1 PhD Fellowship - Bioelectrochemistry - English version

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 Oct 2022

Notice of Opening of the Contest for Award of Research Fellowship for PhD

The Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier (ITQB NOVA) of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa opens a competition for the award of one research fellowship, hereinafter referred to as the Doctoral Research Fellowship, in the area of Bioelectrochemistry, under the FCT Research Fellowship Regulation (RBI) and the Research Fellow Statute (EBI).
The fellowships will be funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under the Collaboration Protocol for Financing the Multiannual Research Fellowship Plan for PhD Students, concluded between FCT and ITQB NOVA, through its Molecular, Structural and Cellular Microbiology (MOSTMICRO-ITQB) research unit, ref. UIDP/04612/2020.

Doctoral Research Fellowships are intended for applicants or candidates who meet the necessary conditions to enrol in the Doctoral Programme in Molecular Biosciences and who wish to develop research activities leading to obtaining an academic PhD degree from the ITQB NOVA.

The competition is open between 1st of September and 31st of October 2022 at 17:00 (GMT).
Applications and application support documents provided for in this Notice of Invitation to Tender must be submitted by on the platform:


Each candidate may submit only one application, under penalty of cancellation of all applications submitted.
The provision of false declarations or the performance of acts of or plagiarism by the candidates is grounds for cancellation of the application without prejudice to the adoption of other measures of a sanctioning nature.

Doctoral research fellowships are intended to finance the completion, by the grantees, of research activities leading to the obtaining of an academic degree of PhD in Portuguese universities.
The research activities leading to obtaining the academic degree of PhD will take place at ITQB NOVA, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, through its research unit Molecular, Structural and Cellular Microbiology (MOSTMICRO-ITQB), which will be the institution of reception of the fellow without prejudice to the work can be carried out in collaboration between more than one institution.
The research activities leading to obtaining the academic degree of doctor of the selected fellow should be included in the plan of activities and strategy of the Research Unit of Molecular, Structural and Cellular Microbiology (MOSTMICRO-ITQB) and should be developed under the Doctoral Programme in Molecular Biosciences of ITQB NOVA.
The students to whom the scholarship is awarded will be automatically admitted to the doctoral programme in Molecular Biosciences of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
The work plan may take place entirely in a national institution (fellowship in the country).
The duration of the fellowship is, as a rule, annual, renewable up to a maximum of four years (48 months), and no fellowship may be granted for a period of less than 3 consecutive months.

Doctoral Research Fellowships are intended for applicants or candidates who meet the necessary conditions to enrol in the Doctoral Programme in Molecular Biosciences and who wish to develop research activities leading to obtaining an academic degree at ITQB NOVA.

4.1 Applicant Admissibility Requirements

You may apply for this competition if you are:
• National or citizen of other Member States of the European Union;
• Citizen of third states;
• Stateless person;
• Citizen receiving political refugee status.
To apply for the Doctoral Research Fellowship, it is necessary to:
• Be a graduate or master in the areas of Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry and Biotechnology or in areas considered related;
• Have not received a doctoral fellowship, or a doctoral fellowship in companies, directly funded by FCT, regardless of their duration.
• Do not hold a Doctor's degree.

4.2 Application Admissibility Requirements
It is essential, under penalty of non-admission to the Competition, to attach to the application the following documents:
• Elements of identity card/citizen card/passport;
• Curriculum vitae of the candidate;
• Certificates of qualification of the academic degrees held, specifying the final classification and, if possible, the classifications obtained in all subjects performed;
• Record of recognition of academic degrees awarded by foreign higher education institutions and registration of the conversion of their final classification to the Portuguese classification scale;
• Letter of motivation (Personal Statement) in English;
• Two letters of recommendation;
• Write the application and all documents associated with it, in Portuguese or English.

The following should be noted for the above mentioned admissibility requirements:
• In the case of academic degrees awarded by foreign higher education institutions, and in order to ensure the application of the principle of equal treatment to candidates who hold foreign and national academic degrees, it is mandatory the recognition of those degrees and the conversion of the respective final classification to the Portuguese classification scale.
• Recognition of academic degrees and foreign diplomas as well as the conversion of the final classification to the Portuguese classification scale may be required in any public higher education institution, or in the Directorate-General for Higher Education (DGES, just in the case of automatic recognition). In this regard, it is suggested that the DGES portal be consulted at the following address: http://www.dges.gov.pt .

