CITYCARE grant from the European Commission (Horizon2020 - Marie Skodowska-Curie Actions - Innovative Training Networks)

LIFE SCIENCES AND BIOTECHNOLOGIES CITYCARE - Impact of air pollutants on cutaneous responses in both healthy and compromised skin barrier, and innovative solutions to protect skin against urban pollution - Funding source: HORIZON 2020 - Scientific responsability: Giuseppe Valacchi.

The University of Ferrara (UNIFE) is one of the oldest in Italy. It was founded in 1391 by Alberto V, Marquis of Este, and granted by Pope Boniface IX. At present, UNIFE is a public teaching and research university, which, with 8 faculties, it is distinguished by its wide variety of disciplinary fields. It represents one of the academic institutions with more students (approximately 18000) in relation to city habitants (around 135000) in Italy. The large number of students, reflects the high-attractive profile of this university. On the basis of official data released by Italian Minister of Education, University and Research UNIFE is in the top 5 among all Italian universities in a classification drawn on the quality of research and teaching. Besides, UNIFE ranked first among public Italian universities in the "Ranking of Italian Universities - Fixing the top" of the Virtual Italian Academy (, upon normalization for numbers of researchers.

To complete our team, we are currently seeking a motivated PhD student.

The Department of Life Science and Biotechnologies invites applications for a PhD student (m/f) for a project at the boundaries of highly interconnected domains such as cell biology, skin science, formulation science, and polymer chemistry. This position and project are part of the just accepted CITYCARE grant from the European Commission (Horizon2020 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions - Innovative Training Networks) entitled “Impact of air pollutants on cutaneous responses in both healthy and compromised skin barrier, and innovative solutions to protect skin against urban pollution” which is done in collaboration with Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser (Professor at the Adolphe Merkle Institute which is associated to the University of Fribourg, Switzerland) and Dr. Marc Eeman (Skin Care Application Designer at Dow Corning Europe S.A. in Belgium). The CITYCARE project will welcome and train three early-stage researchers from any nationality for a period of maximum 36 months.

For the present position the PhD student will be hosted and enrolled for a doctoral degree in “Biotechnologies and Biomedical Sciences” at the University of Ferrara, and will be also seconded to the two other participating organizations (with 50% of his/her time spent at the industrial partner location in Belgium).

Applicants must have a MSc or equal degree in Cell Biology or Tissue Engineering. Excellent skills in the domain of cell culture techniques and molecular biology are expected. Additional knowledge in Polymer Chemistry, Skin Science or Cosmetic Science is a plus. Enthusiasm for top-quality research and good oral and written English communication skills are a must. Proficiency in either Italian or French is an advantage.

In addition, applicants have to fulfill the eligibility criteria for MSCA-ITN projects defined by the European Commission (

  • be in the first four years following the completion of their Master’s (or equivalent) degree,
  • not already possess a doctorate degree,
  • not have lived in Italy for more than 12 months over the last 3 years.

We offer a uniquely stimulating interdisciplinary research environment at the interface of cell biology, molecular biology and 3D in vitro models, excellent working conditions, a competitive salary in accordance with the Italian Minister of Education guidelines, and outstanding career prospects.
Please send your complete documentation (including letter of motivation, CV, copies of pertinent certificates, and contact details of two references) until 15.10.2017 to Prof. Giuseppe Valacchi, University of Ferrara, Italy, The successful candidate is expected to start in February 2018. Please state “PhD student (CITYCARE ESR2)” in your motivation letter and in the subject header!

Additional positions concerning this European project can be found here: