ESA-ITN PhD positions

Sepsis, a severe life-threatening infection with organ dysfunction, initiates a complex interplay of host pro- and anti-inflammatory processes. It affects ~18 million individuals worldwide and has a very high mortality rate. Sepsis can be considered a race to the death between the pathogens and the host immune system. Key priorities in treating sepsis are 1) recognising 'sepsis' as such, 2) identification of the source and type of the infection, 3) identification of the stage of disease and 4) initiation of early targeted treatment.

The european Sepsis Academy (ESA-ITN) aims to develop and validate the pathological insights, biomarker diagnostics and clinical trial models that can enable development and implementation of personalised treatment strategies targeted at the immunosuppressive phase of sepsis. Therefore ESA-ITN focuses on three subjects:

1. Pathogenesis: To describe the pathogenesis of sepsis-induced immune suppression at the level of immune regulatory molecules and DNA methylation
2. Discovery: To identify and validate biomarkers that can be used for clinical diagnosis and monitoring of sepsis-induced immune suppression
3. Development: To prepare and optimise high-potential diagnostic technology platforms for use in diagnostic procedures in sepsis and test innovative clinical trial designs.

ESA-ITN is a consortium of high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Greece, the United kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, USA and The Netherlands and offers an extensive sepsis-oriented joint training programme to PhD students which are also called early-stage researchers (ESRs) within this programme. The individual research projects are embedded in leading institutes and companies in the field. Interactions within the network are strengthened by (industry) internships abroad that allow the ESRs to understand operations in various sectors and learn to think both as scientist as well as business professionals.

Additionally, a spectrum of courses and training opportunities at different levels will allow the ESRs to master advanced research methodologies and technologies that are crucial for sepsis research, make use of state-of-the-art infrastructure and work directly with leading experts in one of the focal fields. Furthermore, ESRs will be trained in generally applicable skills that are crucial in science and business.

Applications are invited for 15 PhD positions (“Early Stage Researchers”) to be funded by the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “ESA-ITN – European Sepsis Academy – Innovative Training Network” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission. Number of positions available : 15 PhD positions

Information on all positions is available on the website:

Application also via the website (under “vacancies”)


Sepsis – Biomarker development – Sepsis clinical diagnosis – Sepsis pathogenesis –Diagnostic technology platforms – Integromics

Career Stage

Early Stage Researcher (ESR), max 4 yrs post graduate

Benefits and salary

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) programme offers highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = 37.320 euro/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + Monthly mobility allowance = 600 euro. An additional monthly allowance of €500 is applicable depending on family situation. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

On-line Recruitment Procedure on