BIST Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme

PROBIST is a post-doctoral fellowship Programme led by the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology. Altogether, 61 fellowships will be awarded and implemented in top research in the Barcelona and Tarragona area (Spain).

Current call open October 2 – November 26, 2018

BIST brings closer together seven independent Catalan internationally recognized research centres. The centres participating in the PROBIST programme are:

• The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)
• Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ)
• Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)
• Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE)
• Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

Also affiliated to BIST, but not directly participating in PROBIST, are:

• Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG)
• Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC)

PROBIST applicants will have complete research freedom. Applicants may subscribe to one or several generic research topics published with the calls. Once pre-selected they may design their research project proposal with a research group of their choice in the participating BIST centres. Successful candidates will be hosted by the selected research group. They will have full access to facilities, seminars and training programmes of the BIST centres. Networking activities shall facilitate inter-centre and inter-disciplinary exchange and collaborations. PROBIST will offer fellows the opportunity to opt for secondments from a pool of international institutions with which BIST centres have institutional agreements or collaborations.

The fellowships are granted for 3 years including:

• An annual gross salary of 36.000€ plus a single payment of 1.500€ relocation support (Spanish tax and social security deductions apply),
• Close mentoring and supervision through prestigious senior researchers,
• A personalized career development plan,
• A training programme for scientific and transferable skills.

PROBIST fellows will receive training in leadership and entrepreneurial skills and technology transfer issues, such as industrial and intellectual property, industrial collaborations, spin-off development, and other related subjects. BIST offers “Science to Business” courses with the goal to raise awareness of business opportunities and also to accelerate the transfer of technologies developed at the BIST centres to the market.

PROBIST counts with an important number of active collaboration R&D with local and international companies and research institutions. Several BIST centres are also closely associated with major research hospitals in the Barcelona area. BIST has also established extensive collaboration agreements with major technology centres in Catalonia. PROBIST fellows will be encouraged to undertake visits and short-term stays and secondments with these partners whenever relevant to their field of research.

Each BIST centre offers an internationally renowned, attractive research environment, complemented by a range of training activities that will help highly qualified young scientists to develop the skills necessary for a successful career. The high interdisciplinary nature of BIST makes it an excellent setting for fellows to access an extensive offer of scientific seminars, courses and workshops.

PROBIST fellows will be able to participate in a number of existing programmes, including:

• Seminar programmes of the BIST centres
• Researcher exchange and networking programmes with key academic partners and including international conferences and workshops organised by BIST centres.

In its effort to establish an outstanding long-term training programme, BIST is planning a variety of training initiatives for postdocs to support them in the different stages of their career development, by exploring the different options for becoming successful leading scientist. Along this process, fellows should acquire responsibility in conducting their own research project in a highly competitive environment (effective research, leadership skills, strategic thinking, ethical research responsibility, technical workshops), and awareness and responsibility for their own career progression.

BIST is aware that training the scientific leaders of the future involves providing them with tools and aptitudes on transferable skills which will allow them to excel in both the academic and industrial worlds. The European Charter for Researchers requires that “all researchers … are given the opportunity for professional development and for improving their employability through access to measures for the continuing development of skills and competencies”. In this regard, PROBIST will offer courses and seminars specifically designed to foster these abilities.

The actions included in the programme are focused on:
1) training in leadership skills;
2) offering opportunities to assume responsibility;
3) offering tools to be active in own career progression plan.

One of the main objectives of PROBIST is to provide high quality supervision offering:

• Targeted mentoring and access to a wide variety of scientific activities, services, and networks.
• Have close mentoring: The PROBIST research project chosen and performed by the fellow will be under the supervision of the group leader, who at the same time will be shaping, together with the fellow, a personalized career development plan (PCDP). The goal of this plan will be to develop and foster the individual competences of the fellow.

Eligibility Criteria

To be admitted to the review process, candidates must comply with the following eligibility criteria:

• Mobility: To have not spent more than 12 months of the prior 36 months in Spain, at the time of the call deadline (November 26th, 2018)

• PhD date certificate: PhD certificate should be obtained before your incorporation at the research centre, at maximum May 1st 2019. If you have not obtained your PhD at the time to submit your application, please indicate the likely date and provide documental evidence that you will obtain it.

