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PhD Positions – ENLIGHTEN

ICFO has PhD Positions available within the ENLIGHTEN fellowship program (H2020 MSCA- COFUND action)

  • Closing date: 31 Jan 2021
  • Spain | ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences
  • Date posted: 15 Dec 2020
  • Job type: Academic: PhD/MSc
  • Disciplines: Optics, lasers & photonics  | Quantum science & technology 

ICFO is offering six PhD-fellowship positions through the ENLIGHTEN Marie Sklowdowska-Curie-COFUND action under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (GA 847517) to well-qualified graduate students, who wish to obtain a doctoral degree in any of the research topics covered.

Our International PhD Fellowship Program welcomes applications from individuals 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 the following research topics:

  • Biophysics and biomedical optics.
  • Optical sensing, optoelectronics and photovoltaics.
  • Nonlinear optics, ultrafast optics and atto-physics.
  • Nanophotonics, optomechanics and nanomechanics.
  • Experimental quantum optics and quantum information.
  • Theoretical nanophotonics, quantum optics and quantum information.

Please, browse our website for details about ICFO Research Groups and Group Leaders at 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.

Requirements and conditions

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

  • Have an internationally-recognized Master-equivalent degree preferably in experimental physics, nanophotonics, optical engineering or related areas. Positively valued will be experience in optical design & instrumentation, nanophotonics, clean-room nanofabrication technology, single molecule biophysics and/or computer programming. 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. Please, if in doubt regarding your academic eligibility, contact us at
  • Candidates who have already been awarded a PhD are not eligible to apply.
  • Have an excellent academic record, previous research experience and a strong commitment for scientific research.
  • Have a high working knowledge of English.

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

  • By the time of the COFUND contract activation, the candidate must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months during the last three years. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
  • The Master-equivalent degree should not be older than four years prior to the application deadline. 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 under comparatively unfavourable 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 six 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. For the ENLIGHTEN COFUND fellowships the annual gross salary subject to the stipulated fiscal and social security deductions is €25.900. This period is not financed by the COFUND Grant, but it is covered by other funding.
  • After this initial period, students are formally enrolled in the PhD Program, and the ENLIGHTEN COFUND PhD Fellowship is activated for a period of three years. Fellowships are renewable for an additional fourth year with ICFO funding, 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. The total gross annual allowance including the employer costs is €32.508 per year and the annual gross salary for the fellow, subject to the stipulated fiscal and social security deductions, is €25.900 (including living and mobility allowance).
  • It is foreseen within the program that ICFO/Group will make available €6.000,00/year/fellow to cover research costs (consumables and other materials deemed necessary to carry out the research project) and €1.800,00/year/fellow to cover other costs (training and other related costs, such as registration fees, travel and subsistence costs for participation in national or international events, conference, meetings, schools, and/or other training activities). Following institutional regulations, the allocated funding for research, training and other costs are managed by ICFO and the Group Leader of the group that hosts the corresponding fellow.
  • Selected candidates shall start ideally between June 2021 and September 2021.
  • 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.

Application process

For more details and application please visit: Applications for PhD-positions available within the ICFO International PhD Program (Spring 2021)

Deadline for applications: 14 February 2021.

IMPORTANT: Please indicate explicitly in your presentation letter that you are interested in the PhD positions in the ENLIGHTEN Fellowship program (Marie Sklowdowska-Curie-COFUND action).

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

ENLIGHTEN has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847517.


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