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4 PhD fellowships at ICTA-UAB Unit of Excellence ‘María de Maeztu’

Date: 2017-05-29



4 PhD fellowships at ICTA-UAB

Unit of Excellence ‘María de Maeztu’

Contract Duration: up to 4 years
Contract type: PhD contracts (FPI),
Reference project: MDM-2015-0552

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) offers 4 scholarships available to candidates who would like to pursue their PhD studies at the Institute within the Strategic Research Programme ICTA-UAB, Units of Excellence ‘María de Maeztu’ Programme (MDM-2015-0552). The positions are related to the call “Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores 2017” of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO).

Deadline for pre-applications is 15th of June 2017, please write to  for further information or to apply for the positions.

About ICTA-UAB María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence:

ICTA-UAB is implementing a Strategic Research Programme intended to consolidate its scientific capabilities, contribute to the leadership of Spanish research and act as an international pole of attraction for talent. The plan addresses major global environmental and sustainability challenges related to anthropogenic climate change, focusing on establishing the current state of knowledge on climate change and its socio-economic impacts, and on putting forward transformative solutions at the local and regional levels.

This call:

Within the current call, successful applicants will be hosted at UAB Campus (Barcelona, Spain) and will develop their PhD training in one of the four projects detailed below:

Project 1:

Project title: Submarine groundwater discharge feedbacks on ecosystem services under a climate change perspective

Abstract: Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is a source of chemical compounds into coastal areas and may be affected to climate change. This project will be focused on the social-ecological impact of SGD in Mediterranean coastal ecosystems in a context of climate change and how these processes transform or not socio-economic aspects of local stakeholders’ livelihoods.

Supervisors: Jordi García Orellana and Isabel Ruiz Mallén

Project 2:

Project title: Climate mitigation potential of Mediterranean soils: carbon sequestration by biological processes and implications for land management

Abstract: Globally, there is more carbon stocked in soils than in the atmosphere and terrestrial plants combined. The aim of the project is to understand how land use changes in the Mediterranean (i.e. agricultural abandonment) influences their potential as CO2 sinks through changes in soil biodiversity.  The project core approach is to combine satellite imagery, fieldwork and isotopic laboratory analysis to understand and model changes in biodiversity and trophic relationships. The end goal is to devise management strategies to maximize the climate mitigation potential of Mediterranean soils.

Supervisors: Pau Comes, Carlos Barriocanal and Antoni Rosell-Melé 

Project 3:

Project title: The evolution of human impacts on the Mediterranean Sea under climate change

Abstract: The exploitation of coastal living marine resources has exceeded sustainable levels in many regions, altering the marine ecosystem in ways that have been largely undocumented. This PhD project proposed to reconstruct the last few thousand years of human impacts on Mediterranean marine ecosystems in selected coastal regions under the ongoing climate change.

Supervisors: Patrizia Ziveri and Eric Galbraith

Project 4:

Project title: Understanding the role of the urban biosphere in the net flux of urban CO2

Abstract: Green-space initiatives are proposed as GHG reducing strategies in urban areas, despite there being little evidence for their effectiveness. We aim to improve our understanding of the impact of the urban biosphere on the urban flux of CO2. The modeling approach will be used to assess how green spaces/local food production can lessen environmental burden. 

Supervisors: Gara Villalba and Josep Antón Morguí



The fellowships are open to truly outstanding candidates with distinguished curricula and proven ability to communicate fluently in English. We expect candidates with studies in environmental and earth sciences, oceanography, engineering, chemical technology and biology. Interdisciplinary experience is highly appreciated, as projects encompass multidisciplinary teams, from natural sciences, technology studies and social sciences. Successful candidates will hold a master’s degree or equivalent at the time of recruitment and had courses in statistics and research methods.

Eligibility criteria:

Applicants should meet the requirements for PhD call “contratos predoctorales” 2017 by MINECO. As the call has not been published yet (expected month: June-July 2017), as basis you may read the call from the previous year.

At the time of submission the candidate:

  1. Should have not received funding from the Spanish Programme for Research with the aim to pursue his/her PhD studies.
  2. Should be holder of a degree which would formally entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate for the academic course 2017-2018 (MSc Degree).
  3. Should have not been granted any other PhD scholarship with a duration of 12 months or more, and should not have a PhD.
  4. Should be in the position to be legally accepted in the UAB PhD Programme “PhD in Environmental Science and Technology”:

Responsibilities: The selected student would register in the PhD program of Environmental Sciences and Technology Institute at UAB and be ready to start the fellowship next Autumn 2017 (September-December). She/he will be responsible for collecting data for the project and preparing it for analysis, the thesis will be directed by the supervisors in the four projects presented herein.

Contract terms:

Contract terms are detailed in the Call for “contratos predoctorales” 2017 (MINECO). As it has not been published yet, as basis here the main features for the previous call (note that quantities may slightly change):

  • This is a 4 year fellowship with an annual evaluation. The gross salary will be approximately 16.422€ (excluding social security). In the case the PhD is completed and defended in 3 years, the fellowship will be renewed to a postdoctoral fellowship and the gross salary will be of 19.000€ (excluding social security).
  • The programme also includes a travel package per fellow to undertake research visits to other research centers during the duration of the fellowship.

Application procedure:

Interested students should send the application to the ICTA María de Maeztu Management Unit ( by June 10, 2017 to receive full consideration.  The application should include:

  1. A 1500 characters of interest explaining the following:
    a.  Indicating which one of the four projects the student wants to apply for (applicants can only apply to one project)
    b.  The student expertise and the reasons for wanting to do research in the selected field.
  2. A current Curriculum Vitae of the applicant.
  3. A statement declaring that the applicant has not benefited from a grant previous to June 2017 to pursue his/her PhD studies of a duration of more than 12 months.
  4. The names, email addresses and telephone numbers of two or three confidential referees whom we might contact in June 2017.

The subject of the email message should have the following structure <”PhD MINECO Application”> (e.g. MINECO Application, Maria Evans, Project 4)

The deadline for applications is the June 15th 2017, 8pm. The preselection, including interviews, will take place during the second week of June. Decisions will be communicated to applicants during June.

This is an internal pre-selection of the best candidates. Then, the pre-selected students should be ready to apply in June-July 2017 through the MINECO on-line platform as soon as the call opens. The final evaluation will be done at the MINECO.

This programme is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO).

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