• Publication as first author: To have at least one publication as main author (either accepted or published) in an international reputed journal at the time of the deadline.

• Letters of reference: To have submitted two reference letters at the time of the deadline

• PhD degree: Having not been awarded your PhD degree more than 5 years, at the time of recruitment. Exceptions are made for documented periods of parental leave or serious illness. Other equivalent exceptions may be considered when properly documented and motivated by the applicant, e.g, in case of candidates from underdeveloped countries, minorities, and for applicants that pursued their studies under comparatively unfavourable conditions. Please provide evidence when you apply (for instance uploading additional documentation).

Evaluation & Selection

The evaluation of eligible candidates will be carried out by an external, independent selection panel. The evaluation will be objective, independent, and free of conflicts of interest. The selection will be based on merits, equal opportunities and freedom of choice of research.

Please, kindly note that you can select up to 3 topics in preference order on the online application form (from the same or different host centres) but you will only be evaluated by the review panel related to the centre hosting the topic you select as 1st choice.

The review procedure will be carried out in various steps:

Review Step 1: The selection panel is reviewing the documentation submitted with the application. The general suitability for PROBIST will be evaluated (review step 1) and pre-selected candidates will be invited to prepare a research proposal with the groups they want to be hosted at. A research proposal that is submitted needs to have the hosting commitment by the corresponding Group Leader. Presenting a research proposal is a requirement for being invited to the next review step (interview).

The evaluation criteria to be applied to review 1 are:

• Scientific achievements: results, previous research experience and skills, scientific results, awards, intersectoral and international links etc. (50%)
• References: referees’ evaluation, referees’ experience (25%)
• Motivation and potential impact on the candidate’s career (25%)

Only candidates with an initial evaluation of 50% or higher are considered “pre-selected” and shall pass to the next step.

Review Step 2: The selection panel will review the research proposals and interview the pre-selected candidates. The selection panel will make the decision on awardees, reserve list and rejected candidatures. Selected candidates (awardees) will be offered the grant. Rejected offers may be offered to candidates from the reserve list.

The evaluation criteria to be applied to review 2 are:
• Scientific achievements (40%): assessed based on application material and panel interview: scientific results, references, previous research experience and skills, as well as fellowships and awards that had been obtained in the past.
• Scientific merit of the research proposal (30%): Scientific quality and originality of the proposal.
• Impact on the candidate’s career development and prospective, as well as strategic relevance (30%): increased learning curve of the candidate; expose to new ideas and areas; interaction with different groups and centres, internationalization strategy, tech transfer (where applicable), etc.

Intended re-integration of scientists after a career break is encouraged. Equal opportunities is a principle for the selection process. BIST and the participating centres aim at equal gender balance and pay special attention to candidatures coming from unfavourable conditions.

Due to the large amount of applications received in previous calls, only applicants passing to subsequent evaluation steps will be informed on the progress at all stages of the process. The candidates being interviewed will receive an evaluation report for their candidature should they request it. The default means for communication is e-mail through fellows@bist.eu.

Submitting an Application

Preparing an application

The on-line submission platform for the first call will be open from October 2nd, 2018. The deadline for the submission of applications is November 26, 2018 at noon (CET).

Please check the specific call parameters for detailed timelines and research topics.

Before start applying, please carefully read the below instructions.

Start your application now

Applications checklist for the initial submission:
By the deadline, the following documentation and information needs to be presented to be eligible:

1. Application form on personal data (online form to be filled in)

• Basic personal data and contact information

2. Application form on background (online form to be filled in)

• Specific background information on PhD title, previous works, results, awards, etc.
• Upload of the PhD certificate or substituting document issued by the corresponding University or evidence on expected date for submission.
• Indication of the preferred research topics (up to 3 topic in preference order)
• Indication of 2 reference persons who endorse your candidature
• Additional information relevant for the application and the eligibility, if applicable

3. Letter of motivation (document upload)

• The cover letter addresses research interests and motivation for the application, as well as the applicant’s background and suitability for the fellowship.

