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Maths4life 2021

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Logo Math4Life

Running from July to September 2021, the Maths4Life Programme is aimed at outstanding and highly motivated BSc and MSc students with a strong interest in mathematics and statistics.

IRB Barcelona is looking for BSc and MSc students from the national and international community who wish to get involved in multidisciplinary research at the interface between mathematics, statistics, informatics, and biomedicine. The successful candidates will collaborate in developing cutting-edge statistical/computational methods to apply to biological and biomedical research topics. We encourage applications from statisticians, mathematicians, computational scientists, and bioinformaticians wishing to pursue a career in the biosciences. The successful candidates will work individually with IRB Barcelona scientists on diverse topics addressed by the research groups at the Institute.

They will be mentored by a senior researcher and will also have the opportunity to participate in in-house institutional activities during the internship. We offer four grants to carry out research with one of the following groups:

A total of 250 h of research work (minimum of 20 h/week) will be distributed from July to September 2021 upon agreement with the project supervisor at IRB Barcelona.

"Through the Maths4Life Programme, last July I joined the Molecular Modelling and Bioinformatics group led by Dr. Modesto Orozco at IRB. Throughout my summer internship, I worked on studying and modelling DNA correlations. The project was challenging, yet it offered me the chance to develop many skills such as critical thinking, initiative and creativity, which are usually underused at university. The experience allowed me to learn a lot and to see how scientists conduct research in an interdisciplinary environment. Moreover, it was enlightening, as I was able to apply what I learned in university in a real context, not knowing what the outcome would be, for the benefit of the whole scientific community. The results were so promising that I extended my stay and I am still working towards finishing my project during the academic year. With it, I would like to think that have contributed a little bit to this amazing world of science before pursuing my MSc next year."

Kim López Güell
M4L awardee, 2020, Molecular Modelling and Bioinformatics group

"The Maths4Life programme is an invaluable opportunity that allows you to pursue a career in research as an undergraduate student. After being a fellow in the programme in 2018, I repeated the experience the following year and have been involved in subsequent projects of the Molecular Modelling and Bioinformatics group until now. Thanks to this programme, I am now determined to study an MSc in Applied Mathematics with an approach in bioinformatics."

Pablo Romero
M4L awardee, 2018, Molecular Modelling and Bioinformatics group

"My name is Modesto Orozco Ruiz. I studied the double BSc in Chemistry and Physics at the UAB, and I am now completing an MSc in Neural Systems and Computation at ETH Zürich and an MSc in Physics of Complex Systems at the UNED. I joined the Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology group, led by Dr. Aloy, under the Maths4Life Programme during the summer of 2018. It was a wonderful and inspiring experience because I felt really well received by the members of the group and I had the chance to work on a front-line project. Even though the topic was completely new to me, I was closely tutored by the senior researchers of the group and, after a few weeks, I could easily work on my own. As an undergraduate student, it was an incomparable experience in which, for the first time, I had the feeling that all the courses you attend during your education are for a reason and, most importantly, give you the tools to have a direct impact on a cutting-edge research project."

Modesto Orozco Ruiz
M4L awardee, 2018, Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology group

"With Maths4Life I had the chance to join an amazing research group. In this group, I boosted my programming skills, learnt cutting edge algorithms and discovered unexplored research areas that fascinated me. I did not miss the opportunity to carry out the MSc thesis and my PhD there."

Adrià Fernández
M4L awardee, 2017, Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology group. Currently, PhD student at IRB Barcelona

"El programa Maths4Life ha sido mi primera experiencia en el mundo de la investigación, dándome la oportunidad de realizar un proyecto por mí misma y vivir el día a día de un centro como el IRB Barcelona. Poder trabajar y aprender de investigadores de alto nivel ha sido una experiencia única, y estoy segura de que me abrirá muchas puertas en mi futura carrera científica."

Alba Carballo Castro
M4L awardee, 2020, Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology group

"Cuando estaba en el cuarto curso del doble grado de Física y Matemáticas tenías muchas dudas. No sabía si quería dedicarme a la investigación o trabajar en la industria. No sabía si quería seguir formándome en matemáticas más puras y teóricas o aplicadas. El programa Maths4Life fue muy útil para mí porque pude experimentar cómo es trabajar en un grupo de investigación y cuáles son las técnicas que se usan en la investigación en biomedicina, en concreto en el cáncer. Durante mi participación en Maths4Life vi que la investigación biomédica me apasionaba. Me encantaban las técnicas matemáticas que tenía que usar y me motivaba el hecho de estar contribuyendo en mejorar la calidad de vida de la sociedad. A partir de ese momento decidí seguir el camino de las matemáticas aplicadas y cursé un máster en modelización matemática en la University of Oxford. Ahora estoy haciendo un doctorado en el CRG, en Barcelona, investigando sobre la selección del cáncer. Mi participación en Maths4Life fue decisiva en mi trayectoria y estoy muy contenta y agradecida por la oportunidad que se me ofreció."

Claudia Serrano
M4L awardee, 2018, Biomedical Genomics group


Awardees will be hired by IRB Barcelona and will receive a gross amount of €1200 for the training period.


The Maths4Life Programme has been designed to encourage and further the training of young emerging researchers in biomedical research topics.

  • Addressed to students who have completed at least 120 ECTS of a BSc degree in Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Informatics, and related areas by June 2021 and MSc students in the same fields.
  • Sound knowledge of statistics or programming for the field of biology, chemistry or medicine.
  • Good knowledge of English.

Candidates will be selected exclusively on merit, on the basis of academic records, motivation letter, as well as other criteria, such as internationalisation, previous research experience, and letter of reference. No selection criteria for positive or negative discrimination will be applied.

How to apply

Applicants should send the documents listed below to indicating “Maths4Life candidacy” in the subject box before 6 May 2021.


  • 6 April 2021  - Call opening
  • 6 May 2021 - Call deadline and preselection of candidates
  • June 2021  - Notification sent to successful candidates

Summer internships start as of 1st July 2021.

At the end of the internship, each student must prepare a summary report and send it to the IRB Barcelona Academic Office at, as well as to the project supervisor.

Students will also present their research work undertaken during the internship in an open seminar organised for the IRB Barcelona community.

Useful information for applications

  • CV
  • A scanned copy of the student’s certified Academic Record. These documents must show the grades attained in exam periods.
  • Additional certificates, prizes, and recognitions
  • Motivation letter
  • A letter of reference from university lecturers or scientists with whom the student has studied or worked. Only letters with an official letterhead and signature will be accepted.

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

Referees must send their letters directly to IRB Barcelona at: Only letters with an official letterhead and signature will be accepted. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their referees send the letter. Applications not accompanied by this letter will not be eligible. Applicants should submit information wherever possible in English (CV, motivation letter, summary of work experience). If the certified academic record is not in Catalan, Spanish or English, a translation into one of these languages should be provided.