Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
Science 4 Refugees

Early Stage Researchers (Two positions ESR 3 & ESR 4)

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    NUI Galway
    Biological sciencesBiological engineering
    Medical sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    05/08/2019 17:00 - Europe/London
    Ireland › Galway
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for two full-time fixed term positions as Early Stage Researchers/PhD student (ESR 3 and 4) with the Galway Neuroscience Centre (GNC) and the Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

The two positions, funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union, are available from October 2019. The appointments will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of three years (regular full-time employment contract).

PMSMatTrain is a four-year project, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Initial Training Network (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018), Grant Agreement No. 813263. The project focuses on gaining a comprehensive understanding of the progressive phase of multiple sclerosis (PMS) from basics to translation, fully supported by eight beneficiaries (six research institutions and two SMEs). This multidisciplinary network will educate and train 15 Early Stage Researchers in device design, biomaterials, materials science, stem cell biology, in vitro, ex vivo and pre-clinical models of multiple sclerosis, molecular biology, in silico modelling of CSF flow, material functionalisation strategies and device validation.

Programme fellows will experience both public and private sector research & development training and will be best placed to secure employment as high calibre, innovative and well-trained graduates.


The Galway Neuroscience Centre (GNC) brings together all academic staff, students, researchers and clinicians at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway and Galway University Hospitals who have an interest in neuroscience research and teaching. It is a dynamic and interdisciplinary centre, comprising 25 Principal Investigators and their research groups, drawn from four of the University’s Colleges (Science, Medicine, Engineering and Arts), as well as neurologists and psychiatrists in local hospitals.

The Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) is a national, SFI funded, €49.6m research centre that brings together researchers from NUI Galway, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, University of Limerick, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin and Royal College of Surgeons Ireland. The prime objective for CÚRAM is to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing innovative implantable ‘smart’ medical devices to treat major unmet medical needs. Implants will be designed and manufactured to respond to the body’s environment and to deliver therapeutic agents, such as drugs, exactly where needed. Cutting-edge science will develop devices using the very latest research from biomaterials, stem cells and drug delivery and the support of strong clinical collaborations, industry partners and hospital groups to enable rapid translation to the clinic. The centre will include almost 40 industry partners and support product development and the creation of new spin-out companies.

The research projects will be led by Dr Una FitzGerald, Director of the Galway Neuroscience Centre and Principal Investigator of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neurodegenerative Disorders Research Group at NUIG. Dr FitzGerald has extensive experience within the MS field, publishing studies of post-mortem human MS tissue, as well as reporting on molecular mechanisms underlying the production of myelin and how these are altered by neuroinflammatory conditions such as MS. She has also used in vitro and pre-clinical models of neurodegeneration to examine the accumulation of brain iron and to develop a novel model of pre-symptomatic Parkinson’s disease. More recently, Dr FitzGerald has developed a strong interest in the environmental impact of laboratory research and is in the process of implementing green lab practices within her lab.

Job Description:

The researchers will develop and validate the therapeutic efficacy of a novel device housing a multi-modal hydrogel using various models of multiple sclerosis (MS). Outputs from the research will inform pre-clinical studies and imaging modalities and will aid the generation of in silico models of the circulation of therapeutics within the cerebrospinal fluid.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The successful candidate will do the following

  • Develop a multi-modal functionalised hydrogel to modulate inflammation, re-myelination and neuroprotection
  • Assess the bioactivity and efficacy of the released compounds
  • In collaboration with other consortium researchers, investigate the efficacy of this platform in different pre-clinical models of multiple sclerosis
  • Identify candidate biomarkers of re-myelination and repair
  • Develop protocols for the scale up of the optimised device in collaboration with research fellows in the private sector 
  • Participate in training events for researchers and Principal Investigators involved in the programme
  • Liaise and report to the Project Manager, which includes contributing to periodic scientific reports
  • Contribute to the reporting of project milestones and deliverables in accordance with EU deadlines
  • Promote and disseminate results from the programme, which includes contributing to newsletters and participating in outreach events

    Salary: The remuneration will be in line with the European Commission rules for Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant holders (Early-Stage Researchers, Initial Training Network).


    Start date: Position is available from October 2019

    Continuing Professional Development/Training:

    Researchers at NUI Galway are encouraged to avail of a range of training and development opportunities designed to support their personal career development plans.

    Further information on research and working at NUI Galway is available on Research at NUI Galway.

    For information on moving to Ireland, please see www.euraxess.ie.

    In line with the university Child Protection Policy, this post requires Gárda vetting.

    Informal enquiries concerning the post may be made to Dr Una FitzGerald (Una.Fitzgerald@nuigalway.ie).

    To Apply:

    Applications (in English) should include a CV (Please use the Europass template: https://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/editors/en/cv/compose), certificates of examination grades, a motivation letter (max. one page) describing your research career goals, skills and experience, as well as two letters of recommendation. Please send applications by e-mail (in PDF only) to PMS@nuigalway.ie. Please quote the project name and reference number "PMSMatTrain-ESRs 3 and 4” in the subject line of e-mail application.

    Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm on 5th August 2019

    Interviews will take place between 25th and 30th August 2019

    All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment.

    National University of Ireland, Galway is an equal opportunities employer.

    Eligibility criteria

    Eligibility criteria for an Early Stage Researcher: Less than four years' full time-equivalent research experience and has not yet been awarded a doctoral degree (PhD)

    Eligibility criteria for MSCA fellowship: Resided less than 12 months in Ireland in the last three years

    Selection process

    All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment

    National University of Ireland Galway is an equal opportunities employer.

    Offer Requirements

      ENGLISH: Excellent


    Qualifications: Essential

    • Honours Master’s degree in life science, chemistry, engineering or a biotechnology discipline
    • Less than four years' full time-equivalent research experience and has not yet been awarded a doctoral degree (PhD)
    • Resided less than 12 months in Ireland in the last three years
    • Excellent communication and organisation skills
    • Fluent in spoken and written English
    • Excellent writing and presentation skills
    • Flexibility and ability to work in a team environment
    • Availability to travel nationally and internationally two to three times a year

    Qualifications: Desirable

    • Experience with outreach events
    • A keen interest in pursuing translational research in multiple sclerosis

    Work location(s)
    2 position(s) available at
    NUI Galway
    H91 W2TY
    Biomedical Sciences, Room 1009 Newcastle Road, Dangan, NUI Galway,

    EURAXESS offer ID: 423415


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