Academic Programmes

The CRG International PhD Programme is the flagship of the CRG’s commitment to training and is characterised by a combination of dedicated mentoring and scientific training to support early independence and creativity. The programme has been running for more than 10 years and is highly competitive, receiving around 400 applications from over 50 different countries and admitting 20-30 students every year.

In 2018, the International PhD Programme continued to attract talent from all over the world through the support of internal and external competitive funds. In addition to the annual CRG PhD Call, together with the IRB Barcelona, the VHIR and the IDIBAPS, we launched a new call of the training programme on research for medical doctors, called the PhD4MD programme, and we awarded two new fellowships. Six MDs are currently working on collaborative projects at the CRG.

The CRG Postdoc Programme enables junior researchers to work on highly collaborative and interdisciplinary projects across different groups and units at the institute. The Postdoc Programme is currently supported by a third grant from the European Commission through its Marie Skłodowska-Curie H2020 COFUND Actions (INTREPiD, 2017–2022). The INTREPiD Programme enables collaborations with other academic institutions and industry, thus allowing postdocs to establish and maintain connections that will prove useful in building their careers beyond the CRG. Several research institutes, including the Institute Curie, the Research Institute of Vall d’Hebron (VHIR) and companies such as Novartis and Esteve joined the INTREPiD Programme as external partners.

The INTREPiD programme includes a training curriculum targeting non-scientific researcher skills – for example, research ethics, outreach and gender in science – and offering dedicated career development support. The second call of the programme opened in June 2018 and we recruited five new fellows. Overall, INTREPiD supports eleven fellows of seven different nationalities (Polish, Argentinean, Spanish, Italian, German, United States and Brazilian).

Finally, the 6th edition of the International CRG Summer Internship Programme for undergraduate students was launched in January 2018. We awarded five internships to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to conduct research at the CRG over the summer (countries of origin: Russia, the United States, Italy, Spain and India).

The CRG also has several active partnerships with Master programmes to host students for a research-intensive internship: the Pompeu Fabra University, the University of Barcelona and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, among others.

The CRG continues to contribute to the development and implementation of the UPF/BIST Master of Multidisciplinary Research in Experimental Sciences. In 2018, three students obtained the fellowship to carry out Masters at the CRG. A new edition of the Master is currently open.

Training programmes

In autumn 2018, the CRG inaugurated a new dedicated training centre that features fully-equipped bioinformatics facilities and general training and seminar rooms. The CRG is one of the few institutes that has both dry lab and wet lab facilities entirely devoted to advanced scientific training and outreach activities.

The CRG Advanced Training Programme included several new high-level international courses within the framework of Courses@CRG, as well as a more extensive offering of internal scientific courses and workshops. As in previous years, the courses organised by the CRG were open to both local and international scientific communities and delivered high-quality training in the latest scientific breakthroughs and technologies.

In 2018, the CRG Training Unit co-organised and delivered four high-quality Courses@CRG, and two EMBO courses, which were attended by 124 participants and 37 instructors and speakers from research institutes in 30 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and the USA.

  • Courses@CRG: Tissue Engineering: From stem cells to organoids (L. Batlle)
  • Courses@CRG: FOLDX: In silico protein engineering: From modeling to docking (L. Serrano, L. Radusky, J Delgado)
  • Courses@CRG: Nextfow-18: Reproducible in silico genomics (P. Di Tommaso, C. Notredame, E. Flowden)
  • Courses@CRG: Chromatin and gene regulation: From gene to genome folding (M. Beato, G. Vincenc)-organized en Argentina
  • EMBO: Practical Course: iCLIP (E. Bechara)
  • EMBO: Targeted Proteomics: Experimental design and data analysis (E. Sabido)

The Courses@CRG attracted sponsorships and partnerships from Amazon, Werfen, The Company of Biologists, Leica, Nikon, Sigma Aldrich, Stem Cell Technologies and Thermo Fisher.

