IMDEA Materials Institute launches the fifth call for the recruitment of final year and master students who wish to carry out a three month research internship (June to September 2018) in an international and multidisciplinary environment under the supervision of a senior scientist. Deadline for submissions: 08/04/2018.


Ref. num. RIF 2018

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 2018) 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. Design and development of high performance fire-retardant polymers and nanocomposites (Dr Wang)

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.

2. Multiscale characterization of advanced materials (Dr Sket)

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.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.

3. Processing, design, testing and simulation of advanced composites (Dr González & Dr Lopes)

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, their application to aeronautical structures requires high level of research and engineering. The fellow's project would be to process, design, test or simulate (by means of advanced finite elements), composites that are representative of aeronautical applications. IMDEA Materials has excellent experimental and computational resources that would allow the fellow to conduct this project with success.

4. Bio-inspired materials for hybrid optoelectronics (Dr Costa)

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.

5. Nanoscale Engineering of 2 Dimensional Electrode Materials (Dr Etacheri)

Two-dimensional nanomaterials are fascinating in the area of electrochemical energy storage due to their excellent Li and Na-ion storage performance. Main goal of the project is the bottom-up designing of the 2D electrodes composed of ultrafine building blocks (2-5 nm) for improved performance and safety of current generation batteries. Various spectroscopic and microscopic techniques will be employed for investigating the growth process and their functional properties. We will then test these hierarchical 2D electrodes as electrodes in Li and Na-ion batteries. Various electrochemical techniques including cyclic voltammetry, galvanostatic cycling and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy will be employed for investigating the Li and Na-ion storage performance and mechanisms.

6. Nanomechanical Study of Electrode Materials (Dr Molina & Dr Etacheri)

Nanostructured electrode materials are highly promising in the area of rechargeable batteries due to their improved electrochemical performance. However, their nanomechanical properties are not yet systematically investigated. Mechanical stability of the electrode materials is critical for superior Li and Na-ion storage, especially for conversion and alloying type electrodes where the active material experience up to 300% volume change. Main goal of the project is the nanomechanical characterization of transition metal oxide based conversion type electrode materials. Nanostructured electrode materials with 1-D, 2-D and hierarchical microstructure will be synthesized through a bottom-up assembly technique. Nanomechanical properties of the composite electrodes containing the active electrode materials will be performed at various charge-discharge (lithiation-delithiation) states.

7. Real time X-ray imaging of metal microstructure formation and evolution (Dr Tourret & Dr Sket)

This project will focus on the development of a lab-sized furnace for in situ X-ray observation of a metal solidifying under well-controlled condition – such as fixed temperature gradient and cooling rate. The student will start with a currently existing furnace dedicated to X-ray in situ observation of microstructure evolution. The furnace will need to be adapted – e.g. modifying the location and/or control of heating elements – so as to provide the most controlled solidification conditions, and enable the observation of microstructure development under clearly identified conditions.
Solidification processes, such as casting, welding, and additive manufacturing, lead to a wide variety of materials microstructures, which in turn crucially influence the properties, performance, and often lifespan of technological parts. Being able to observe and understand how these microstructures – and the associated defects – form is crucial to developing new materials and new industrial processing technologies. Crystal growth from the liquid phase has long been impossible to observe in metallic materials. However, in recent years, the development of powerful and coherent X-ray sources has established X-ray radiography and tomography as methods of choice for imaging phase transformations in metallic alloys, opaque to visible light. Being able to visualize the microstructure as it forms allows a key insight into how materials defects are initiated – for instance by witnessing the fragmentation of semi-solid structures and allowing a quantitative statistical study of such events.

8. Computational simulation of powder-bed additive manufacturing of metals. (Dr Romero & Dr Tourret)

Additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing – is progressively changing the way we are making things. The technology is already dramatically impacting medical fields (particularly dentistry and prosthetics), as well as aeronautics and automotive industries. Yet, additive manufacturing (AM) of metals still holds a large number of challenges. Outstanding challenges for instance include predicting the influence of the alloy composition, processing parameters, and part design, upon the final distribution of defects, the resulting properties, performance, and fatigue life of a component.
This project will focus on the implementation of computational tools for simulating AM using selective laser melting technology – the vastly predominant technology used in AM of metals. Developments will be made within IMDEA in-house finite element code applied to solid continuum thermomechanics. Tasks will involve implementing: direct reading for laser trajectories from current AM data format standards; different mathematical formulations for the moving heat source (i.e. the laser); and different representations of the surrounding unfused powder (e.g. as porous medium, etc.). These developments will set the stage for the development of a computationally efficient, predictive simulation tool for metal AM, which will be used to predict residual stresses, part distortions, and microstructural defects in aeronautical parts for turbine jet engines.

9. Energy storage in low dimensional nanocarbon networks (Dr Vilatela)

This project deals with the experimental study of low dimensional properties of carbon nanotube electrodes and their effect on energy storage/transfer mechanisms. It involves characterization of quantum (chemical) capacitance of eletrodes and its relation to the electronic properties of the nanocarbon network using by various methods, including Raman spectroscopy and electrochemical measurements. Through the assembly of selected energy storage the final project will relate low dimensional properties to basic energy storage/transfer mechanisms. This experimental project is suited for students with a degree in physics, engineering, physical chemistry or similar discipline, and with an interest in materials science.

10. Advanced multiphase steels with hierarchic microstructure for automotive applications (Dr Sabirov)

The project will be focused on novel advanced high strength steels (AHSS) with hierarchic microstructure for automotive applications. The effect of thermal treatment parameters on the microstructure and properties on macro- and micro-scales will be studied. Microstructure will be investigated using scanning and transmission electron microscopy and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) techniques. Properties on microscale will be studied by nanoindentation on individual microconstituents determined a priori by EBSD analysis. Properties on macroscale will be analyzed by tensile testing of subsize specimens. Principles of microstructural design to improve the mechanical response of the AHSS with hierarchic microstructure will be outlined.



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.


  • 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

During my stay in IMDEA I have not only met my initial expectations, but I have also found an exceptional human group in both researching and personal level. HN, 2017 Fellow

The experience was very useful for my carrier. In terms of resources, IMDEA has modern experimental equipments and there are many seminars. JW, 2017 Fellow