ICFO jobs & fellowships

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Please consult openings for further information on available projects and positions, as well
as for elegibility, conditions, required application material and deadlines.

Dear applicant,

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Job openings

Group Leaders

Post-doctoral Researchers

General Call

ICFO participates with 20 positions, to be awarded between 2017-2019, within the PROBIST postdoctoral fellowship program, a COFUND-action funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754510, coordinated by BIST. The call is currently open for applications, closing November 01, 2017. Further information is available at: http://bist.eu/PROBIST/

Group Opening

Research Engineers


Under- and Postgraduate Students

General Call

The Student Research Fellowships call will be opening for applications in October 2017.

Post-doctoral position in cell biology and biophysics

The Single Molecule Biophotonics (SMB) research group led by Prof. Maria Garcia-Parajo at ICFO is offering several positions at the Master, PhD, and post-doctoral level to work in Cell Biology and Biophysics-related projects under the supervision of Dr. Felix Campelo.

The SMB group is a multidisciplinary group focusing on both the development of advanced optical techniques and their application to the study of a wide range of cellular processes at the nanoscale. The successful candidates will be involved in an interdisciplinary project, with research being conducted at the interface between biology and physics.

PROJECT 1: MULTI-GOLGI: New multidisciplinary approaches to investigate intra-Golgi membrane traffic and the functional role of Golgi-membrane lateral compartmentalization.

The goal of the research project is to bring understanding on how proteins are transported between the different membranes of the Golgi complex and the impact of Golgi membrane organization to its function. In spite of its fundamental importance, it has been challenging to study Golgi membranes us-ing conventional microscopy tools, due to their highly dynamic nature and reduced dimensions. As a result, after so many years of research in the field, a clear understanding of the how proteins are transported between the different membranes of the Golgi complex is still lacking

The successful candidate will investigate the mechanisms by which secretory cargoes are processed and transported along the Golgi complex. To reach this goal, we will use a unique multidisciplinary approach combining state-of-the-art molecular and cell biological tools with biophysical modeling. Moreover, the candidate will be exposed to advanced imaging techniques, including super-resolution microscopy and single molecule approaches. The project will be carried out in collaboration with worldwide leading groups in cell biology and biophysics, offering the successful candidate the opportunity to benefit by a multidisciplinary and international environment.

PROJECT 2: ENLIGHTENING TANGO: Unraveling the biophysical mechanisms of collagen export from the endoplasmic reticulum.

Collagens are the main secreted proteins in mammals, constituting about 25% of our total dry body weight. Collagens, like all conventionally secreted proteins, are synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), from where they travel along the secretory pathway for secretion. However, conventional COPII vesicles, exporting proteins from the ER have a well-defined size of about 60-90 nm in diameter, where-as collagens can reach 450 nm in length and are virtually unbendable. Hence, a fundamental, but yet unresolved, issue in the field is the mechanism of collagen export from the ER and their subsequent transport along the secretory pathway.

The goal of this project is to unravel the biophysical mechanisms by which large cargoes, such as col-lagens, are exported from the ER. In collaboration with the lab of Prof. Vivek Malhotra at the CRG, Barcelona, we will merge molecular and cell biology techniques with cutting-edge optical nanoscopy (such as 3D STORM imaging, intracellular single particle tracking) and theoretical biophysics into a unique multidisciplinary approach that will deliver the first structural, dynamic and physical understand-ing of the pathways involved in collagen secretion.

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Both, physicists eager to work in fundamentally important cell biology problems hand-by-hand with biologists, as well as biologists keen to be part of a multidisciplinary team of biologists and physi-cists are very much encouraged to apply.

Candidates must hold an internationally recognized eligible degree (or evidence of its completion in the nearest future) preferably in cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, physics, chemistry or related areas.

The candidate should have a proven track record of academic excellence. Positively valued will be experience in cell biology, light microscopy and computer programming (e.g. ImageJ, Matlab).

No restrictions of citizenship apply to the ICFO positions. Female scientists are encouraged to apply.