Only candidates who have completed the course of study leading to a bachelor's or master's degree until the end of the application period will be admitted.

The fellowship's work plan will consist of the development of a research project leading to obtaining the PhD degree within the laboratory of “Bioelectrochemistry and Electrobiotechnology” coordinated by Dr. Felipe Conzuelo of the Research Unit MOSTMICRO-ITQB of the ITQB NOVA. The work plan, guided by Dr. Felipe Conzuelo will consist of the following:

The PhD project aims to develop engineered bioelectrodes by integrating redox enzymes and other biological entities with conductive material surfaces to implement practical devices for specific applications, ranging from novel biosensors to energy conversion devices. The possibility of establishing advanced combinations of biotic and abiotic components is advantageous in the fields of energy, biomedical, and environmental research. In particular, the interfacing of redox enzymes with synthetic electrode materials allows a better understanding of bioelectrochemical reactions and the application of biocatalytic processes that have been fine-tuned over billions of years of evolution for the development of innovative technologies. In this regard, the focus of the research project will be the establishment of confined cascade reactions under electrochemical control and the modulation of microenvironments affecting the kinetics of the involved reactions. Special attention will be given to the characterisation and optimisation of the bioelectrodes towards attaining their optimal performance. The use of various surface chemistry and biotechnological approaches will be investigated for the entrapment of biomolecules on the electrode surface, maintaining their stability, activity, proper orientation, and effective electrical connection.

6.1 Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation takes into account the merits of the candidate and the adequacy of the candidate's training to the objectives of the MOSTMICRO-ITQB research unit.
The evaluation of the candidates will be carried out in two phases. In a first phase, the Curricular Evaluation will be made, and, in a second phase, the Interview will take place.

Applications considered admissible will be scored on a scale of 0 to 10 on each of the following evaluation criteria.

Criterion A - Curricular Evaluation (AC), with a weight of 60%;
Sub-criterion A1 - Academic Curriculum (weighing 60%),
Subcriterion A2 - Scientific experience (weighing 20%) and
Subcriterion A3 - Letter of motivation (or "Personal Statement" and letters of recommendation (weighing 20%)

Classification of Curricular Evaluation (AC) = (A1 x 60%) + (A2 x 20%) + (A3 x 20%)

Criterion B - Interview, with a weight of 40%
For the purposes of the decision on the granting of fellowships, applicants shall be ordered according to the weighted average of the classification obtained in each of the two criteria, translated into the following formula:

Final Classification = (AC X 60%) + (B X 40%)

For the purposes of tiebreaker, the ordering of candidates will be carried out based on the classifications assigned to each of the evaluation items in the following order of precedence: B, A1, A2 and A3.

The classification of the Curricular Evaluation, for qualification for interview, will be obtained by sum of these classifications.

(A1) Academic curriculum (maximum score 6.0)
The academic classification is calculated accordingly to the following formula:

(0.6 x bachelor's note + 0.4 x master's grade) – 14

In the case of students with an integrated master's degree or equivalent in terms of ECTS credits, the academic classification is the final classification of the course.

Applicants with an academic rating of less than fourteen values or with an academic background of less than five years (300 ECTS) will not be admitted.

(A2) Scientific experience (maximum score: 2.0)
In valuing scientific experience, the following will be considered:
- graduate training;
- indexed scientific publications and book chapters
- participation in scientific projects as a team member;
- participation in scientific conferences with oral or poster presentation

The score to assign should follow the following alignment:
• Scientific experience clearly above average considering career time: 2.0 points
• Above-average scientific experience considering career time: 1.5 points
• Average scientific experience considering career time: 1.0 points
• Below average scientific experience considering career time: 0.5 points
• No scientific experience: 0.0 points

(A3) Personal Statement and recommendation letters (maximum score: 2.0)
Applicants will have to request two references to submit on the dedicated computer platform, letters of recommendation prepared according to the model indicated on the same platform.

