctoral programme in September 2017 (under Spanish Law). By this time, they must have obtained a university degree and a masters 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 masters level.
  • Candidates must have a strong commitment to scientific research and an excellent academic record.
  • Candidates must have good working knowledge of English.
  • Candidates may not have held a PhD contract exceeding 12 months in June 2017.


PhD research projects

In the online application form, you will be asked to indicate your preference of up to five 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:

Mechanobiology of the tumour-stroma interactions

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

lalbertazzi_sciNanomaterials for personalized drug delivery

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

dnavajas_sciCell-matrix mechanical crosstalk as key factor for improving biofabrication of cardiac patches for heart regeneration

Group: Cellular and respiratory biomechanics
Group leader: Daniel Navajas (dnavajas@ibecbarcelona.eu)

ssanchez_sciActive Nano-particles for Biomedical Applications

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

2conte_sciBiomechanics of embryonic mutation

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

busquets_sciExploration of protein aggregation as an antimalarial design strategy

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

etorrents_sciNew strategies to combat bacterial infections

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

marco_sciDiscovery of volatile biomarkers in flatus associated to chronic digestive diseases

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

jane_sciNovel m-Health and advanced signal interpretation techniques for improving diagnostic and monitoring of Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients at home

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

samitier_sciAnemia in vitro models by means organ on a chips systems

Group: Nanobioengineering
Group leader: Josep Samitier (jsamitier@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_sciTargeting mechanotransduction for cancer therapies

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

ramon_sciAdvancing in β-cell replacement therapy in type I diabetes: Novel scaffold designs for the improvement of islet graft revascularization and survival

Group: Biosensors for bioengineering
Group leader: Javier Ramón (jramon@ibecbarcelona.eu)
-ERC, new IBEC group in January 2017-

delrio_sciModulating axon growth and neuronal migration by optogenetic approaches and light

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

montserrat_sciTargeting intermediate mesoderm in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs): identification of novel non coding RNAs driving kidney development and regeneration

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

engel_sciMetal-loaded nanoparticles for guiding wound healing towards non-scarred skin tissue (NanoDerMet)

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

altankov_sciBehaviour of Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Thermo-Responsive Substrate

Group: Molecular dynamics at cell-biomaterial interface
Group leader: George Altankov (galtankov@ibecbarcelona.eu)

gomila_sciModeling the interaction between neurons and microelectromechanical systems

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

salmeron_sciProtein-based hydrogels to engineer tissue models

Group: To be confirmed
Group leader: Manuel Salmerón (Manuel.Salmeron-Sanchez@glasgow.ac.uk )
-ICREA, ERC, to joint IBEC  in January 2017-

casals_sciMuscular activity analysis for the design of new personalized robot based neurorehabilitation therapies

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

andrzejak_sciData-driven analysis of coupled network models: What can they teach us about biomedical systems?

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

juarez_sciUnderstanding regulatory networks of Escherichia coli ST131: a novel approach to combat multiresistant infectious microorganisms

Associate researcher: Antonio Juarez (ajuarez@ub.edu)
Co-supervisor: Eduard Torrents

arroyo_sciReverse engineering epithelial remodeling and morphogenesis

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

conte_sciBiomechanics of cancer progression (FPI funded project)

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

albertazzifpi_sciSynthesis of peptide-based nanomaterials for targeted drug delivery (FPI funded project)

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

ercarroyo_sciTheoretical and computational modeling of the cell envelop (ERC funded project)

Associated researcher: Marino Arroyo (marino.arroyo@upc.edu)

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 14th December 2016 until 31th January 2017).

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

  • Personal data and CV
  • Covering 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.1
  • 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 in GPA including PDF of your register and System and your university score 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. Please be sure to inform your referees that their letters must be uploaded in the online application tool before the deadline (31th January 2017)


Selection procedure

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee made up of IBEC group leaders and administration staff. At the end of February, 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.

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

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.

In April, offers will be made 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 in December 2017- January 2018  (May 2017 for fellowship funded by ERC project)

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.


Useful dates

  • 14th December 2016: Launch of the call
  • 31st January 2017: Deadline for submission of applications
  • 1st-6th February: Eligibility criteria
  • 7th-21st February: Evaluation of the candidates’ CVs
  • 27th February-1st March: Communication of results. Invitation of selected candidates to come to Barcelona for an interview
  • 27th-28th March: Interviews in Barcelona with selection committee and group leaders responsible for research projects
  • 10th-13th April: Communication of results to candidates. Letter of acceptance to be signed by candidates.
  • May 2017: Start of the fellowship funded by ERC project 681434
  • December 2017 – January 2018: Start of other fellowships

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.

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