The formal application should be submitted online. Candidates are also requested to submit a copy of their application material (detailed below) by email to felix.campelo@icfo.eu and maria.garcia-parajo@icfo.eu.

Suitable candidates are requested to submit:
- Presentation letter with a declaration of interest,
- Curriculum Vitae, including contact details,
- A copy of your academic degree and transcripts, in English,
- The contact e-mail of two potential referees.

Please note that candidates should be willing to be contacted by phone during the entire selection process.

Candidates may contact jobs@icfo.eu for informal inquiries regarding the application, as well as address scientific inquiries to felix.campelo@icfo.eu and maria.garcia-parajo@icfo.eu.

The call will remain open until suitable candidates are identified.

Until positions are filled.

Identify your interests

As your career goals and research interests are an integral part of the selection procedure itself, apart from the ICFOjobs site, we encourage you to browse ICFO’s corporate website to learn more about ICFO’s research activities and to identify the projects and/or areas that best match your background. We also recommend that you visit Careers @ ICFO. A clear indication of your interests and goals in your presentation letter will help us in reviewing your candidacy.

Did you identify an opening meeting your interest and career goals? Then, we are looking forward to your application!

Should there be no opening matching your interest or background, please contact us at jobs@icfo.eu.

The application process

If you have identified an opening matching your interests, please read carefully the information about requirements, conditions and necessary application material and start the application process. Candidatures should be submitted online via ICFOjobs, our online application interface, in a 2-step procedure:

  1. Registration:
    The button 'Apply to this opening' takes you to the online application form, gathering your personal data for identification purposes. Once submitted, you will receive a link by e-mail, which you must follow in order to continue the application process.
  2. Application:
    In this second step of the process you will be asked to provide further details and the necessary application material, as well as to indicate potential referees. All enclosed documentation must be in PDF format or plain text.

Once the application form is complete and the relevant material has been uploaded, submit your candidature by clicking on the ‘apply’ button. Candidates will receive an automatic reply acknowledging submission including a reference number for further enquiries or updates (within deadline).

By submitting an application, you grant ICFO permission to use the provided data for the recruiting process. (see Data Protection Policy)

The review process

Applications will first be reviewed to assure that they meet the requirements and conditions as indicated in the job opening. Candidatures will then be evaluated by a scientific and expert selection committee, focussing on the previous experience and background of the applicant. Selection is based on merit and potential, measured in terms of the academic record and personal achievements.

ICFO will notify candidates who are selected to pass to the next stage in the review process, establishing a direct contact with the considering Group Leader(s). Candidates who do not pass the first step of the review process will be notified of the outcome of their application at this time.

Reference letters play an important role in supporting the candidate in the review process. Depending on the call, reference letters must either be submitted directly to ICFO by the referees upon request by the candidate, or submitted upon request by ICFO's recruiting staff. The members of the selection committee will have access to reference letters.

Candidates may be contacted by phone during the selection process. Likewise, on-site interviews may be scheduled.

ICFO will abide 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. Persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. No restrictions of citizenship or gender apply to ICFO positions.

Notification of results

All candidates will be notified of the outcome of their application. Possible results are:

  1. Rejection:
    The selection committee reaches the conclusion that the background of other candidate(s) appears to be more suitable for the position.
  2. Waiting list:
    Candidate(s) may be placed on a waiting list based on the shortlist proposed by the selection committee. Candidate(s) on this list may receive an offer in the event that the top-candidate does not accept the position. Waiting list candidates will receive a final decision as soon as the top-candidate confirms acceptance.
  3. Acceptance / offer:
    ICFO extends an official offer, asking the selected candidate for formal confirmation of acceptance.

The selection process is completed as soon as the candidate confirms acceptance of the offered position and a tentative starting date has been agreed.

