Post-doc fellowships in Spain, in all research fields - USAL4EXCELLENCE (MSCA)

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Tags: Spain | MSCA | COFUND | postdoc | Fellowship

The “University of Salamanca Programme to Foster Research Excellence” (USAL4EXCELLENCE) is an initiative of the University of Salamanca (USAL) funded by the Horizon 2020 Programme under MSCA COFUND actions and cofunded by the Junta de Castilla y León, which aims to recruit 40 experienced researchers. Taking a ‘bottom-up’ approach, the overall objective of fellowships will be to recognise the brightest ideas and bring brilliant minds together.

USAL4EXCELLENCE will provide fellows with training and networking opportunities that will enhance their career development and leadership potential. 


Bottom-up approach: The applicants can choose their research topic freely within all academic areas.

  • Chemistry (CHE),
  • Social Sciences and Humanities (SOC),
  • Economic Sciences (ECO),
  • Information Science and Engineering (ENG),
  • Environment and Geosciences (ENV),​​​
  • Life Sciences (LIF),
  • Mathematics (MAT),
  • Physics (PHY).

Duration: Each fellowship will last 30 months, assuring proper project implementation.

Host institution: Fellows will be hosted at USAL and they will have the opportunity and freedom to choose their destination for two secondments. Thus, fellows will have a mandatory period at USAL during the first 24 months (except for a voluntary secondment which should be started at least after 6 months at USAL), and a mandatory secondment during the last 6 months of the fellowship, as indicated below.

Voluntary secondment: Fellows will be encouraged to undertake a stay in a Partner Organization for a period of up-to 6 months, which could be split into shorter periods (neither of them may be shorter than 1 month).

Mandatory secondment in industry/organizations of interest: Fellows will spend up-to 20% of their fellowship in a non-academic entity (large company, SME, non-profit institution, museums, libraries, hospitals, etc.) for a more market-oriented period, lasting for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 6 months.

Supervisors and mentors: Fellows will be assigned a suitable supervisor and MENTOR. A list of potential supervisors is available in section MEET OUR SUPERVISORS.

Training: USAL4EXCELLENCE will offer tailored support that will help fellows understand and adopt best practice in research. All fellows will be expected to attend relevant courses (on-line training, face-to-face training or events). Many of these courses will be delivered at a local level by departments, faculties and institutes, both as part of the USAL teaching programme and as standalone courses. All these courses will be available at this link.

Salary: Each fellowship includes funds for travel, reasonable research expenses as well as competitive salary. The total cost of a fellowship is 4.855 €/month and the net salary of the ER will be around 3.500 €/month. The net salary results from deducting all compulsory (employer/employee) Social Security contributions as well as direct taxes (e.g., income tax) from the gross amounts. Additionally, the remunerations may vary annually depending on the Social Security rates. The rate indicated above is for researchers working full-time.

The USAL4EXCELLENCE project is reinforced by the fact that the University of Salamanca has been awarded the HR Excellence in Research distinction, thus recognising its commitment to continuously improve its Human Resources Strategy for Researchers in accordance with the recommendations and principles established by the European Commission in the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. This position will guarantee a stimulating and attractive environment for researchers and will offer the best conditions for the training of fellows.


The candidates for the fellowships must meet the following requirements at the date of the call deadline:

  • Be experienced researchers (ERS): It is mandatory to hold a Doctoral degree or at least four years’ full-time research experience by the time of the call deadline. No age and nationality restrictions will be applied.
  • Comply with the standard MSCA mobility rule: USAL4EXCELLENCE welcomes applicants from any nationalities but they may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the call deadline.
  • English proficiency: All applicants must be proficient in English. Thus, they may upload a certificate of proficiency in English (minimum C1 level as measured by CEFR, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) or, alternatively, they will have to demonstrate (only the 40 highest ranked candidates) their command over the English language through an English language proficiency test (which is not an official certificate) run by USAL Language Centre. Although candidates may opt for this second option, all selected applicants will be highly encouraged by USAL4EXCELLENCE Management Team to have available an official English certificate (minimum C1 level) before signing the contract.

Important points to note:

  • Career breaks: The effective elapsed time since candidates were awarded their first PhD will be reduced in properly documented circumstances. The criteria will be based on those set out for the MSCA projects, these include (but are not limited to): parental and adoption leaves, long term illness, clinical treatment, inactivity in research or displacement because of conflict.
  • Refugee researchers: For refugee researchers there will be special conditions: the mobility rule will apply to them only from the moment in time when the refugee status has been obtained, there will be more flexibility in post-doctoral experience requirements as it is done for career breaks due to parental leave, military service, etc.

more information here

Deadline: 15 February 2022.