Recruitment information

Thanks for your interest in the RESCUE programme. The last call has closed. We do not expect other calls to open in the future.

30 PhD student positions have been filled since the beginning of 2019, focusing on regenerative medicine and stem cells, in Utrecht, the Netherlands, within the EC H2020 Marie S. Curie COFUND RESCUE doctorate project.

Together the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU, coordinator), Utrecht University (UU) and the Hubrecht Institute offer around 30 PhD positions (early stage researchers, ESRs) located at the Regenerative Medicine Centre Utrecht (RMU). All selected ESRs will join the Regenerative Medicine PhD Programme within Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences.

Background information
Updates and Q&A

Profile candidates during the (already closed) recruitment:

We host around 30 excellent, talented, enthusiastic, highly motivated and goal-oriented Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), with a no-nonsense mentality. The ideal candidates are interested in regenerative medicine and stem cell biology, are highly motivated to perform research in an excellent, exciting and international working environment, and are committed to a 4 year PhD track. They are excited about moving to Utrecht and to perform two secondments at one of the RESCUE Partner Organisations in NL, EU or globally.

Requirements for all candidates

In accordance with the very strict EC Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) COFUND eligibility criteria (so, please do not respond if you do not apply):

  • Candidates did not reside or carry out their main activity (e.g. reside, work, studies) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the 3 years immediately prior to project’s application deadline (time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention, compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account), and
  • Candidates are in the first four years of their research careers on their RESCUE appointment (full-time equivalent research experience, measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree entitling him or her to embark on a doctorate) and have not been awarded a doctoral degree


  • Candidates hold an MSc degree (or will graduate before the appointment date) in biomedical engineering, biotechnology, (bio)medical sciences, neuroscience, pharmacy, veterinary and/or human medicine.
  • Background and expertise in natural or medical sciences, including (bio)chemistry, biology and biotechnology, applied physics, nanosciences, biomedical, pharmacy or any combinations of the above.
  • Affinity with musculoskeletal regeneration, cardiovascular regeneration, and/or stem cell and organoid biology.
  • Excellent proficiency of the English language (both oral and written).
  • The ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. Excellent communication skills and cooperation skills are required.
  • An inquisitive mind-set, accuracy and self-reliance are very important. You are required to be flexible and mobile.
  • Enthusiasm to attend the full training program as offered in the project and to actively contribute to the project aims and objectives.
  • High interest in receiving training from supervisors from different institutes, disciplines and sectors.
  • High motivation to contribute to the dissemination of results and outreach to both specialists and the public at large.
  • Enthusiasm to visit two Partner Organisations for secondments (internships) for a minimum of 12 weeks. These visits are mandatory and at least one will be outside the Netherlands.

Key dates

We do not expect other calls.

Call 4:

  • 16 March 2020: Application open
  • 3 April 2020 Application deadline. The last call has been closed

Call 3: 

  • 15 March 2019: Application open
  • 1 May 2019, 10:00 AM CET: Application deadline

Call 2: 

  • 26 November 2018: Application open
  • 2 January 2019, 10:00 AM CET: Application deadline
  • 1 February 2019: Start appointment selected RESCUE ESRs (in any case between 1 January 2019 and 1 June 2019).

Call 1: 

  • 2 July 2018: Application open
  • 27 August 2018: Application deadline
  • 1 February 2019: Start appointment selected RESCUE ESRs (in any case between 1 January 2019 and 1 June 2019).

Recruitment procedure

  1. Candidates can only apply for a position using the the 'apply now'  on the relevant vacancy on website, see the updates and Q&A page of this RESCUE site. Applications received via other channels are not taken into account. The application should be complete, including one pdf with an evidence-based CV, written motivation for the selected position and completed before the application deadline given on this website.
  2. The principal investigators (PIs) and the Selection Committee (SC) review all received applications and preselect around 5 candidates for each project based on evaluation criteria (see table below). The Eligibility Committee (EBC) screens for the eligibility criteria.
  3. The long listed candidates are invited for a first interview round and subsequently short listed candidates are invited in a second round through online video conferences with the PIs and the Selection Committee respectively.Topics of discussion during the interviews may include: the candidate’s motivation, drive and ambitions, learning goals, educational and theoretical background, experimental skills, choice of the host research group, overall potential to carry out the project successfully and their pursued future career, and more informally suitability to the working atmosphere and team compatibility. You may be asked to present your Master thesis or discuss a pre-selected paper or write a one-page project proposal. The same evaluation criteria apply as with the written applications.
  4. The top ranked short list candidates for each position are discussed in within the SC, taking into account candidates per position and the overall distribution of candidates. The final short list consists of the most suitable candidates for each available position as well as 1-2 back up candidates (if available).
  5. The final candidates are invited to be appointed.

Ineligible, disqualified or rejected candidates are informed via an electronic letter as soon as possible, which may occur at different stages in the recruitment procedure.

Terms of employment

The selected candidates will be offered a full-time PhD position at the UMCU, initially for one year. Upon successful evaluation of the first year, the contract will be extended for three more years (total: 4 years). Your gross salary will be in line with the collective labour agreement of your employer. The full-time gross monthly salary ranges at the UMCU from € 2357 to start with in the first year, to € 3020 after 3 years.

The exact net salary will depend on your eligibility to receiving the 30% tax benefit. The 30% tax benefit cannot be guaranteed. The HR department will request for this benefit for you, after which the tax office will make a decision. Without the 30% tax benefit, the minimum net salary is approximately € 1,850 per month.

The salary is supplemented by a guaranteed end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and a holiday allowance of 8% of your yearly salary. We offer a pension scheme (partly paid by employer), collective insurance schemes, parental leave, travel allowance (home to work and for work purposes), and a flexible system of benefits (multiple choice model at UU/ a la carte model at UMCU/a menu system at Hubrecht). Facilities for sports and childcare are available. Check the UU website for more information about working at Utrecht University, and check the UMCU website for more information about working at the UMCU. 
The Hubrecht Institute is an KNAW institute (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences). Check their site working for the academy for more information about employment terms.
The mobility allowance is already included in the ESRs living allowance (salary). There is an internal individual training budget to attend external courses, conferences or workshops. Travel to the Partner Organisation and visa costs are financed by the project.

The consortium commits itself to adhere to the principles of the ‘Code of Conduct for the recruitment of researchers (2005) as stipulated by the European Union and the NVU Recruitment Code.

Researchers will be selected following an open, transparent, merit-based, impartial and equitable selection procedure. The presented PhD employment contracts are in line with the MSCA guidelines. In the Collective Labour Agreements of Dutch Universities (for UU and Hubrecht) and Dutch University Medical Centres (CAO-NU and CAO-UMC resp.), rules and regulations on e.g. parental leave are stated. Successful applicants will be assisted by the HR departments and if necessary the International Service Desk (ISD) relating to studying and working at the UMCU or UU.

UMC Utrecht Career website
Utrecht University Job Seekers website

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND grant agreement No 801540.