Applications to the IBB PhD Programme

The programme usually takes 6 to 10 students per year. Selected students receive a fellowship, renewable every year up to a maximum of four years. The IGC also provides additional support to PhD students.



Who We Are Looking For

The IBB seeks highly motivated students, passionate for science, who wish to fully commit to the pursuit of knowledge in a multidisciplinary environment. We welcome applications from university graduates in any field, in life sciences and beyond.

The bulk of our recruitment is among those who studied biological sciences and biomedicine, and wish to become an independent scientist.

A specific recruitment track is devoted to physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers who are fascinated by living systems. If you are a physicist who wishes to explore the physics and complexity of biological systems, a computer scientist who wants to solve computational challenges in biology, or a mathematician intrigued by the mathematical problems that biology hides, we are looking for you. If you did not study biological sciences but you feel you are living in the Century of Biology, we invite you to apply to the IBB PhD programme.

The research groups at the IGC explore four main axis: Immunobiology and Host-microbe interactions, Quantitative Biology, Evolutionary Biology, and Integrative Cell and Developmental Biology. The broad scope of institute’s research programme favors original approaches to pressing biological questions promoting bridges across different disciplines and methodologies.



We welcome applications from any nationality. A Masters degree is mandatory for candidates of countries that signed the Bologna Process/Agreement or those with similar 3-year undergraduate programmes.

Candidates holding a degree that pre-dates the Bologna Process are also eligible. If you are applying from a country with a 4 or 5-year university degree programme, you are also potentially eligible, and should contact the office of the PhD programme for information on your specific case.

Any non-Portuguese degree must be legally recognized by the Portuguese State Higher Education Agency - DGES, before the enrolling on the PhD Programme. The PhD programme office will provide successful candidates with information and guidance.



The call was open between 11/02/2022 and 11/03/2022 (23:59).

The deadline for references was 14/03/2022 (23:59).

Applications must be submitted exclusively in English via the online platform (available only during call dates).

Applicants need to provide the following elements:

  • Name and contact of at least two references including their academic affiliation and professional connection with the candidate. Please note that upon saving this information your referees are contacted by us and the deadline for reference submission is 3 days after the end of the applications deadline. We advise you to independently inform your references that they will be receiving these emails.
  • List of all degrees, stating name, institution and classification; Diplomas must be uploaded as a pdf file name without special characters and limited to a max of 10 characters. If a degree has not been completed by the time of application submission, you must submit a binding document stating your commitment to submit your diploma by the time of Programme enrolment.
  • Motivation letter (4000 characters).




The group leaders of the IGC will evaluate and classify all applications using the elements provided by the applicant and the letters of reference. Each applicant will be reviewed by at least four evaluators. The selection committee will consider these classifications to produce the documental rank. 

The criteria for this ranking will be:

1- Strength of the academic, scientific and (if applicable) professional CV (40%). The degree grades will be adjusted to a scale of 1 to 10 and represent 1/4 of the mark.

2- Motivation letter (40%)

3- Letters of reference (20%)

Candidates that ranked 8/10 and above will be selected for an interview that represents the second round of selection.

Interviews will be conducted in English by two panels of three PIs from the IGC and the Programme Director.

In the second round, interviewed candidates will be assessed as follows:

1- Mark from previous round of ranking (50%)

2- Interview (50%)

Selection committee:

Jorge Carneiro (Programme director)
Caren Norden
Élio Sucena
Isabel Gordo
Miguel Soares
Pablo Sartori
Raquel Oliveira


Communication of Results

Evaluation and final selection results are sent by e-mail. Applicants have a period of 10 working days to contest the decision.


Private and Public Funding

The IBB PhD Programme has private and public funding. Parallel to the international call to the IBB PhD Programme, the IGC is opening a call for PhD fellowships of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) in the context of the Governmentally funded Research & Development Unit 4555. Applications are automatically submitted to both calls.

The eligibility criteria for IBB PhD Programme are less restrictive than those for national funded fellowships. While the later requires candidates to have completed their degree and to demonstrate that their diplomas have been recognized by the national high education system at the time of application (March 11, 2022), the IBB PhD Programme only requires these documents at the time of enrollment (September 1, 2022).

The IBB PhD Programme guarantees all its students a fellowship of 1250€/month for up to four years. The subset of students that are eligible and selected to receive the FCT fellowships will have their monthly stipend complemented to 1250€/month through private funds.


Host Labs

After completing successfully, the course work, IBB students are given up to five weeks to conceive their thesis proposal and find one or more group leaders who will host and supervise them. Each student is assisted in this vital choice by the PhD Programme Director and a Thesis Committee, composed of two IGC scientists.

The Thesis Committee will support the students throughout their entire life cycle at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência.

Student research projects involving collaborations between laboratories are encouraged and nurtured benefiting from the diversity of the research groups.

Not all research groups at the IGC will be necessarily taking new students every year.



Updated on 14 march 2022

IBB Director:
Jorge Carneiro 


External Scientific Committee:
Dieter Ebert
(University of Basel) 
Michael Lässig
(University of Cologne)
Anthony Hyman
(Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics)


Support from Advanced Training Unit:
Ana Aranda da Silva
Patrícia Gomes


More information: 
[email protected]
Tel: +351 214 407910


Cookies settings

Cookies Selection

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation uses cookies to improve your browsing experience, security, and its website performance. The Foundation may also use cookies to share information on social media and to display messages and advertisements personalised to your interests, both on our website and in others.