INPhINIT, “la Caixa” Doctoral Fellowship Programme



About the INPhINIT “la Caixa” Fellowship Programme at IBEC

INPhINIT, ”la Caixa” Doctoral Fellowship Programme is  devoted to attracting international Early-Stage Researchers to the top Spanish research centres in the areas of Bio and Health Sciences, Physics, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

INPhINIT is promoted by the “la Caixa” Foundation with the aim of supporting the best scientific talent and fostering innovative and high-quality research in Spain by recruiting outstanding international students and offering them an attractive and competitive environment for conducting research of excellence.

INPhINIT recruits per call 57 Early-Stage Researchers of any nationality, who enjoy a 3-year employment contract at the Research Centre of their choice among those selected and awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (“Severo Ochoa” centres of excellence and “Maria de Maeztu” units of excellence) and the Spanish Ministry of Health (“Carlos III centres of excellence”). In addition, researchers establish a personal career development plan including trasnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility opportunities, and attend a full range of complementary training courses and workshops.

INPhINIT relies on the European Commission’s support through the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – COFUND programme to recruit a larger number of researchers and achieve a broader impact, as well as to further pursue the highest standards for research training.

Download complete information about the programme here.

IBEC is one of the top research institutions named as a Severo Ochoa Research Centre by the 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.

IBEC has also received 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.

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

Thanks to IBEC’s interdisciplinarity, the most recent technical and technological approaches developed for research in biology and the biomedical sciences are available. Young researchers can acquire experience and practical training day-to-day 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.

”la Caixa” is a non-profit entity whose activity in education is based on the principle of promoting equal access of citizens to quality qualifications and specializations at national and international levels.

Over the years, thousands of students have advanced their training thanks to a ”la Caixa” Foundation fellowship, enabling them to undertake postgraduate studies in Spain and abroad.

Open projects

Open PhD positions at IBEC

Please feel free to contact our group leaders. They will happy to answer your questions.

Combining super resolution and electron microscopy to track nanoparticles inside the cell

Group: Nanoscopy for nanomedicine
Group leader: Lorenzo Albertazzi (

Biomechanics of tissue folding

Group: Mechanics of development and disease
Group leader: Vito Conte (

eengelPromoting cardiac regeneration by instructive microenvironments

Group: Biomaterials for regenerative therapies
Group leader: Elisabeth Engel (

Exploration of protein aggregation as an antimalarial design strategy

Group: Nanomalaria
Group leader: Xavier Fernández Busquets (

Nanoprothesics: Molecular prosthetics for vision restoration based on targeted covalent photoswitches

Group: Nanoprobes and nanoswitches
Group leader: Pau Gorostiza (

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

Group: Biomedical signal processing and interpretation
Group leader: Raimón Jané (

Toolbox for the development of predictive models in Volatolomics

Group: Signal and information processing for sensing systems
Group leader: Santi Marco (

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

Group: Biomimetic systems for cell engineering
Group leader: Elena Martínez (

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

Group: iPSCs and activation of endogenous tissue programs for organ regeneration
Group leader: Núria Montserrat (

Targeted Nanotherapeutics

Group: Targeted therapeutics and nanodevices
Group leader: Silvia Muro (

Development of an integrated LSPR platform for in situ detection of cytokines associated with insulin resistance in T2D (Type 2 diabetes mellitus)

Group: Biosensors for bioengineering
Group leader: Javier Ramon (

Modulating Parkinson´s disease in microfluidic devices using induced pluripotent stem cells and microfluidic devices

Group: Molecular and cellular neurobiotechnology
Group leader: José Antonio del Rio (

Targeting mechanotransduction for cancer therapies

Group: Cellular and molecular mechanobiology
Group leader: Pere Roca (

Microfluidic cancer-on-a-chip platform: personalizing cancer treatment using microfluidic devices

Group: Nanobioengineering
Group leader: Josep Samitier (

3D Printed Bio-BOTS

Group: Smart nano-bio-devices
Group leader: Samuel Sánchez (

New strategies to combat bacterial infections.

Group: Bacterial infections: antimicrobial therapies
Group leader: Eduard Torrents (

Visualizing the dynamics of tumor interactions at the nanoscale

Group: Integrative cell and tissue dynamics
Group leader: Xavier Trepat (

Understanding embodied social behavior in humans and robots.