4. Curriculum Vitae (document upload)

• Applicants should indicate their scientific and professional trajectory and include information on publications, awards or other scientific merits. Candidates with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career steps are welcome to apply.

Applications cannot be updated after the submission. Only complete applications are eligible.

After the deadline, applicants will be checked for eligibility. Non-eligible applicants will be rejected. The eligible candidates will be reviewed by the selection panel. Suitable candidates will be invited to present a research proposal with the group(s) of their choice for the second review stage (pre-selected candidates).

Requirements for the second review stage

The pre-selected candidates will receive the group leader’s contact details of the research groups of their interest. They are given 3 weeks to prepare a 2 page research proposal with the group. Candidates whose research proposals pose ethical concerns must indicate this in their proposal. In any case an ‘Ethical Issues Form’ needs to be filled in and uploaded on the submission platform as part of the application. A research proposal that is finally submitted needs to have the hosting commitment of the corresponding group leader, in case of being finally selected. Presenting a proposal is a requirement for being invited to an interview.

The pre-selected candidates who have presented a valid research proposal will then be invited to an interview at the centre(s) where they have obtained a hosting commitment. The dates for the interview are published in the call information when the call is opened. Interviews should be on-site but can be remote if constraints exist. The focus will be on:

• The candidates’ presentations of an executive summary of their background and research experience so far,
• Their justification of motivation for applying to the fellowship, as well as the expected impact it would have on their career prospective,
• The candidates’ presentations of the research proposal.

As a tentative schedule, the interview will last 20 minutes plus 15 minutes of questions and answers.

Successful candidates will be awarded the fellowship or put onto a reserve list according to a shortlist created by the selection panel. Candidates not passing the 70% evaluation threshold will be rejected. Rejected candidates have the right to appeal in justified cases, like evidence of bias or conflict of interest by evaluators, evidence of failure to have reasonably followed the published evaluation procedure, factual errors by evaluators that have substantially altered the outcome of evaluation.

Awardees will be offered the fellowship that they would need to accept or reject within 1 week after the offer. Accepting the offer will start the incorporation process.

All personal data will be treated confidentially.

Start your application now

After Application

Redress procedure
In case you consider it necessary to redress the evaluation result, please direct your request through our contact form on www.bist.eu/probist indicating the programme (PROBIST) and the call deadline. Please state clearly the reasons for your redress. Only justified requests that indicate serious doubts with complying the principles applicable to the evaluation and selection procedure can be taken into account and evaluated.

Incorporation 
Accepting the offer of the grant will start the incorporation process.

Requirements for starting your fellowship, in case of being selected:
• You will have to take care of obtaining Visa, work permit and the Spanish Social Security number. You will also need to register residency in Spain in order to obtain the necessary tax number. Your future host organization will provide support and orientation where possible.
• Sign a work contract with the host centre. The place of work will be at the host centre. The usual working conditions of the host apply to your fellowship.

Living and working in Barcelona
An exhaustive description on work and life in Catalonia can be found here.

Post award requirements
The fellows will participate in the generation of the scientific and review reports for the European Commission wherever this is necessary. The European Commission or BIST may require to give feedback on the program and the personal experience of the fellow in it. Both can be necessary during and after the fellowship. In particular, the PROBIST Fellows will need to prepare a final report after the completion of their fellowship. This report should arrive the BIST project manager no later than eight weeks after the end of the fellowship.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the calls for the PROBIST postdoctoral fellowship program be?

Call 1: 01/09/2017, deadline 01/11/2017 end of the day CET, selection 01/2018, incorporation foreseen for 03 to 04/2018 (*)

Call 2: 20/02/2018, deadline 20/04/2018 end of the day CEST, interviews 07/2018, incorporation foreseen for 08 to 09/2018 (*)

Call 3: 02/10/2018, deadline 26/11/2018 noon, CET, interviews 02/2019, incorporation foreseen from 04/2019 (*)

(*) the exact date of incorporation will be agreed with the host centre once the award is granted. The indicated entry dates are tentative and may be negotiated with the corresponding host centre in justified cases.

How many PROBIST fellowships are available?

The program will fund 61 fellowships of 3 years duration, distributed in 4 calls until the end of 2018.

