Maria Yzuel Fellowship Awards– Up to 4 PhD fellowships co-financed between ICFO and the ENLIGHTEN MSCA program

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ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences
19 January, 2020


Carl Friedrich Gauss, 3
Castelldefels 08860



The Maria Yzuel Fellowship Awards aims to attract outstanding, talented women to undertake an ambitious research project with an ICFO research group and launch an exciting career in frontier research.


The current call offers up to 4 PhD-fellowships for outstanding, talented female graduate students who wish to obtain a doctoral degree in any of the research topics covered at ICFO.

Our PhD-program brings together top-level training and teaching for young scientists, benefiting from the extensive course offerings of local universities and focused instruction by ICFO professors, in a stimulating, international and interdisciplinary environment. PhD-students benefit from outstanding facilities, extensive training and career development opportunities and a broad international network of academic and industrial partners.


Our International PhD Fellowship Program welcomes applications from candidates with a degree in a field of science and engineering related to the ICFO research activities.


Fellowships will be offered across all ICFO research groups in research topics including:


-  Biophysics & Biomedical Optics

-  Optical Sensing, Optoelectronics & Photovoltaics

-  Nonlinear Optics, Ultrafast Optics & Atto-Physics

-  Nanophotonics, Optomechanics & Nanomechanics

-  Experimental Quantum Optics & Quantum Information

-  Theoretical Nanophotonics, Quantum Optics & Quantum Information


Please, browse our website for details about ICFO Research Groups and Group Leader at In the group profile, you will also see specific available PhD-projects in that particular group (application should be formalized through this present general call with the corresponding selection process applicable). If you are interested in discussing possible research topics, please contact ICFO Group Leaders directly.


Important: During your application, you will be requested to indicate the research group(s) you are interested in accomplishing your PhD with.


The fellowships are offered in the scope of the fellowship programme currently active within the ICFO International PhD Programme:


- ENLIGHTEN a Marie Sklowdowska-Curie-COFUND action under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (GA 847517).


In addition, internal ICFO PhD group positions might become available, for which we may retain candidates applying to this present call that may be reviewed periodically.




To be eligible for an ICFO PhD position, candidates must:


-  Have an internationally-recognized Master-equivalent degree. The degree must be completed by the start of your prospective PhD at ICFO, at the latest, and must be in a field of science and engineering related to the ICFO research activities. Degrees issued within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) must have an equivalent to 300 ECTS, out of which a minimum of 60 ECTS must have been obtained in postgraduate studies. Candidates who have already been awarded a PhD are not eligible to apply. Please, if in doubt regarding your academic eligibility, contact us at jobs [at] icfo [dot] eu 


-  Have an excellent academic record, previous research experience and a strong commitment for scientific research.


-  Have a high working knowledge of English.


Additionally, candidates for the ENLIGHTEN positions must comply with the following EU-rules by the time of activation of the COFUND-PhD:


- Candidates should not have resided in Spain form more than 12 of the last 36 months.

- The Master-equivalent degree should not be older than 4 years. Exceptions are made for documented periods of parental leave. Other equivalent exceptions may be considered when properly documented and motivated by the applicant, e.g. in case of applicants from underdeveloped countries, minorities, or for applicants that pursued their studies un-der comparatively unfavorable conditions.


ICFO is an equal employment opportunity employer. Candidates are selected exclusively on merit and potential on the basis of submitted application material. No restrictions of persons with disabilities, citizenship or gender apply to ICFO positions. ICFO abides by the principles of openness, efficiency, transparency, supportiveness, and international comparability as stated in the European Charter for Researchers and the European Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.


The conditions of the positions awarded in the scope of the ICFO International PhD fellowship program are as follows:


-  Initial contract for a period of 6 months, while being pre-admitted to the PhD program, with an explicit follow-up/ renewal procedure at the end of this first stage. During this period, students already take part in the ICFO working environment, join a research group, and work with their supervisor to define a research project.


-  After this initial period, students are formally enrolled in the PhD Program, and the full PhD Fellowship activated. Fellowships are offered for periods of three years, renewable for an additional fourth year, and are formalized via a PhD-contract. Continuity and renewal are subject to satisfactory performance in the PhD studies and related research activities, evaluated annually by the Thesis Director and the ICFO PhD Committee.


-  Selected candidates shall start ideally between April and June 2020.


-  All ICFO fellowships include medical care coverage and work accident insurance through the Spanish Social Security system, providing access to the Spanish public health care system.


-  ENLIGHTEN Fellows receive the salary stipulated by the COFUND program of the European Commission.




The formal application should be submitted online via


To apply, suitable candidates are requested to submit (in English) online the following material:


-  A Cover Letter  with declaration of research interests, as well as specific indication of ICFO research group of interest,

-  A Curriculum Vitae, including contact details,

- Scanned copies of the complete (Bachelor and Master equivalent) official academic transcripts  in English or Spanish,

-  Scanned copies of the degree certificates, if available at the time of application,

-  If available, scanned copy of standardized test results (GRE, TOEFL, etc.). Note that submission of test results is optional, but they can be particularly helpful for evaluating candidates with degrees obtained outside the European Higher Education Area.

-  The names and contact details of 2 referees. IMPORTANT: These referees will be automatically contacted by ICFO requesting them to complete a standardized evaluation form and submit a letter of support for the candidates one week of the application deadline. When they do so, the applicant will receive an email confirming that the corresponding reference letter has been submitted.


All required application material, including letters of reference, must be complete and submitted by deadline in order for the application to be considered.


The deadline for submission of applications for the present call is January 19, 2020and the deadline for referees to submit the reference letters is January 23, 2020.




In a first step of the selection procedure, applications will be assessed by the selection committee based on merit and potential, measured in terms of the academic record and personal achievements. Academic excellence is a must. Pro-activity, participation in community activities, and capacity for team-work are also taken into account.


Applicants will be notified the results of the first evaluation stage by mid February 2020.


In the second step of the selection procedure, shortlisted candidates will receive invitations to visit ICFO for personal interviews with the selection committee and ICFO Group/Team Leaders, planned to take place by mid March 2020.


Note: If you are from a country with visa-obligations for Spain, please be advised to already inquire (only inquire) regarding the documentation necessary (usually inviting letter ICFO, plus travel and accommodation bookings) and the potential appointment-situation at the local Spanish Embassy/ visa-office.


The final list with candidates recommended for fellowship concession, as well as reserve candidates, will be available by the end of March 2020. Being the last condition that shortlisted candidates find a hosting group at ICFO, candidates are then asked to contact the Group Leader(s) of choice to negotiate directly a potential PhD in their group, on a fellowship. Candidates and Group Leader should confirm within one week whether an agreement has been reached. Candidates without a match cannot be confirmed the fellowship.


A dedicated, external and independent Appeals Panel will be established to rule on the outcome of appeals from the applicants.

At all stages of the process, candidates may contact ICFO Human Resources and Education via jobs [at] icfo [dot] eu; for complete information about the PhD Admissions process at ICFO, please see


Candidates applying for this call are invited to apply to the upcoming ICFO International PhD Spring Call 2020. The ICFO International PhD Spring Call 2020 will be launched by the beginning of January 2020.


Deadline: 2020-01-19