Group: Synthetic, Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS)
Group leader: Paul Verschure (

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

IBEC provides Seminars with top names in bioengineering and nanomedicine from all over the world in order to offer the opportunity to discuss and network the developments.

At the same time IBEC provides PhD discussions, Training for specially devoted for PhD and early postdocs such workshops to prepare the thesis and presentation skills.

IBEC also offers different courses to give the opportunity to learn new skills such a leadership communication, time management, and language skills. The institute also holds an annual symposium on a different scientific theme, as well as hosting and organizing several other 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.



The INPhINIT programme will be open to Early-Stage Researchers (ESR) of all nationalities. In order to be eligible, candidates must meet the following criteria (in accordance with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie eligibility conditions):

  1. At the time of the announcement of final results (May 29th 2018), candidates must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.
  2. At the time of the announcement of final results (May 29th 2018), candidates must comply with one of the following options:
    – To have completed the studies that lead to an official Spanish (or from another country of the European Higher Education Area) university degree awarding 300 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits must correspond to master level.
    – To have completed a degree in a non-Spanish university not adapted to the European Higher Education Area that gives access to doctoral studies. The verification of an equivalent level of studies to the ones mentioned above will be made by the university when the admission procedure starts.
  3. Mobility Requirement:  Candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the date of the announcement of final results (May 29th 2018). Short stays such as holidays will not be taken into account.
  4. Candidates must have a demonstrable level of English (B2 or higher).
  5. Only candidates whose submitted application fulfill all the requirements will be eligible.


How to apply

To apply for an INPhINIT fellowship, click here to create your personal account and fill in the on-line “la Caixa” application form.

If you have any further questions please contact

IBEC is committed to the principles of the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers of the European Commission. Thus, there are no restrictions of citizenship or gender and candidates with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklowdowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713673


Selection procedure

INPhINIT aims to recruit excellent Early-Stage Researchers with very solid theoretical backgrounds, with curiosity and ambition; with incipient skills to express themselves clearly and defend their ideas with creativity, independence and originality. Researchers may be focused on the academic side or be more industry-oriented. The evaluation criteria and scores defined to achieve this goal are:

PHASE 1 – Remote evaluation:

  • Qualifications and Curriculum Vitae (weight 50%): academic and/or professional curriculum in relation to the stage of the candidate’s career;
  • Motivation and statement of purpose (weight 30%): the originality, innovation and potential impact of the proposed statement of purpose, and the choice of the Research Centre and/or research line will be assessed;
  • Letters of reference (weight 20%): reference letters supporting the candidacy will be assessed taking into account the specificity of the content with regard to the candidate as well as the profile of the people who sign them.

PHASE 2 – Face-to-face selection:

  • Candidate’s potential (weight 40%): in order to have a general perception of the candidate’s potential, experts will pay attention to “soft” skills, ability to present easily a complex reasoning, team working; and capabilities such as independent reasoning, originality, entrepreneurship, leadership, among others.
  • Motivation and statement of purpose (weight 30%): experts will assess the impact of the statement of purpose for the candidate and the society; innovation, originality and feasibility; and candidate’s capabilities with regard to the scope of the statement of purpose.
  • Academic and professional background (weight 30%): experts will assess the consistency of the candidate’s academic background and CV in the area chosen to carry out the PhD.

The INPhINIT programme is co-funded by the European Commission through COFUND, which is one of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie initiatives of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. As with all activities funded by the European Union, ethics is given the highest priority and is seen as crucial to achieve real research excellence. The research carried out in the framework of the INPhINIT programme must comply with ethical principles and relevant national, EU and international legislation, such as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Applications that may involve ethical issues will be sent to the Ethics Committee to verify that the proposals do not contravene fundamental ethics principals or relevant security procedures. Check the Ethics Principles & Assessment Form.


Useful dates

No projects or additional documentation can be presented outside the deadlines established in the rules of the call for applications.

1 February 2018. End of the call for applications.
15 February 2018. Deadline for presenting the language certificate.
18 April 2018. Notification of the shortlist results.
16 and 17 May 2018. Face-to-face interviews in Barcelona.
29 May 2018. Publication of the results.
From 29 May 2018 to 22 June 2018. Matching of research centre and fellows.
Between September and October. Start of the fellowship.

If you have any further questions, or if there are particular issues you’d like to discuss regarding your potential PhD project, please contact

For details of the grant, applications and selection criteria process, and other general questions, please visit the INPhINIT programme website.