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PhD Opportunities

The call is now closed!

Since 1982, the “la Caixa” Foundation has offered several fellowship programmes aimed at allowing Spanish students to undertake postgraduate studies in Spain and abroad. Over the years, thousands of students have advanced their training thanks to a “la Caixa” Foundation fellowship.

In 2008, the “la Caixa” Foundation launched a new programmed aimed at national and international students. As part of this programme, each year fellowhips are awarded to students who wish to complete work toward their doctoral degrees in biomedicine at IRB Barcelona. As last year, “La Caixa” Foundation has selected IRB Barcelona because its “Severo Ochoa” distinction.

logo de la caixa logo excelencia severo ochoa



IRB Barcelona is looking for young scientists from the national and international community who wish to do their PhD in a stimulating environment, rich in technological resources and campus life. We encourage applications from highly motivated biologists, biochemists, chemists, physicists, pharmacologists and computational scientists with outstanding qualifications. Successful candidates will join research groups with top-level scientists and will carry out their research in cutting-edge areas of biomedicine.

The programme is aimed at students under 30 (Spanish nationals and non-nationals) who have completed by September 2014 one of the following options:

a) the studies that lead to an official Spanish (or from another country of European higher Education Area) university degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Physics, Medicine, Chemistry or related areas and that have 300 credits (ECTS) of an official university degree, of which at least 60 must correspond to master level.

b) a degree in a non-Spanish university not adapted to the European Higher Education Area that give access to doctoral studies in Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Physics, Medicine, Chemistry or related areas.

Candidates who have had a scientific relationship with the centre for more than six months (before the application deadline) are not eligible for these fellowships.

How to apply

Applicants should complete and submit the online form

Applicants will be asked to attach the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • A motivation letter
  • A scanned copy of the student’s certified Academic Record. These documents must show the grades attained in exam periods.
  • Any additional files considered relevant to the application
  • Two recommendation letters from university lecturers or scientists with who the applicant has studied or worked. Only letters with official letterhead and signature will be accepted.

Students will be required to provide a brief summary of work experience and to request letters of recommendation from two scientists who are familiar with their academic work and who can judge their potential as a PhD student. Letters requesting recommendations may be downloaded and sent to potential referees. Referees must send their letters directly to IRB Barcelona from the application. Only letters with official letterhead and signature will be accepted. Referees may upload their letters directly into the application proceeding as indicated in the instructions sent by the applicant.

Alternatively referees can send the letters either by e-mail or airmail at the address below. Candidates are responsible for ensuring that referees submit these letters. Applications without them will not be processed.

Applicants should indicate up to two research programmes in which they would like to work, in order of preference. Moreover, if candidates have interest in a particular research group, they should indicate it in the motivation letter. More information on the research activities of each group can be found on the IRB Barcelona web pages.

Applicants should submit information wherever possible in English (CV, motivation letter, summary of work experience). If the certified academic records are not in Catalan, Spanish or English applicants should also attach a sworn translation in one of the above mentioned languages.

Selection procedure

Students are selected from a pool of highly qualified international applicants on the basis of academic and technical excellence.

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee consisting of IRB Barcelona group leaders. Short-listed candidates will receive invitations to visit IRB Barcelona for interviews during May 2014. Travel expenses will be reimbursed (up to a maximum of 300 euros), and accommodation will be provided. Offers of admission will be made to the successful candidates shortly after the interview period. Students should expect to take up their positions at IRB Barcelona by September 1, 2014.


  • Call opening: 19th December 2013
  • Deadline for candidacies: 19th February 2014. Deadline extended 5th March 2014.
  • Pre-selection of candidates: 24th February to 30th March 2014
  • Interviews at IRB Barcelona: 19th to 20th May 2014
  • Notification to candidates: 20th to 25th May 2014
  • Start date of fellowships: 1st September 2014

Applicants who have not been successful but have received a positive evaluation will be put on a waiting list to cover possible renunciations and future positions. The top 4 ranked candidates will receive a “La Caixa- Severo Ochoa” fellowship. At least 6 additional fellowships will be offered funded by MINECO and IRB Barcelona to candidates placed from the 5th position on the final ranking list.


2014 application call "la Caixa" - Severo Ochoa/IRB Barcelona International PhD Fellowship Programme



Deadline for applications

Deadline for receipt of completed applications is Wednesday, February 19, 2014. Deadline extended 5th March 2014.

Contact information


Enquiries and letters of recommendation should be addressed to:

Patricia Nadal Jordá
Academic Coordinator (acting)
Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Parc Científic de Barcelona
C/ Baldiri Reixac 10
08028 Barcelona, Spain
email: phdarrobairbbarcelona.org


Patricia Nadal
Academic Coordinator (acting)

  • Generalitat de catalunya
  • Generalitat de catalunya. Salut
  • Universidad de Barcelona
  • Fundación BBVA

Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

Parc Científic de Barcelona Parc Científic de Barcelona

C/ Baldiri Reixac 10
08028 Barcelona - Spain
Tel: +34 93 402 02 50 | Fax: +34 93 403 71 14