How do I apply?

Applications need to be presented through the BIST online submission platform. Please read with attention the “Submitting an application” section before you apply to make sure you can meet the call’s requirements.

Which research projects are offered for the fellowships?

Applicants freely choose the research thematic area, research topic and hosting group they want to apply for. After a first review step for general suitability for the PROBIST program, pre-selected candidates will be given the contacts of PROBIST participating group leaders at the BIST centres. They then shall present a 2 page research proposal with their group(s) of interest. Only research proposals that have the hosting commitment of a BIST centre research group can be submitted to the second stage review, where they will have to defend their proposal in an interview.

Which are the participating centres hosting the fellowships?

• The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)
• Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ)
• Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)
• Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE)
• Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

How can I contact the Scientists willing to host a fellowship I am interested in?

After your application including general documentation like an application questionnaire, a cover letter, a CV and at least 2 referee contacts, a review of the presented documentation on general suitability for the PROBIST program will be carried out. Suitable pre-selected candidates will be given the contacts of PROBIST participating group leaders at the BIST centres and can freely contact the groups of their interest.

Where can I carry out the fellowship and what are the conditions?

PROBIST fellowships will be placed within the host group the successful candidate has chosen during the application process. The working contract will be between the host centre and the fellow. BIST itself will not contract fellows directly.

The specific working conditions of the host centre and the MSCA-COFUND program apply. All participating centres have obtained the “HR Excellence in Research” recognition or have corresponding action plans ongoing. Annual gross salary: 36.000€ plus a single allowance of 1500€ relocation support (Spanish tax and social security deductions apply).

The fellow will receive close mentoring and supervision through prestigious Senior Researchers, a personalized career development plan and a training program for scientific and transferable skills.

What will be my salary? How much is the fellowship worth?

Annual gross salary: 36.000€ plus a single allowance of 1500€ relocation support (Spanish tax and social security deductions apply).

We can’t indicate the precise net salary. It very much depends on your particular situation and additional incomes you might have. You can estimate it yourself through the following web:

http://www.calcularsueldoneto.com/csn-en-calculate-net-salary.php

The estimated net figures there are only informative, tentative and not binding for the final fellowship.

Can the PROBIST fellowship be prolonged?

The duration the fellowship is 36 months and usually cannot be prolonged.

What are the eligibility criteria?

The eligibility criteria can be found in the “Eligibility Criteria” section

Can I apply if I have lived or worked in Spain previously?

If you have worked in Spain for more than 12 months out of the last 36 months at the date of the call deadline, you are not eligible for PROBIST.

Can I apply if I do not have my PhD diploma yet?

To be eligible, PhD certificate should be obtained before your incorporation at the research centre, at maximum May 1st 2019. If you have not obtained your PhD at the time to submit your application, please indicate the likely date and provide documental evidence that you will obtain it.

What kind of PhD do I have to hold?

Your scientific achievements should be relevant for the topics you are interested to work on. Otherwise you would have difficulties to obtain a sufficient score for a competitive candidature. Apart from this competitive factor and the general eligibility criteria there are no formal restrictions to your PhD.

I would like to do my PhD at a BIST centre. Is there also a pre-doctoral program?

Yes, please follow this link to the PREBIST pre-doctoral fellowship program.

How do I get access to the application platform?

After having checked the requirements for a successful application you can start the submission process on our website. The platform will guide you through the process. You will be asked to answer an application questionnaire and to upload documentation. You can save and complete your application any time until the call deadline. Only complete applications are eligible for further review.

The application platform will be open for submission from the official call opening date to the call deadline.

For pre-selected candidates the platform will be opened again after the deadline for presenting additional documentation (research proposal, ethical issues questionnaire).

What is the exact deadline?

Call 1: opens 01/09/2017, deadline 01/11/2017 end of the day CET
Call 2: opens 20/02/2018, deadline 20/04/2018 end of the day CEST
Call 3: opens 02/10/2018, deadline 26/11/2018 noon, CET

Are referees mandatory and will they be contacted?

