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IRB-TARGET 2024 call

IRB TARGETAre you passionate about biomedicine? Do you want to pursue a PhD, train in the first-class research environment provided by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), learn from internationally recognized experts in their respective fields, and build a solid knowledge base that will open up career opportunities? If this is you, then chase your dream career through the IRB-TARGET PhD programme.

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IRB Barcelona International PhD programme: on TARGET for high-impact biomedicine


IRB Barcelona is a vibrant multidisciplinary institute where scientists address challenging and pressing biomedical problems in a collaborative fashion to provide groundbreaking solutions to unmet medical needs.

The IRB-TARGET doctoral programme brings together a network of 21 institutions to implement an impact-oriented training itinerary aligned with IRB’s strategic objective to bring fundamental science closer to applied and clinical research. Through two separate calls, IRB-TARGET will offer 10 four-year fellowships to exceptional doctoral candidates, who can choose and build a strong research project within one of the six interdisciplinary research nodes established at IRB.

IRB-TARGET is aimed at talented young researchers wishing to undertake their PhD theses in one of its 28 state-of-the-art laboratories that tackle cutting-edge topics in cancer/metastasis, ageing and cell reprogramming, metabolism, cell differentiation, and genomics, among others. In the context of inter- and multi-disciplinary collaboration between groups, countries (more than 100 international collaborations) and sectors (academy, industry or hospitals), IRB-TARGET offers customized training and ample career development opportunities. This innovative training programme stands out for fostering much valued secondments and other initiatives aimed at strengthening the career prospects of doctoral candidates. 


Co-funded by the European Union's Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Work Programme under grant agreement No. 101126676, IRB-TARGET is offering 5 four-year fellowships for the academic year 2024-2025 for researchers interested in carrying out their PhD projects. 


Check out IRB Barcelona groups participating in this frame:


Selected candidates:

  • Vincenzo Andrea Zingaro

  • Jake Pickering 

  • Melani Jurić

  • Giulia Viola

  • Aurora Desideri Perea


Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the European Research Executive Agency can be held responsible for them.

  • Serena Manhoor


IRB-TARGET will recruit doctoral candidates of any nationality, gender, culture, religion, sexual orientation or age to undertake a PhD in biomedicine. To be eligible for an IRB-TARGET fellowship, applicants must:

  • Comply with the mobility rule: meaning that they 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 before the deadline of the call.


  • Not be in possession of a doctoral degree at the deadline of the call. Any candidate that has successfully defended their doctoral thesis will not be considered eligible, even if they have not formally been awarded a doctoral degree.


  • Fulfil one of the following options (mandatory requirements according to the Bologna process to be able to enrol in a doctoral programme at the time of the effective recruitment):

    • Completion of 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 must correspond to master level.

    • Completion of a degree in a non-Spanish university not adapted to the European Higher Education Area that gives access to doctoral studies in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Physics, Medicine or related fields in Spain.


  • Submit a complete application before the established deadline through the IRB-TARGET electronic application. Applicants will be asked to upload the following information:

    • Personal information such as first and last name, gender, nationality and contact details. This section will also ask about applications for or intention to apply for other fellowships.

    • Curriculum vitae, including summary of work experience and career breaks.

    • Motivation letter (maximum 2 pages) highlighting their research experience and academic achievements and explaining why they are interested in IRB Barcelona and in a particular research group.

    • A scanned copy of their certified academic record. These documents must show the grades attained in exam periods and evidence that the required degree will be obtained by the expected time of recruitment if it has not already been awarded.

    • Any additional files considered relevant to the application.

    • At least two recommendation letters from university lecturers or scientists who are familiar with their academic work and who can judge their potential as a predoctoral researcher. 

    • A summary of any work experience and a maximum of three research groups in which they are interested.

Candidates are selected exclusively on merit, on the basis of their curricula. The academic grades and curriculum vitae of each applicant are evaluated, as well as recommendation letters and a motivation letter. No selection criteria for positive or negative discrimination are applied.

How to apply

Applicants should complete and submit the online form. More information regarding the application can be found in the “Useful Information” tab.

Those applying also for IRB Barcelona International Fellowships 2024 need only submit a single application, which will be considered by the different calls.

Applicants will be asked to upload the following documents in English: *Please note that all the documents provided should be in PDF format.

  • Curriculum vitae specifying education and experience, including career breaks, and supported by pertinent documents.
  • A motivation letter (maximum 2 pages) highlighting your research experience and academic achievements and explaining why you are interested in IRB Barcelona and in a particular research group.
  • A scanned copy of the student’s certified Academic Record. These documents must show the grades attained in exam periods. If the certified academic records are not in Spanish or English applicants should also attach a translation in one of the above mentioned languages.
  • Any additional files considered relevant to the application
  • Two recommendation letters from university lecturers or scientists with who the applicant has studied or worked. Candidates are responsible for ensuring that referees submit these letters. Applications not supported by these letters will not be eligible. If the applicant has previously worked with a researcher at IRB Barcelona, any letter of reference from said person cannot be included as one of the two reference letters requested. However, it can be sent to provide additional support for the application.

Please indicate the Research Node(s) to which you wish to apply (up to 3). Details of the available research projects for the IRB-TARGET fellowships are provided in Annex 2 of the IRB-TARGET call.

Research Nodes

  •     Chemical and Structural Biology
  •     Cell Pathophysiology
  •     Computational Biology
  •     Invertebrate Models of Disease
  •     Preclinical Models of Cancer
  •     Preclinical Models of Disease

More information on the research activities of each group can be found on the IRB Barcelona webpage.

For more information, please, contact phd@irbbarcelona.org.

Selection procedure

An Evaluation Committee will appraise eligible applications both in the remote evaluation stage and in the interview stage. This committee will include external members and representatives of group leaders at IRB Barcelona. The evaluation will be independent, impartial, objective and free of conflicts of interest, and the selection will be open, efficient, transparent, fair, and merit-based. The PhD Advisory Committee will oversee the remote and interview stages of the selection process.
Applicants will receive continuous support from the Academic Office through the IRB-TARGET helpdesk (email, phone), which will notify them of the outcome of the preselection. The candidates with the highest scores will be invited to IRB Barcelona for an interview. Those who do not pass the threshold established will be excluded from further consideration. Candidates who do not pass this evaluation will be informed why and will be provided with the instructions to follow to start a redress procedure.
Short-listed candidates will receive an invitation to a three-day interview process held at IRB Barcelona. Teleconference interviews will be used only for candidates with prior commitments that cannot be rearranged and that thus prevent them from travelling to Barcelona.
Offers of admission will be made to the successful candidates shortly after the interview period. Candidates positively evaluated but with an insufficient score to receive a fellowship will be put on a reserve list to cover possible renunciations and future positions.
The list of awardees will be published on the IRB-TARGET section of IRB Barcelona’s website. Awardees will receive a formal invitation letter.


Call opening: 23 October 2023

Deadline for candidacies: 5 January 2024, 15:00 CET

Deadline for referees: 8 January 2024, 15:00 CET

Remote evaluation: 29 January 2024

Group Leader Panel presentations: 26 February 2024

Interviews at IRB Barcelona: 4-5-6 March 2024

Notification to candidates: 8 March 2024

Start date of fellowships:  1 September 2024