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Early Stage Researcher/PhD Candidate Vacancie - ESR3 Enabling the exploration of Intervertebral Disc (IVD) disease mechanisms in LBP on M&S platforms

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    Universitat Pompeu Fabra - ETIC
    Computer science
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    31/05/2021 23:00 - Europe/Athens
    Spain › Barcelona
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


The European community requires early stage researchers (ESRs) who can work across the boundaries of traditional disciplines, integrating experimental and in silico approaches to understand and manage highly prevalent multifactorial disorders, such as musculoskeletal disorders. The Disc4All training network utilises intervertebral disc degeneration (LDD) leading to low back pain (LBP) as a relevant application for the integration of data and computational simulations in translational medicine, to enable rational interpretations of the complexity of the interactions that eventually lead to symptoms. LBP is the largest cause of morbidity worldwide, yet there remains controversy as to the specific cause leading to poor treatment options and prognosis. LDD is reported to account for 50% of LBP in young adults, but the interplay of factors from genetics, environmental, cellular responses and social and psychological factors is poorly understood. Unfortunately, the integration of such data into a holistic and rational map of degenerative processes and risk factors has not been achieved, requiring creation of professional crosscompetencies, which current training programmes in biomedicine, biomedical engineering and translational medicine fail to address, individually. Disc4All aims to tackle this issue through collaborative expertise of clinicians; computational physicists and biologists; geneticists; computer scientists; cell and molecular biologists; microbiologists; bioinformaticians; and industrial partners. It provides interdisciplinary training in data curation and integration; experimental and theoretical/computational modelling; computer algorithm development; tool generation; and model and simulation platforms to transparently integrate primary data for enhanced clinical interpretations through models and simulations. Complementary training is offered in dissemination; project management; research integrity; ethics; regulation; policy; business strategy; and public and patient engagement. The Disc4All ESRs will provide a new generation of internationally mobile professionals with unique skill sets for the development of thriving careers in translational research applied to multifactorial disorders.


Hiring Disc4All Member Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación Web: https://www.bsc.es Address: c/Jordi Girona 31st, 08034 Barcelona (Spain) Type of contract: temporary (36 months) Job status: full-time Hours per week: 40h Offer starting date: Between September 1st, 2021 and September 30th, 2021 EU

Research Framework: H2020 MSCA-ITN-ETN Marie Curie Grant Agreement Number: 955735

Open Position ● Topic: Enabling the exploration of Intervertebral Disc (IVD) disease mechanisms in LBP on M&S platforms ● Objectives: 1) Adapt diverse sets of software components & models for transformation into reusable tools, including multiscale AB-FE simulations, image analysis , 3D modelling, text analysis, RN selection & metamodelling; 2) Generate a data- and model-agnostic M&S platform for data and tools integration based on cloud services, including HPC computing capacity; 3) Dockerise & combine the available tools to build complete IVD M&S simulation workflows able to virtually augment input primary data with secondary data; 4) Define frontend for cloud simulations and use by non-experts ● Expected Results: Efficient HPC-Cloud deployment of the M&S tools, using recommendations on software quality and standards from ELIXIR, or GA4GH, when applicable. Simple interaction with data providers: public or project-specific repositories. Minimal to no alteration for existing software, guidelines for newly developed tools. Flexible deployment options adapted to required computational environments, from HPC-Cloud to desktop. Testable M&S platform ● Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): University of Barcelona (UB, PhD programme in Biomedicine) ● Main supervisor: Josep Lluis Gelpí (BSC-CNS) – Co-supervisors: Vincenzo Carbone & Luca Emili (InSilicoTrials), Jaro Karppinen (OULU), Mariano Vázquez (BSC-CNS) ● Host: BSC-CNS (Life Sciences Dept). PhD delivered by: UB Start date: September 2021, Duration: 36 Months The PhD of this project will be hosted by Barcelona SuperComputing Center (BSC-CSN) and the PhD awarding entity will be Universitat de Barcelona (UB). BSC-CNS is the Spanish national supercomputing center, specialized in high performance computing (HPC). The center manages MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe, being at the service of the international scientific community and of industry that requires HPC resources. With a total staff of more than 700 R&D experts and professionals, BSC has been successful in attracting talent, and our research focuses on four fields: Computer Sciences, Life Sciences, Earth Sciences and Computer Applications in Science and Engineering (CASE). The work of the proposed project will be carried out in the Life Sciences department within the National Bioinformatics Institute computational team, with a large experience in the development of infrastructure solutions for bioinformatics and simulation. Address: c/Jordi Girona 31, 08034 Barcelona web: https://www.bsc.es/discover-bsc/organisation/scientific-structure/high-p...

