ICN2 PhD Programme Why the ICN2?

A rewarding scientific experience a stone’s throw from Barcelona


19 research groups addressing different challenges
through the common lens of nano

Our group leaders and senior scientists have a long history of supervising PhD students. An average of 10 PhD theses are defended each year, with our students going on to pursue their passion at prestigious research institutes around the world. Others still move into industry, or work at one of the institute’s spin-off companies.

Not only are we a stone’s throw from Barcelona, but we share our location on the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona campus with other recognised centres of excellence in related disciplines, like the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) and the National Centre of Microelectronics (CNM). We also have strong ties with the nearby ALBA synchrotron radiation facility and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC).

Research at the ICN2 is supported by a specialist Research Support Division, which is home to multiple microscopes and scanning facilities, and provides a range of advanced services to enable the development of bespoke experiments and materials. It is also responsible for the ICN2 Nanofabrication Facility, an in-house cleanroom-type facility, and the ICN2 Bio Lab.

The ICN2 organises regular scientific seminars by researchers from around the world in an intimate setting that promotes discussion and direct interaction with the speaker. It also organises the Manual Cardona Lecture series, which attracts field leaders to the region. Not to mention the several thematic international workshops and conferences organised each year by the different ICN2 groups.

Several ICN2 group leaders and other members are involved in largescale European research initiatives like:

  • Graphene Flagship, Europe’s biggest ever research initiative, the ICN2 has representatives within the biomedical applications and spintronics work packages.
  • Photonics21, a European Technology Platform that unites many of the leading photonics industries and R&D stakeholders.
  • Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme, another European initiative to lead the exploration of future technologies that matter for our future.
  • MaX, one of nine European Centres of Excellence for High Performance Computing applications, in this case applied to the design of materials at the exascale.
  • Excite, a European network of science centres and museums that aims to foster critical thinking and embolden citizens to engage with science.

The ICN2 is also a member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), the Agency for the Research Centres of Catalonia (CERCA), the Barcelona Nanotechnology Cluster and the SOMM Alliance of nationally recognised centres of excellence.

All of these alliances contribute to the experiences the ICN2 can offer its PhD students, from training to projects to networking events.

The ICN2 is a place where fundamental research, applied science and efforts to bring technology innovations to market all receive strong support. Under the first Severo Ochoa grant, our researchers patented 10 discoveries, participated in the creation of five spin-off companies and took three products to market. Since then our Strategy Development, and Business and Innovation teams have only grown in size and ambition. Maybe your contribution will lead to another ICN2 discovery breaking out of the lab?

And of course no PhD experience would be complete without a few quiz nights and hiking trips in the local Collserola mountain range. The ICN2 organises annual padel, ping pong and tennis tournaments, seasonal cocktails… Or why not join our running club? The intranet also has a forum where members can suggest activities to others looking for weekend plans.

Aerial view of Barcelona from Mediterranean by Bearfotos