Applicants will have to submit a Personal Statement with a maximum of 750 words, covering at least the following topics:
- What's your motivation to do a PhD?
- What added value does the MOSTMICRO-ITQB research unit bring?
- Indicate what you hope to be able to complete during your PhD that is important to you for the next phase of your career, regardless of the route you take.
- Indicate an objective that has for the next 5 to 10 years that the Doctorate at MOSTMICRO-ITQB will help to achieve.
- Usually a PhD involves various activities such as: a) literature review and experience planning, b) experimental work in the laboratory, c) participation in the training courses of the MolBioS doctoral programme, d) communication of scientific results (writing of articles, participation in conferences, etc.), and) communication to non-specialist audiences. In which of these areas do you think you will be stronger and fitter? Give examples of your own experience.
- What other experiences do you have, besides laboratory work or classes, what do you think prepares you for a doctorate?

The score to assign should follow the following alignment:
Personal Statement - up to 1.0 points
Reference letter - up to 0.5 points for each

After the classification obtained in the 1st phase, the 5 best ranked candidates with a score higher than 7 will be invited for interview.

Important notice for candidates with diplomas issued by foreign higher education institutions:
• Applicants with diplomas issued by foreign higher education institutions may apply and will be evaluated with the same criteria as candidates with diplomas issued by Portuguese institutions, provided that they present, in application, proof of the recognition of academic degrees and the conversion of the final classification to the Portuguese classification scale in accordance with the applicable legislation
• Candidates with foreign diplomas who do not present proof of the conversion of the final classification to the Portuguese classification scale will be evaluated with the minimum classification (0 value) in criterion A.
• In any case, fellowship contracts with candidates with diplomas issued by foreign institutions will only be concluded by submitting the proof of recognition of academic degrees and conversion of the final classification, as indicated above.

The jury panel evaluating of the candidates consists of the following elements:
Ricardo Louro, NOVA ITQB (panel coordinator)
Raquel Sá Leão, NOVA ITQB
Lígia Saraiva, NOVA ITQB
Lígia Martins, ITQB NOVA
Manuel Melo, NOVA ITQB
Zacharias Hensel, NOVA ITQB

The jury shall assess applications in accordance with the evaluation criteria set out in this Notice of Invitation to Tender, considering the elements of appreciation.
All panellists, including the coordinator, make a commitment to respect a set of responsibilities essential to the evaluation process, such as the duties of impartiality, the declaration of any potential situations of conflict of interest and confidentiality. At all times of the evaluation process, confidentiality is fully protected and ensured in order to ensure the independence of all opinions produced.
Panellists, including the coordinator, may not be supervisors or co-supervisors to candidates with applications submitted to the competition.
For each application, a final evaluation form will be produced by the panel in which the arguments that led to the classifications assigned to each of the evaluation criteria and subcriteria are presented in a clear, consistent and consistent manner.

Minutes of the panel meetings shall be produced at the responsibility of all its members.
The minutes and its annexes must include the following information:
• Name and affiliation of all members of the jury panel;
• Identification of all applications excluded and their reasons;
• Final Evaluation Forms of each candidate;
• Provisional list of classification and ranking of candidates, in descending order of the final classification, of all applications evaluated by the panel;
• Declarations of conflicts of interest of all panellists;
• Possible voting delegations and competences due to justified absence [if applicable].

The results of the evaluation are communicated via e-mail to the email address used by the applicant for the application/application indicated in the application.

After communicating the provisional list of the results of the evaluation, the candidates have a period of 10 working days to, willingly, rule in the pre-hearing of interested parties, in accordance with Articles 121 following of the Code of Administrative Procedure.
The final decision shall be given after the analysis of the pronunciations presented at the prior hearing of interested parties. A claim may be lodged within 15 working days or, alternatively, an appeal may be lodged within 30 working days, both counted from their notification. Applicants who choose to submit a complaint must address their pronunciation to the member of the FCT Governing Board with delegated competence. Applicants who choose to appeal must address the appeal to the FCT Board of Directors.