More Information


The MSCA programme offers a competitive salary and attractive working conditions, in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers.

You will be enrolled in the PhD programme of Biomedicine at the Universitat de Barcelona, and have the opportunity to learn from a consortium of 19 institutions (11 Beneficiaries, 8 Partner organizations). In addition to the individual scientific projects, all ESRs will benefit from further continuing education, which includes secondments to key institutions, a variety of training courses for specific and transferable skills and active participation and international conferences.

Successful candidates will be offered a 36 months full-time employment contract, with a monthly salary of 3119€ (average gross salary, before statutory deductions); plus an additional mobility allowance (600€ per month, unconditional), and an additional family allowance (500€ per month, if applicable).

Eligibility criteria

 a) To apply for these MSCA Training positions, applicants must fulfil the following criteria: Mobility: to be eligible for a position, you must not have resided in Spain for more than 12 months over the three years leading up to the start date of the position, excluding holidays and (refugee status) asylum application. Early Stage Researcher (ESR): An ESR shall at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Candidates must prove that they fulfil the aforementioned criteria through relevant documentation (certificates, official statements, residency card, …).

Selection process

The selection committee uses a number of indicators to evaluate the applicant’s preparedness, motivation and potential. 1st phase, remote pre-selection: The Scientific, Technological & Academic excellence will be considered at first, based on: Quality of the CV, in general Any demonstrated research experience, particularly if supported by evidence such as scientific publications, patents, participation in scientific congresses, … Undergraduate performance: overall, with a special focus on relevant field-specific courses Any demonstrated previous recognitions (grants, awards, …) Reference letters provided by professors and senior scientists: Three reference letters are expected. At least two letters must be issued by scholars. The third letter can be provided either by a scholar or by a relevant professional of the industrial sector. Referees are asked to address analytical capabilities, technical proficiency, ability to work independently and motivation/commitment. Statement of purpose: past research experience, motivation for applying to this particular PhD project, academic fit, contribution of the project to the candidate’s future careers plans, ... Additional relevant skills (field-specific): demonstrated, e.g. through previous projects, and or through previous participation in scientific contests, trainings, ... 2nd phase, interview(s): Should the candidate be preselected at phase 1, a second phase will consist in at least one interview through which the motivation, the proactive behaviour, the capacity to work collaboratively, the organizational skills, the communication skills and the capacity to engage in a scientific discussion and manage problems, will be assessed, among other aspects. The final decision will be the result of a consensus of an evaluation committee that will take into account the results of both recruitment phases 1 and 2. The candidate will be informed of the section results by email.

Additional comments

All the documents that prove the eligibility of the candidate and should be provided. As for the selection process candidates are expected to provide at least the following documents: A brief introduction letter (no more than one A4 page) that summarizes the documents and the nature of the information provided for the selection A full CV The three

Offer Requirements

    Computer science: Master Degree or equivalent
    Engineering: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent

Specific Requirements

All documents must be sent by email to the Principal Investigator of the proposed project (Josep Lluis Gelpi, email: gelpi@ub.edu) and to the Management of the Disc4All project (disc4all@upf.edu)

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Universitat Pompeu Fabra - ETIC
Roc Boronat 138

EURAXESS offer ID: 637295


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