A key highlight in 2018 was the development of a rich portfolio of internal courses focusing on scientific and technology skills and transferable skills, research integrity and career coaching. Internal training has opened up new opportunities for trainers and trainees alike. Technicians, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers gained experience in teaching and sharing their knowledge and expertise with the rest of the CRG community, while participants benefited from the wide range of training activities offered throughout the year. The 35 workshops straddled all levels of scientific careers, from undergraduate students to group leaders, and were attended by almost 500 participants from CRG, CNAG-CRG and EMBL.

Twenty-three (23) Scientific & Technical workshops: Linux, Cluster, Bioinformatics, Statistics programming in R, Software in the cluster) were attended by 277 CRG and CNAG-CRG attendees.

Since May 2017, an online Research Integrity course has been mandatory for all newcomers at the CRG. It consists of interactive modules, quizzes and short video tutorials on ethics and research integrity. In 2018, we designed and integrated six new interactive modules on RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) into the initial course for all first-year PhD students. In addition, we continuously provide training on Electronic lab notebook (ELN) for all new PhD students and wet lab scientists.

More than 150 CRG and CNAG-CRG students, postdocs, technicians and PIs attended 9 courses furthering their skills in science communication, project management, leadership and entrepreneurship.

“Learning by doing” (Internships@CRG) is an initiative to enable CRG researchers to do an internship in different CRG management departments in order to glean practical experience in managing scientific projects, science communication and organising events and trainings for scientists, high school teachers and a general audience. We recruited eight researchers in the following departments: ISA, Communication and Grants. This initiative enables early career researchers to develop and gain practical skills, which will undoubtedly be beneficial for their next career step.

PhD Theses defended in 2018

Name Supervisor Date University Thesis  Project
Carolina Gallo Luis Serrano 11-01-18 UPF Determinants of growth rate in genome-reduced bacteria
Linus Manubens Mara Dierssen 18-01-18 UPF Computational and modelling approaches to multi-scale anatomical description of neuronal circuitry
Marc Corrales Guillaume Filion 19-01-18 UPF Text in context: chromatin effects in gene regulation
Laia Carreté Toni Gabaldón 23-01-18 UPF Population genomics of the emerging yeast pathogen Candida glabrata.
Mireia Ortega Mara Dierssen 23-01-18 UPF Elucidation of disease-related protein networks underlying Dyrk1A overexpression and pro-cognitive therapies in the hippocampus
Elena Martín Juan Valcárcel 24-01-18 UPF Control of G2/M cell cycle transition by a complex of the splicing factors SPF45/SR140/CHERP
Marcos Pérez Ben Lehner 30-01-18 UPF Inter-individual physiological variation in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
Laura Barba Susana de la Luna 22-06-18 UPF Chromatin-bound DYRK1A: promoter occupancy and implications in the regulation of ribosomal protein gene expression
Farners Amargant Isabelle Vernos 19-07-18 UPF Characterization of the human sperm centrosome and its role in (in)fertility
Marta Vives Eulàlia Martí 26-11-18 UPF Prenatal and postnatal exposure to tobacco smoking and molecular signatures in children
Evan Wade Floden Cédric Notredame 30-11-18 UPF Alignment uncertainty, regressive alignment and large scale deployment 
Bogumila Jagiello Sebastian Maurer 05-12-18 UPF Investigating protein complexes potentially governing microtubule-dependent MBP mRNA distribution
Javier Tapial Manuel Irimia 14-12-18 UPF Functional impact of alternative splicing on vertebrate proteomes across tissues and cell types
Marta Inglés Fàtima Gebauer 14-12-18 UPF Post-transcriptional regulation by UNR: insights into histone mRNA metabolism and cellular senescence
Krystal Timon Isabelle Vernos 18-12-18 UPF Spindle assembly and the control of microtubule nucleation through NEDD1 phosphorylation
Sebastian Ullrich Roderic Guigó 19-12-18 UPF Alternative mechanisms of gene regulation during hematopoiesis
Laura Domènech Eulàlia Martí 20-12-18 UPF A multiomics comprehensive approach towards understanding obsessive-compulsive disorder