IMDEA Materials Institute launches the fourth call for the recruitment of final year and master students who wish to carry out a three month research internship (June to September 2017) in an international and multidisciplinary environment under the supervision of a senior scientist.


Ref. num. RIF 2017

Research Initiation Fellowships

IMDEA Materials (Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies of Materials) is a non-profit, independent research institute, promoted by the Regional Government de Madrid (Spain), to carry out research in Materials Science and Engineering. IMDEA Materials Institute is committed to excellence in research by attracting talent from all over the world and to foster technology transfer to the industrial sector in a truly international environment. More information about the activities of the Institute can be found at:


IMDEA Materials Institute is committed to three main goals: excellence in Materials Science and Engineering research, technology transfer to industry to increase competitiveness and maintain technological leadership, and attraction of talented researchers from all over the world to Madrid to work in an international and interdisciplinary environment.

Following these objectives, IMDEA Materials Institute launches this call for the recruitment of young university undergraduates and MSc students who wish to carry out a three month long research internship (between June and September 2017) in an international and multidisciplinary environment under the supervision of a senior scientist.

The topics for this call are (candidates must select and rank up to three research topics that they are interested in):  

1.    Data-driven Discovery of Advanced Materials
Identification of the optimal materials for a given application requires searches through the vast material space, comprising both already synthesized materials as well as predicted structures. Performing such searches requires an interdisciplinary approach combining material simulations, material informatics and Big Data science. This summer fellowship will give the student an opportunity to participate in such multidisciplinary work. To be accepted, the student must have prior experience in molecular modeling and/or chemoinformatics and/or computer programming.

2.    Multiscale modelling of the mechanical behavior of metallic materials
Metallic alloys are key Engineering materials in structural applications that involve high stresses and temperatures. The development of models with a physical basis that provide the alloy mechanical behavior as function of the composition, microstructure and loading conditions is fundamental for understanding the alloy behavior, improving the design using these materials and help in the development of new alloys.
The objective of this research topic is the development of numerical models based on the physics of the microscopic deformation mechanisms that link the mechanical behavior of an alloy with its microstructure. These models are based on different simulation techniques as Finite Element simulations, Molecular Dynamics or Dislocation Dynamics. The models of interest cover the elastic, plastic and damage behavior as well as the prediction of fatigue and creep response. The materials of interests area wide range covering from FCC metals to Mg, Ti, superalloys, etc.
This topic combines solid mechanics, physical metallurgy, numerical methods and programming. Both commercial software (i.e. abaqus) and home-made simulation tools wrtiten in fortran, python, C++ are used.

3.    Design and development of high performance fire-retardant polymers and nanocomposites
Flammability is an intrinsic nature for most polymeric materials, but it brings high fire risk to the society. The improvement of fire retardancy for polymeric material but maintains other properties (such as thermal stability and mechanical properties) is a very important research topic in the field of Materials Science and Engineering. The aim of this work is to develop next generation high performance fire safety polymers and nanocomposites by using multifunctional nanomaterials, eco-benign fire-retardant materials, including advanced polymer processing and varied fire tests. Also, this research aims to understand the fire behaviors and fire retardant mechanisms of these new fire safe materials by using the state of the art techniques. IMDEA Materials Institute has full facilities to carry out this research with success, such as polymer processing, functionalization of nanomaterials, fire testing, etc.

4.    High strain rate behavior of advanced high strength steels produced by quenching and partitioning.
High strain rate behavior of advanced high strength steels produced by quenching and partitioning.
The research will focus on high strain rate behavior of advanced high strength steels (AHSS) for automotive applications. The effect of microstructure on the impact behavior of AHSS will be studied. The principles of microstructural design to improve crashworthiness of AHSS will be outlined.

5.    Mechanical behavior of refractory materials.  
The project will be focused on the monotonous and cycling behavior of refractory materials used in furnaces for iron- and steel-making. The effect of defect structure on the deformation behavior of refractories under monotonous and cycling loading will be studied via in situ testing combined with digital image correlation analysis. Mechanisms of damage initiation will be investigated. Principles of microstructural design to improve the damage resistance of refractory materials will be outlined.

6.    Multiscale characterization of advanced materials.  
The understanding of materials, animals, fossils, objects, etc. has gradually increased aided by the development of methods that provide as complete and unbiased description of microstructure as possible. From the 3D microstructure, quantitative information in three dimensions can be retrieved using methodologies based on image analysis techniques. 3D data provides access to some very important geometric and topological quantities such us size, shape, orientation distribution of individual features and that of their local neighbourhood, connectivity between features and network, composition, etc. Some of these quantities cannot be determined a priori from classical stereological methods that use only 2D images or at the best only semi-quantitatively estimations are reached. Besides, the possibility to conduct in situ 3D characterization of dynamic experiments is expanding our view on fluid flow in porous systems, metal micromechanics or the architecture of food texture, to name a few.
In this project, the deformation mechanism and mechanical fatigue properties of HPDC AZ31 magnesium alloy will be examined using in situ observation of the bulk specimens using synchrotron X-ray microtomography, and 3D SEM-EBSD tomography to assess at different scales the deformation and damage mechanisms.

7.    Solidification Processing and Engineering  
Development of high temperature structural materials: Ni/Co-based superalloys for aeroengine applications, intermetallics for the next generation of turbine blades. Synthesis and electrochemical processing of metallic nanowires. Development of high-throughput techniques for accelerated screening of materials properties.  

8.    Design, testing and simulation of advanced composites
Advanced composite materials based on laminated plies of unidirectional glass and carbon fibres are being extensively used in the aeronautic sector. Although these materials promise large weight savings as the result of their high specific mechanical properties (elastic and strength), their application to aeronautical structures requires high level of engineering to work around issues related to stress concentrations. Two main sources of stress concentrations are ply interfaces, prone to delamination, holes for fasteners, or impact events likely to cause matrix damage and fibre failure. The fellow's project would be to design, test and simulate, by means of advanced finite elements, specimens that are representative of these situations for the purpose of composite materials design. IMDEA Materials has excellent experimental and computational resources that would allow the fellow to conduct this project with success.    

9.    Energy harvesting in structural materials
This project deals with the study of energy harvesting mechanisms arising from coupled mechanical deformation and charge storage in samples of carbon nanotube fibres. The long term objective is to produce a structural material that can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. The first part (3 weeks) involves adapting a tensile tester and electrochemical equipment for operation under controlled atmospheres. Next, the student will carry out in-situ experiments combining both mechanical and electrochemical stimuli (2 months). The material will be characterized by a range of techniques, mainly Raman spectroscopy and electron microscopy. This experimental project is suited for students with a degree in engineering or physical chemistry or similar discipline, and with an interest in materials science.    

10.    Computational design of metamaterials
Metamaterials, i.e., artificial materials where not only the chemical composition is designed but also their micro-structure, are becoming increasingly popular since many can now be manufactured using 3D printing techniques. Simulation can help to select the most useful metamaterials, since one could explore many combinations and geometries with minimum effort, prior to manufacturing, predicting their micro and macro behavior. The goal of this fellowship is to develop a computational tool for exploring truss-like metamaterials. By combining cellular design and nonlinear finite element models of rods, the tool should be able to generate and simulate the mechanical behavior of a generic class of metamaterials. The researcher will have access to the simulation codes of IMDEA Materials and the computer cluster.  
11.    Bio-inspired materials for hybrid optoelectronics
One of the contemporary research forefronts is the development of optoelectronics following the “green photonics” concept, that is, to develop eco-friendly and highly stable optical systems for generating clean energy and for creating energy-efficient lighting and display devices. This is fueled by the fact that nature has already selected and optimized materials and structures via an evolution process. In our group, the fellow’s work will involve the preparation as well as the spectroscopic and morphological characterization of protein-based materials with a high-end in solar cells, single-point light-emitting diodes, and displays.

12.    Nanoscale Engineering of 2 Dimensional Electrode Materials
Nanomaterials are often fascinating in the area of electrochemical energy storage due to their excellent physical and chemical properties. This short project will be focused on the development of 2D-transition metal oxide nanomaterials and their hybrids with graphene. We will then test these 2D electrodes as electrodes in Li and Na-ion batteries. Main goal of the project is the bottom-up designing of the 2D electrodes for improved performance and safety of current generation batteries.



Research Initiation fellowships at IMDEA Materials Institute are intended for undergraduate university students in their last year and MSc students in any scientific discipline (physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, etc.) or engineering from any nationality (provided they hold a valid visa and/or residence permit).


First Stage. The applicants will submit their registration together with the required documents and will receive an automatic confirmation of reception.
Second stage. Applicants will be assessed by a selection committee formed by HR and the institute’s Technical committee according to the following criteria:




Excellent academic record

 0-30 points

Academic records

Academic progress / study abroad / internships

Awards and prizes

Command of English

0-15 points

Language certificates / interview

Motivation of the applicant

0-15 points


A shortlist of twelve candidates will be interviewed by the Technical Committee. Among them four candidates will be selected considering the academic record, command of English, motivation and alignment of qualifications with the research topic.
Third Stage. The selected fellows will be informed and a list of the fellowships awarded will be published in IMDEA Materials Institute website. Acceptance of the fellowship is required within one week.


Deadline for applications: 24th of March
Communication of fellowships awarded: 18th of April
Starting date: June-July


  • A gross stipend of 600 € per month.
  • The fellowships will have a maximum duration of 3 months and will require to sign a placement agreement with the fellow’s university.
  • The fellowships are awarded for full time training.


  • The awarded students accept the regulations and conditions of the research initiation fellowship as well as those that IMDEA Materials Institute will establish for the student, the technical supervision, and the justification of the public funds received.     
  • Fellowships will come into effect when awarded students join the institute. Incorporation at a later date will require the authorization of IMDEA Materials Institute. Failure to do so will be understood as resignation and will result in the withdrawal of all rights.   
  • Awarded students are required to present their work at the end of their internship. The presentation must have a duration of ten to fifteen minutes and will be open to all IMDEA personnel.
    Awarded students are required to submit a report within one month of completing the fellowship. The final report should describe the work undertaken and must be signed by the research supervisor.
  • Awarded students will acknowledge the support from these fellowships in any publications and/or presentations of the research activities supported by the fellowship.  

Any infringement of these conditions will result in the cancellation of an award already made without prejudice to any other legal action which may be taken.

During the first day, my expectations changed completely for the better. I was enrolled in a real project, with real meetings, and with other many researchers. JG, 2015 Fellow

There are a lot of students from around the world working in very different topics and they show you what they are doing, so you can learn things at any moment. MV, 2015 Fellow

Starting in a new place with workmates who treat you like a friend from the first day make easier everything. CG, 2016 Fellow

Rather than having a secondary role in a particular project, I was given the opportunity to be the main developer […]. I am overall very happy with the results of my effort, as I have contributed positively to the group and some of my work might even be published in the coming year. IL, 2016 Fellow