Innovative Training Network
Antiviral Immunometabolism

1 out of 15 PhD positions are still available!

INITIATE (Innate-Immunometablism as Antiviral Target) is an Innovative Training Network funded by the European Commission with the goal to train a new generation of young researchers in the emerging field of antiviral immunometabolism.

Viral outbreaks and epidemics continue to impose high mortality and morbidity burdens on mankind and animals, thus  emphasizing the urgent need for improvement and innovation in the development of new antiviral strategies. While it is clear that viral replication, metabolic pathways and host immune responses are tightly interconnected, the molecular pathways and impact on viral pathogenesis are not well-defined and will be the focus of INITIATE. A detailed understanding of the role of metabolic regulation of the host innate immune response with regard to antiviral response and inflammation, together with knowledge of the strategies used by viruses to exploit these pathways, will fundamentally change clinical intervention in the treatment of pathogenic viral diseases.

INITIATE brings together world leaders in virology, inflammation, innate immunity, and immunometabolism to educate a new generation of research scientists with interdisciplinary expertise in virology, immunology, and immunometabolism. INITIATE includes partners from 7 academic institutes and 3 industrial partners from 7 countries. The consortium will host 15 PhD students – Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), each performing an individual research project at one of the partners.


ESRs will be part of a vibrant and stimulating international and inter-sectorial collaboration.  The INITIATE training programme will equip its ESRs with appropriate scientific and transferable skills, through related and interdependent research projects, interdisciplinary and intersectoral secondments, and network-wide training activities. Scientific training will be supplemented with workshops devoted to academia/industry collaboration, dissemination and public engagement, as well as the maintenance of a successful research environment.  ESRs will meet other ESRs involved in the program during the network meetings, secondments and international meetings.


We are looking for talented and highly motivated early career researchers educated in biology, infection & immunity, biochemistry or related subjects and experience in cellular biology, (bio)chemistry, immunology and/or virology. We expect dedication and enthusiasm for experimental research, combined with scientific curiosity and the capacity to teamwork in an interdisciplinary environment. Positions are open from now until all the positions are filled (at the latest January 1st 2020 ) and ESRs will be based in the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, France or Italy.

Admission Criteria

Candidates must have not been awarded a doctoral degree and have to be in the first four years of their research career.  Candidates must have excellent proficiency in written and spoken English (at least level B2) and fulfill the specific University recruitment criteria of each position. Candidates can be of any nationality, but need to demonstrate mobility in terms of moving from one country to another when taking up their appointment. Importantly, candidates must not have resided or carried out their activities – work, studies, etc.- in the country of their host organization for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before August 1st 2019.

The INITIATE training programme will comply with the EU Charter and Code of Conduct for Recruitment, ensuring no discrimination on the basis of gender, age, ethnic, national or social origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, language, disability, political opinion, social or economic condition and an open, transparent, supportive and internationally comparable recruitment procedure

How to apply

Candidates can apply for a maximum of five positions; for each position, they must submit an application to the project coordinator according to the procedures described in each project description. Applicants must include their CV, detailed academic transcripts in the form of certified copies of all undergraduate level certificates, a list of research-related methodological skills, a list of training experiences abroad, a motivation letter and three reference letters from previous professors or mentors. Each applicant will be notified of the final of their application.

Selection process

  • First step

    CV’s will be evaluated by the foreseen local supervisors. Numerical scores will be awarded for grading criteria such as relevant studies and experience, study marks, motivation and reference letters.

  • Second step

    Foreseen supervisors will have face-to-face or web-based video interviews with candidates. Scoring will be according to background knowledge, dedication, and motivation, based on a semi-quantitative scale. PIs will rank preferred candidates for their project.

  • Final decisions

    on the selection of candidates will be made by the primary supervisor and will be finalized during a tele-conference meeting with all PIs. In case of equal-scoring candidates, preference will be given to women and researchers with refugee status (provided they have or are able to obtain work permits).


The successful candidates will be employees of the beneficiary’s institutions, with a contract period of 36 or 48 months, depending on the length of the PhD program at the hosting institute. The position is funded by a Marie Curie Initial Training Network initiative. The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) regulations for early stage researchers. The exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment and is dependent on the country correction coefficients (to allow for the difference in cost of living in different EU Member States) as well as applicable regulations. Basic gross rates include a living allowance subject to taxes, social security, employee and employer pension contributions), a mobility allowance and a family allowance. Envisaged Job Starting Date: between August 1st 2019 and January1st 2020.

Vacant positions


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

INITIATE will process data collected from the applicants for recruitment purposes only, according to the GDPR policies. INITIATE will not share data outside the network, unless upon authorization from the interested applicant. The data will be kept for a period of five years after the end of the project for the purpose of an audit by the EU.