META-CAN is recruiting 15 PhD students

Targeting the metabolism-immune system connections in cancer – Grant 766214

15 PhD positions available in the Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) META-CAN

Location: Barcelona (Spain), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Toulouse, Paris and Nice (France), Haifa (Israel), Leuven (Belgium), Vienna (Austria).

Project background and goal

While extremely diverse in origin, all cancer cells show common features of profound metabolic changes and escape from the immune system. It is now obvious that metabolic adaptations are not limited to glucose metabolism (Warburg effect) but are more general and affect several metabolic pathways in cancer cells but also in immune cells. Understanding how metabolism can affect tumor cells and the anti-cancer immune response therefore represents a potential therapeutic intervention point that can be exploited to develop novel therapies and new diagnostic and prognostic markers for a wide range of tumors. However, the development of therapies targeting metabolism is hampered by the shortage of scientists with interdisciplinary training that can navigate with ease between academic, industrial and clinical sectors and have the scientific and complementary skills to convert research findings into commercial and clinical applications. This network provides a pan-European interdisciplinary and intersectoral training programme of excellence bringing young researchers together with world-leading academics, clinicians and industry personnel. As part of the research training, the consortium will conduct a set of hypothesis-driven research projects focusing on ONE question: how metabolism is associated with modulation of cell death susceptibility and the immune response in the context of cancer.

Career Stage

Early Stage Researcher (ESR) or maximum 4 years after graduation that allows to enter a PhD program. Qualifications required for entry into the PhD program in each partners country can be found on each partners website or by contacting the partner by email (see links in the project descriptions section).

Benefits and salary

The MSCA programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = €3110/month (correction factor to be applied per country) + mobility allowance = €600/month].

In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes scientific skills courses, transferable skills courses, as well as active participation in workshops and conferences and secondments to partner labs. In order to provide extra-scientific skills to our ESRs, they will receive a complementary training on translating science to business by ESADE, notions on scientific publishing by The FEBS Journal, as well as, communication skills by BIOcomuniCA’T and media training by the University of Amsterdam.


Applicants need to fully comply with the three eligibility criteria:

  • Early-stage researchers (ESR) are those who are, at the time of recruitment by the host, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged. Please note applicants cannot already hold a PhD.
  • Conditions of international mobility of researchers: Researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
  • English language: Network fellows (ESRs) must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training.

Application procedure

All applications must be made using the

The form should be downloaded, completed and emailed to after September 1st and by 5.00pm on November 6th 2017. The email should clearly state your top three projects in order of preference (e.g., 1ST ESR8, 2nd ESR1 and 3rd ESR5).

Eligible applications will be forwarded to the relevant partners in charge of each project and each partner will shortlist their applicants and conduct interviews from November to mid-December. Applicants will be informed of the outcome by end of December 2017 (timelines may vary a little between partners). Successful applicants will need to prove that they are eligible (three aspects: respect ESR definition, mobility criteria, and English language proficiency). The selected ESRs are expected to start in February – March 2018.

See PhD projects and partner labs here