IRB Barcelona International PhD Fellowships 2019

For the 2019-2020 academic year, IRB Barcelona is offering up to 14 PhD fellowships for young scientists from the national and international community who wish to undertake a doctoral degree in biomedicine. We encourage applications from highly motivated graduates with outstanding qualifications in biology, biochemistry, physics, pharmacology, computational biology or related fields. Successful candidates will join research groups headed by top-level scientists and will carry out their research in cutting-edge fields of biomedicine in a stimulating environment.

For this call the following grants will be offered:

  • 4 fellowships through the “Contratos predoctorales Severo-Ochoa para la Formación de doctores” 2018 call funded by the MINECO (“Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad”). (herein referred to as Severo Ochoa Grants).
  • Up to 9 fellowships associated with the “Proyectos I+D Excelencia/Retos” 2017 Call funded by MINECO (herein referred to as FPI-project Grants).
  • 1 fellowship through the "Innovative Training Network - HealthAge" (herein referred to as ITN Grants) (Serrano's Lab). Candidates for this position must undertake trans-national mobility, which means that 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 call.

hr excellence logo excelencia severo ochoa


Call closed

  1. The programme is aimed at students who have completed one of the following options:
    • a) the studies that lead to an official Spanish (or from another country of the European Higher Education Area) university degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Physics, Medicine, Chemistry or related fields and that have 300 credits (ECTS), 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 gives access to doctoral studies in Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Physics, Medicine, Chemistry or related fields.
  2. Candidates are selected exclusively on merit, on the basis of their curricula. The academic grades and curriculum of each applicant are evaluated, as well as recommendation letters and a motivation letter. No selection criteria for positive or negative discrimination are applied.

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

Applicants will be asked to upload 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. Candidates are responsible for ensuring that referees submit these letters. Applications not supported by these letters will not be eligible.

Please indicate the Programme(s) to which you wish to apply (maximum of 2) and also indicate in the motivation letter if you are interested in a particular subfield. 


  • Aging and Metabolism
  • Mechanisms of Disease
  • Cancer Science 


  • Structural Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computational Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biomedicine
  • Development 

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

Applicants should submit information 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 translation in one of the above mentioned languages.

For more information, please, contact

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 and members of the IRB Barcelona PhD Advisory Committee. Short-listed candidates will receive invitations to visit IRB Barcelona for interviews during April  2019. Travel expenses will be reimbursed 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 2, 2019.

Applicants who have not been successful but who have received a positive evaluation will be put on a waiting list to cover possible renunciations and future positions. 

Call opening: 21 December 2018

Deadline for candidacies: 24 January 2019

Deadline extended: 31 January 2019

Pre-selection of candidates: By the end of February 2019

Interviews at IRB Barcelona: 1 and 2 April 2019

Notification to candidates: End April 2019

Start date of fellowships: September 2019


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