You will be asked to present the contact of at least two referees for your application. As the referees are important for the evaluation of your application, it is mandatory to provide sufficient contact details. The referees will be contacted by BIST after you have validated your application in the on‐line system. The referees will receive an e‐mail with a request to answer a questionnaire and to provide a recommendation letter before the call deadline via the online submission platform. It is the applicant’s responsibility that referees provide the necessary information and documentation before the call deadline. Once you have submitted your application you will be able to follow in the system if your referees have submitted a statement or letter. You can send them a reminder if necessary.

Not having presented two referees will be considered as incomplete applications. Not obtaining sufficient feedback from your referees may negatively impact on the evaluation of your candidature.

What are the structure and the formal requirements for the project description and the CV?

Any CV design is allowed but please make sure that key aspects of your career (trajectory, publications, awards, etc.) are easy to find and understand. The file format of all uploaded documents ideally should be pdf.

What are the different steps in the selection process?

The evaluation of eligible candidates will be carried out by an external, independent selection panel. The evaluation will be objective, independent, free of conflicts of interest and the selection will be based on merits, equal opportunities and freedom of choice of research.

The review procedure will be carried out in various steps:
• First review by the selection panel reviewing the documentation submitted with the application. General suitability for PROBIST will be evaluated.
• Invitation of pre-selected candidates to prepare a research proposal with the groups they want to be hosted at. A research proposal that is finally submitted needs to have the hosting commitment by the corresponding GL. Presenting a proposal is a requirement for being invited to the next step (interview).
• Second review by the selection panel: interviews and presentation of the research proposal.
• Decision on awardees, reserve list and rejected candidatures.
Selected candidates (awardees) will be offered the grant. Rejected offers may be offered to candidates from the reserve list.

What are the evaluation criteria?

The evaluation criteria to be applied to review 1 are:

• Scientific achievements: results, previous research experience and skills, scientific results, awards, intersectoral and international links etc. (50%)
• References: referees’ evaluation, referees’ experience (25%)
• Motivation and potential impact on the candidate’s career (25%)

The evaluation criteria to be applied to review 2 are:

• Scientific achievements (40%): assessed based on application material and panel interview: scientific results, references, previous research experience and skills, as well as fellowships and awards that had been obtained in the past.
• Scientific merit of the research proposal (30%): Scientific quality and originality of the proposal.
• Impact on the candidate’s career development and prospective, as well as strategic relevance (30%): increased learning curve of the candidate; expose to new ideas and areas; interaction between different groups and centres, internationalization strategy, tech transfer (where applicable), etc.

The panels will provide qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the candidates based on these criteria.

Intended re-integration of scientists after a career break is encouraged. Equal opportunities is a principle for the selection process. BIST and the participating centres aim at equal gendar balance and pay special attention to candidatures coming from unfavourable conditions.

Is it possible to update my application after the submission?

No, modifications will not be accepted after the call deadline. Pre-selected candidates, however, will be able to upload additional information and documents.

How do I know about the state of my application?

Applicants will be informed on the progress at all stages of the process. The candidates being assessed in the second review stage will receive an evaluation report for their candidature. E-mail is the main instrument for communication during the process.

When is the result communicated?

Candidates are informed approximately 2 to 3 months after the call deadline whether they will be granted fellowship. The result can be an offer by BIST, forming part of the reserve list, or a rejection.

Candidates being offered the grant should actively accept the offer within a week. Otherwise reserve list candidates may be contacted. Once you accepted the grant you will receive an appointment letter.

When should the fellowship start? When should be the incorporation to the host centre?

You can start immediately the preparation of formal issues (work permits, visa etc.) after you have received the appointment for the grant. It is expected you to start two months after having received the appointment letter. In any case, fellowships should not start later than 6 months after having received the appointment letter.

Where can I find practical information regarding living and working in Spain?

An excellent updated guide on all you have to know before you arrive can be found on the website of the Catalonian Government.

What languages do you speak?

English is the language required at least for working at the BIST centres. Sound command of English is a requirement for effective work in the fellowship.

For your information we state that in Catalonia dominate 2 official languages: Spanish and Catalan. Although you do not need to be able to speak Spanish or Catalan to begin your fellowship, for your own interest we strongly encourage to learn these languages.

Visit the official link

 

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