”la Caixa” Foundation grants 15 postdoctoral fellowships for researchers of any nationality to carry out a research project in a STEM discipline at any university or research centre in Spain or Portugal.

Key points

  • 15 fellowships to carry out a postdoctoral research project at any university or research centre in Spain or Portugal.

  • STEM disciplines (life sciences, experimental sciences, physics, chemistry, engineering, technology and mathematics).

  • Maximum duration: 3 years.

  • Maximum amount: €305,100.

  • Programme of training in multidisciplinary skills.

Requirements of the call

Researchers of any nationality are eligible for the Retaining modality of the Postdoctoral Junior Leader Fellowships. To be eligible for admission, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Experience: have been awarded a PhD between two and seven years prior to the closing date of the call. The date of obtaining the PhD will be understood as the date the doctoral thesis is defended. Special deadlines apply for candidates with interrupted research careers.

    Candidates must have carried out research stays at a centre or university outside Spain (or outside Portugal for those joining a Portuguese centre), during their doctoral or postdoctoral studies, for a total of at least 6 months before the closing date of the call.

  • Mobility:

    For candidates interested in Spanish centres or universities: candidates must have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the three years immediately preceding the closing date of the call.

    For candidates interested in Portuguese centres or universities: candidates must have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Portugal for more than 12 months in the three years immediately preceding the closing date of the call.

    Special deadlines will apply for candidates with interrupted research careers and for those who've gone through the process to obtain refugee status under the Geneva Convention.

  • Complete application: only candidates whose application meets all the requirements of the call may be admitted.

You can apply for a Postdoctoral Junior Leader fellowship through ”la Caixa” Foundation's fellowship application website.

If you'd like to be notified when the next call begins, sign up!

For any suggestions or doubts, you can contact: fellowships@fundacionlacaixa.org.

The selection process is made up of three consecutive phases:

  • Phase 1 - Eligibility

    All applications are reviewed provided they meet the eligibility requirements described in the programme guidelines.

  • Phase 2 - Preselection

    • Excellence of the CV (50 %): the professional CV will be evaluated in line with the stage of the candidate's career. The relevance and contributions made by the candidate in articles published in scientific journals (citations, impact indexes,...), books or chapters in scientific and technical books, papers presented at conferences, patents granted or licensed and, in general, any other contribution that helps to evaluate different aspects of the research will be taken into account.

    • Motivation and statement of purpose (35 %): the originality, innovation and potential impact of the proposed project will be evaluated, as well as the appropriateness of the research centre and/or line of research chosen.

    • Letters of recommendation (15 %): letters of recommendation supporting the application will be evaluated taking into account the specificity of their content with respect to the candidate, as well as the profile of the people recommending the candidate.

  • Phase 3 - Selection interviews

    • Academic and professional career (50 %): contributions made to the field chosen for the research project presented will be evaluated, as well as the coherence of the candidate's academic background and CV.

    • Candidate's potential (30 %): the candidate's potential will be evaluated, paying particular attention to multidimensional skills such as their clarity and consistency of speech and how they express ideas, their ability to present complex reasoning, teamwork, capacity for independent reasoning, originality, entrepreneurship and leadership.

    • Motivation and impact of the proposal (20 %): the conceptual and methodological innovation of the proposal presented will be evaluated, as well as its impact, understood in the broadest sense. For instance, the capacity of the project submitted to contribute towards transformation and improvement, in areas such as the economy and creation of wealth, society, culture, science, quality of life of citizens, environment or public policies.


Each year, the Fellowship Programme benefits from the collaboration of a large number of experts from different disciplines who are involved in evaluating applications to ensure rigour and transparency in the selection process.

If you're interested in forming part of our database and would like to be involved in evaluating future fellowship calls, please contact us by sending an email to fellowships.evaluators@fundaciolacaixa.org long with your CV in PDF format or a link to the website where this can be found.

Documents of interest

Programme guidelines Junior Leader Retaining 2023

All the information you need regarding the details of this fellowship, the application and selection process.

Boletín Oficial del Estado (Official State Gazette)

Call for applications published in the BOE.

(Only in Spanish)

Retaining fellows 2023

List of fellows and statistics of the programme.

Documents of interest regarding the evaluation process

Code of conduct for evaluators

Rules of conduct in the preselection and selection processes.

Selection process guidelines

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847648.