After acceptance @ ICFO

Staff of the ICFO Human Resources and Education Unit assist new ICFO members with the following procedures:

  • Support with administrative and legal matters related to arriving and settling in, including immigration formalities (Visa application process, etc.) and personal assistance in relocation.
  • Particularly for PhD-students: Information and advice on the necessary academic documentation to be gathered and submitted for enrolment in the PhD in Photonics program, including information about how to legalize previous studies (e.g. BSc, MSc, etc.) whenever necessary, as well as registration to the doctorate program and academic planning.

ICFO’s applicant database

The applicant database and all applications received through ICFOjobs, are managed by the staff of ICFO’s Human Resources and Education Unit. All information is handled with due confidentiality and solely for the purpose mentioned, and will be made available to the members of the selection committee in so far as they are necessary for the management of the process.

Do I have to submit my application exclusively online or may I also submit a hard copy?

ICFO only accepts applications submitted online via the ICFOjobs interface. As an exception, and only in case of force-majeure problems with electronic submission, candidates may submit their application in hard copy within the deadline.

Is it possible to apply for more than one opening? May I apply even if I have been considered for an ICFO opening in the past (i.e., re-application)?


Do I receive a confirmation acknowledging reception of my application?


Is it possible to update my personal data or application material? Likewise, will I be able to delete my application (and therefore all personal data)?

In the first step of application, through the online application form, you will have to provide your personal data including your contact e-mail. Once submitted, you will receive an acknowledging e-mail, containing an application number and a link which you have to follow in order to continue with the procedure (submission of application material, etc.). Via the link you receive by e-mail, you will also be able to update your data and application material (within the established deadlines) or even to withdraw your application.

In case of questions - whom shall I contact for help in submitting my application?

Please contact the recruiting staff of ICFO’s Human Resources at jobs@icfo.eu. Should you have already submitted an application online, please do not forget to indicate your application number(s), as well as the name of the opening.

Particularly for PhD- and Postdoctoral openings: Is it possible to apply even if I have not yet finished the minimum academic qualification required?

Yes, unless the call explicitly indicates otherwise. In general, candidates should hold an internationally-recognized degree or evidence of its completion before the prospective starting date.

Applications need to be supported by reference letters. How should these be submitted?

For exact details on how to proceed with reference letters, please check the specific opening you are applying for. In general, you will be requested to indicate name, institution, contact data, and relationship in the last part of the online application form. Depending on the opening, either the ICFO recruiting staff will contact your referees for their assessment, or you will be instructed to ask your referees to submit their reference letters electronically via the online application form or e-mail (jobs@icfo.eu). Candidates should by no means submit a reference letter in support of their own candidature on behalf of their referees.

Submission of academic transcripts and degrees?

The required documentation to be submitted for application is indicated in the ‘application process’ of each opening. In general, ICFO will ask that you provide a copy of your most recent academic degree certificate. Additionally, and particularly for fellowships and internship positions, ICFO will also need you to submit scanned copies of your academic transcripts (current and previous studies). The academic transcripts contain the list of courses, including the credits and marks obtained. Provisional degree certificates are generally accepted by ICFO.

The application form requires the indication of my GPA – what shall I indicate?

GPA stands for Grade Point Average. Apart from other criteria, selection for ICFO positions, above all for fellowships and internships, is measured in terms of the academic performance. In this regard, ICFO needs an indication of the average of your final overall grade obtained in your studies, or the overall qualification obtained in your PhD-studies (for applicants with a PhD-degree).

Retrieve your application


You can write an email to Human Resources and Education at ICFO.


No vacancies matching your profile?

In the event that there are no published vacancies matching your academic or professional background, you may contact us at jobs@icfo.eu.

Data Protection Statement

In accordance with Spanish Law 15/1999 of December 13, on the protection of personal data, we hereby inform you that personal data you provided as part of the selection process established at ICFO – THE INSTITUTE OF PHOTONIC SCIENCES (ICFO) in which you are participating, or may participate in the future, will be handled by ICFO aiming at accomplishing the selection process.

Said information will be handled with due confidentiality and solely for the purpose mentioned, and may be provided to those entities or persons associated to ICFO in the context of the selection process, and only as far as strictly necessary for the management of the process.