The research grant contract is concluded directly with FCT.
The following documents must be sent, at the time of granting the fellowship, for the purposes of the establishment of the contract:
a) Copy of the civil, tax and, where applicable, social security identification document(s);
(b) copy of the qualification certificates of the academic degrees held;
(c) presentation of the register of recognition of foreign academic degrees and conversion of their final classifications to the Portuguese classification scale, if applicable;
d) Document proving registration and registration in the PhD Programme in Molecular Biosciences of ITQB NOVA;
e) Statement of the advisor(s) assuming responsibility for the supervision of the work plan, pursuant to Article 5a of the Statute of the Research Grantee (draft of the declaration to be made available by FCT
f) Document proving acceptance of the candidate by the institution where the research activities will take place, ensuring the conditions necessary for its good development, as well as the fulfilment of the duties laid down in Article 13 of the Statute of the Research Grantee (draft of the declaration to be made available by FCT);
g) Updated document proving compliance with the exclusive dedication regime (draft of the declaration to be made available by FCT);
h) Work plan.
The granting of the fellowship is still dependent on:
• compliance with the requirements set out in this Notice of Opening;
• the outcome of the evaluation;
• the non-existence of unjustified non-compliance with the obligations of the grantee under a previous fellowship contract financed, directly or indirectly, by FCT;
• the budgetary availability of the FCT.

Failure to deliver any of the documents necessary to complete the contracting process of the fellowship, within 6 months from the date of communication of the decision to grant the fellowship conditionally, implies the expiry of that concession and the closure of the proceedings.

The payment of the fellowships will begin after the return by the candidates of the duly signed fellowship contract, which should occur within a maximum of 15 working days from the date of receipt.
The grants awarded under this competition will be financed by the FCT with funds from the State Budget and, where eligible, with funds from the European Social Fund, to be made available under PORTUGAL2020, through, inter alia, the Centre's Regional Operational Programme (Centre 2020), in accordance with the regulatory provisions laid down for this purpose.

The grantee is awarded a monthly maintenance allowance in accordance with the table in Annex I to the RBI.
The grant may also include other components, in accordance with Article 18 of the RBI and the amounts provided for in Annex II.
All grantees receive personal accident insurance in relation to research activities, supported by FCT.
All grantees who are not covered by any social protection scheme may ensure the exercise of the right to social security by adhering to the voluntary social insurance scheme, in accordance with the Code of Contributory Schemes of the Social Security System, ensuring the FCT the charges resulting from the contributions in accordance with and with the limits provided for in Article 10 of the EBI.

Payments due to the grantee are made by bank transfer to the account identified by the grantee. The monthly maintenance allowance is paid on the first business day of each month.
Payments of the components of enrolment, registrations or fees are made by FCT directly to the national institution where the grantee is enrolled or enrolled in the doctorate.

The renewal of the fellowship always depends on the application submitted by the grantee, within 60 working days prior to the date of renewal, accompanied by the following documents:
a) opinions issued by the supervisor and host entity/s on the monitoring of the grantee's work and the evaluation of its activities;
b) updated document proving compliance with the exclusive dedication regime;
c) document proving the renewal of the registration in the cycle of studies leading to the degree of doctor.

In all R&D activities directly or indirectly financed by the grant, including in all communications, publications and scientific creations, as well as theses, carried out with the support provided for in the grant, it is necessary to mention the financial support from FCT and the European social fund, in particular through the Centre's Regional Operational Programme (Centre 2020). For this purpose, the insignia of FCT, MCTES, ESF and EU shall be entered in the documents relating to these actions, in accordance with the graphic standards of each operational programme.

The dissemination of research results funded under the RBI shall comply with the rules of open access to data, publications and other research results in force in the FCT.

In all grants, and in particular in the case of actions supported by Community funding, in particular the ESF, follow-up and control actions may be carried out by national and Community bodies in accordance with applicable legislation in this area. The grantees supported have the obligation to collaborate and provide the requested information, which covers the conduct of surveys and evaluation studies in this area, even if the fellowship has already ceased.

The FCT promotes a policy of non-discrimination and equal access, so that no candidate may be privileged, beneficiary, impaired or deprived of any right or exempt from any duty on grounds, inter alia, of ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family situation, economic situation, education, origin or social condition, genetic heritage, reduced working capacity, disability, chronic illness, nationality, ethnic origin or race, territory of origin, language, religion, political or ideological convictions and trade union membership.

The competition is governed by this Notice of Opening, by the FCT Research Fellowship Regulations, approved by Regulation No. 950/2019, published in the II Series of the DR of December 16, 2019, by the Statute of the Research Grantee approved by Law No. 40/2004 of August 18, in the drafting in force, and by other applicable national and Community legislation.

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