Become one of 13 Marie Curie PhD students at TRANS-SENIOR, an Innovative Training Network funded by the European Union.


Hoping to do a PhD abroad?
Willing to shape the future of care for senior citizens?
Attracted by the idea of obtaining a PhD degree from two universities?
Then please apply for a PhD studentship within TRANS-SENIOR!

Many senior citizens face transitions between care settings (e.g. at discharge from hospitals, when moving into a care home, or when seeking emergency care). Care transitions come with a risk of negative health and quality of care consequences, and should be avoided or optimised when possible. This requires capacity building on the interface of science, policy and care innovation. 

The TRANS-SENIOR Innovative Training Network builds capacity for tackling a major challenge facing European long-term care systems: the need to improve care for an increasing number of care-dependent senior citizens by avoiding unnecessary transitions and optimising care transitions that are actually needed. 

The TRANS-SENIOR research programme aims to: 1) generate evidence on when and where avoiding care transitions is possible, 2) generate evidence for the benefits of innovative transitional care models, and 3) generate evidence for methods for actively involving senior citizens and informal caregivers in care innovation, and inform future sustainable implementation of interventions that avoid or improve care transitions. 

TRANS-SENIOR is in the process of recruiting  13 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs, also referred to as PhD students). Each will work at a beneficiary institution with a 36-months contract, and will work towards a joint or double degree at two universities within the TRANS-SENIOR network. Each ESR will receive additional training and undergo secondments at academic and/or non-academic partner organisations within the network.

Details regarding all 13 ESRs can be found below. Currently only one vacancy remains.

How to apply

Candidates can send their applications to: 

Previous deadlines for applications were 20 September 2018 and 31 December 2018.
The deadlines for applications for each ESR are mentioned in the details of that particular ESR. See Vacancies - Research Projects.

All applications should include the following:

  • Letter of motivation, including preferences for one or more of the ESR projects (max. 2 pages)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Copies of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree certificates, including an appendix (‘transcript’) explaining the training program elements and grades obtained (if not in English: both original versions and English translations of documents required)
  • Potential language certificates and other relevant certificates
  • Contact details of two referees
  • A link to a Personal Statement video of (less than) two minutes (recommended, not mandatory) 

TRANS-SENIOR will use all application materials for the process of selecting candidates only. For this purpose, application materials may be distributed to members of the selection committee and administrative staff, yet while respecting privacy and ensuring secure storage of documents at all times. Agreement with this approach will be assumed from submitting an application.

Eligibility criteria

Candidates from any nationality – including non-EU countries- are welcome to apply. The following criteria apply to all candidates:

· We expect applicants to be highly motivated for working towards a PhD ànd for the overall TRANS-SENIOR purposes;

· Applicants should hold a master’s degree relevant to the project(s) they apply for (see links to the individual projects for specifications);

· Applicants should not have been awarded a PhD degree;

· At the time of recruitment, applicants should have less than four (full time equivalent) years of experience within a research career;

· Applicants should not have resided or carried out his/her main activity in the country of the recruiting institute for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to the recruitment;

· Proficiency in written and spoken English (B2 level or equivalent);

· Willingness to learn the local language of the host institution;

· Good communication and human relationship skills, demonstrable capacity in organizing and managing projects and working in a team.

Additional criteria can apply for each of the 13 projects (see links to individual projects for specifications).


TRANS-SENIOR training programma 

In order to deliver 13 health care innovators, TRANS-SENIOR will: 

  • Guide all ESRs towards a joint or double PhD degree from two universities
  • Train ESRs in the systematic development and evaluation of healthcare interventions 
  • Equip ESRs with skills and experience enabling them to effectively involve senior citizens and informal caregivers in co-design of healthcare innovation
  • Teach theoretical and practical implementation science, focusing on care innovations
  • Make ESRs comfortable and effective in (non-)academic organisations through cross-sectoral secondments
  • Prepare ESRs for careers in both academic and non-academic settings through expert coaching, networking and the development of research and transferable skills
  • Stimulate knowledge exchange between ESRs and current care innovators through secondments and workshops

Job conditions

  • Full-time appointment for a period of 36 months
  • Favourable remuneration according to EU standards
  • Enrolment in Doctoral Programs and TRANS-SENIOR Training Programme
  • Secondments at other organisations
  • Starting dates are variable for the vacancies; see under the specific ESR vacancies

Research projects

ESR10 (Ben Gurion University, IL) - Involvement: how best to engage senior citizens and their informal caregivers - CURRENTLY VACANT

ESR10 – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er Sheva, Israel 

Involvement: how best to engage senior citizens and their informal caregivers

Deadline application: March 25, 2020

Project leaders:
Prof. Dr. Moriah Ellen
Department of Health Systems Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er Sheva, Israel

Objective of the project:
To identify best practices in senior citizen and informal caregiver involvement and to evaluate alternative involvement approaches.

Expected results:

  • The work of ESR10 will produce an overview of best practices for the involvement of senior citizens and their informal caregivers in shaping innovative care
  • The project will further provide results for the comparative effects of alternative methods for enabling involvement of senior citizens and their informal caregivers. These results will provide generic key information for future care innovation, where involvement is increasingly strived for, but where methods development and related evaluations are very rare.


  • Academic secondment & Joint degree university:
    KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Theo van Achterberg

  • Non-academic secondment:
    Place & time to be decided

Specific eligibility criteria:

  • Master’s degree in Public Health, Health Policy, Health Systems, Health Management, Political Sciences or similar Master’s degree relevant to the project
  • Must have completed a thesis-based Masters
  • In line with Ben-Gurion University’s regulations, high grades for the Master’s degree and the Master’s thesis are desirable, and a factor in the selection process
  • Experience with qualitative research, systematic reviews and/or evidence informed policymaking preferred
  • Desirable: able to communicate in Hebrew
  • Start-date: before or on May 1st, 2020. We have EU-MSCA funding for two years and five months, and an outlook on another funding scheme after that. Combined this makes a total of maximum 48 months.


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