International PhD Scholarships at la Caixa CNIO Foundation

In 2008 “la Caixa” Foundation launched a scholarship programme to offer interdisciplinary training and research opportunities to outstanding young graduate students of any nationality to pursue a PhD project at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO).

The “la Caixa”/CNIO international PhD programme offers cross-disciplinary training in state-of-the-art basic and applied cancer research within an international scientific environment. Ten fully funded four year fellowships will be available in 2012. Candidates should have an excellent academic track record, a solid knowledge of English and previous research experience.

Students who gain a place in this new programme obtain full financial support during the four years of the scholarship.


  • 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.
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  • 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.
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Application must be submitted exclusively through the web site. A link to the online application form can be found at official website. The application form must be completeLinkd 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 15 th, 2012).
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Applications must be received by March 15th, 2012.

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

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