PhD Scholarships, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Spain

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PhD Scholarships, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Spain

During 2012, the Fundación “la Caixa” will provide support for ten highly qualified graduate students to carry out their experimental work towards obtaining a PhD degree at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO; Spanish National Cancer Research Centre) within an International PhD Programme.

In the context of this “la Caixa”/CNIO International PhD Programme, we are seeking exceptional and highly motivated PhD students interested in receiving ample cross-disciplinary training in state-of-the-art basic and applied cancer research.


  • This call is open to applicants from all nationalities.
  • Students holding a university degree (BSc, MSc, Diploma, DEA, Licenciatura, Laurea or equivalent) in biomedical sciences, or who expect to be awarded with such qualification during the first half of 2012, are eligible to apply to the Programme. This university degree should qualify for the start of a PhD thesis in the student’s home country. Non-European university degrees should be equivalent to a European diploma or degree.
  • Studies should have been completed no more than two years ago.
  • Applicants must have an excellent academic record and previous research experience during their undergraduate period.
  • Candidates must have a solid working knowledge of English.
  • Co-authorship of publications in MedLine-listed journals will be positively considered.
  • Participation in the CNIO Summer training programme will be positively evaluated.
  • Individuals may not have worked at the CNIO, at any time, for more than three months before being hired as part of the “la Caixa”/CNIO International PhD Programme. The earliest date of incorporation into the Programme is September 1st of each year.
  • The upper age limit for eligibility is 30 years.

Applicants having doubts about their eligibility should contact the Training Office ([email protected]) prior to submitting their application.


  • Students who gain a place in our PhD programme will obtain full financial support, including tuition, regardless of nationality. During the first two years, students will receive a total annual gross stipend of 17,165 Euros plus an annual allowance of 1,500 Euros to cover miscellaneous expenses, such as university fees, expenses derived from international congress attendance and/or stays in international research centres. During the third and fourth year, the graduate students will receive an employment contract with a gross annual salary of 25,430 Euros (depending on marital status, children, etc., this salary corresponds to a net income of approximately 1,615 Euros/month) plus a onetime annual allowance of 1,700 Euros. This employment contract will be prepared in accordance to Spanish laws and regulations, and employees will be included in the general Spanish Social Security System.
  • Monthly rates of the fellowship will be paid at the end of each month through a bank transfer to a Spanish bank account.
  • The fellowships will be awarded on a competitive basis and will be renewable annually for up to four years, depending on a positive evaluation by the supervisor.
  • All students will receive full health and occupational insurance coverage.
  • Graduate students will also be entitled to social benefits such as holidays, subsidized meals and aids for studying Spanish or English.
  • Doctoral students at CNIO usually have their doctoral degree awarded by a Madrid university. However, international PhD students may also choose to have their doctoral degree awarded by a university of their home country.
  • During the duration of the fellowship the students must devote themselves entirely to research at CNIO and may not be beneficiaries of any other fellowship, grant, stipend or regular income.
  • This fellowship does not imply any obligation of CNIO regarding further incorporation of the employee.
  • Expenses associated with the interview: applicants invited to Madrid for interviews will be provided with a return flight ticket and overnight accommodation. All bookings will be directly handled by the CNIO.
  • This programme will fund only one PhD student per group per year.

The deadline for the receipt of complete applications (including reference letters) will be March 15th, 2012.
All candidates must be selected by the end of July 2012.
Fellowships must be started in September-October 2012. The PhD thesis has to be completed within 4 years, without exceptions.

Application must be submitted exclusively through the web site. A link to the online application form can be found at The application form must be completed in English.

In the online application process you will be asked to enter your personal data, information regarding your education, your scientific interests and names/contact details of two referees. Moreover, you will be asked to upload all required documents, including your CV and academic certificates. We advise you to prepare all texts (motivation letter, list of publications, etc.) in a text processor and paste them into the application form.

  • In the application form we would suggest you to select, in order of preference, a maximum of three research groups from the list of CNIO groups that are accepting applications in the call. These groups belong to six of the Research Programmes at the CNIO: Molecular Oncology, Structural Biology and Biocomputing, BBVA Foundation – CNIO Cancer Cell Biology, Molecular Pathology, Human Cancer Genetics and Clinical Research. Summaries of their research interests and lists of publications can be found in the CNIO’s 2010 Scientific Report. The Selection Committee will assign successful students to the different research groups at the end of the interview process.
  • Use the “publications” text box to include all of your publications (if any). Publications should include the complete title and list of authors (as published) in PubMed format.
  • Use the “motivation letter” text box to outline your research interests as well as your skills and knowledge. Also state the reasons why you would like to do your PhD at the CNIO.
  • Use the “additional information and comments” text box to include any additional information you consider relevant and you have not provided elsewhere. Also, use this space to make any comment you may have.
  • In the application form you will have to give the names and email addresses of two scientists who will write letter of reference on your behalf. You will have to download the “reference letter” form from the web site and send it to two people who have agreed to act as referees on your behalf. Your two referees must submit their scanned signed letters of recommendation directly to [email protected]. Alternatively, letters may be also faxed to +34-912246980, to the Training Office. It is your responsibility to ensure that all reference letters are sent to CNIO before the deadline (March 15th, 2012).
  • After you have filled out all the required fields on the online application form you will be asked to upload a file containing your CV. You will also be asked to upload an official transcript of records, i.e. your academic certificates.
  • All files are preferred in pdf format; doc and rtf formats are also accepted (size below 1MB).

After having entered all required information you can submit your application by pressing the “Submit” button. After submission you will receive an automatic e-mail confirmation acknowledging receipt. However, remember that your application will not be considered complete and will not be reviewed until all reference letters have been received.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Only one application per candidate will be accepted. If more than one application is received from the same candidate, only the last one will be considered as valid.

For more information, or if you have any question about this application, please e-mail [email protected]

Admission to the programme is on a competitive basis. All applications are evaluated solely on the basis of academic qualifications and scientific potential.

Applications will be screened initially by the CNIO’s Training Office to ensure that they are complete and eligible. All eligible applications will be reviewed by an ad hoc Selection Committee, formed by CNIO faculty members, which will evaluate candidates based on the following criteria:

  • The candidate’s academic merit and potential for successful research while at the CNIO, as evidenced by their qualifications and grades, and previous research experience.
  • The information given by the candidate on the application form, and in particular the motivation letter.
  • Recommendation letters.

The Selection Committee will consider all the applications and select a number of candidates to visit the CNIO in Madrid where they will be interviewed by potential supervisors and discuss their research interests. Interviews are tentatively scheduled to take place on May 21-23, 2012. Applicants should be prepared to travel to Spain at that time. Failure to participate in the interview process will disqualify the applicant for being considered for a position. Original documents, such as original academic certificates and diplomas, or certified translations, will have to be presented at this time.

Shortlisted candidates will be selected by the Selection Committee on the basis of this personal interview. Candidates may be allocated to a research group different from that selected by the applicant at the discretion of the Selection Committee. The final selection of candidates requires approval by the Direction of the CNIO.

Applicants will be notified of the Selection Committee’s final decision by e-mail and the list of successful candidates will be published on the CNIO’s web site.

Successful candidates are requested to inform CNIO whether they accept or decline the offer within 2 weeks after being notified. The offer is considered declined if the applicant does not respond during this time.

To stay in Spain, foreign students from non-EU countries need a residence permit or a student visa. The Training Office will provide administrative support in visa formalities to such students.

For more information, please visit official website.

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