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Beca FPI

PhD Student Position funded from the Spanish Scientific program FPI-MICINN 2012

Within the frame of the "Subprograma de Proyectos de Investigación Fundamental no Orientada. Convocatoria 2011", of the Spanish Ministry of Sustainability and Innovation, a 4 year Ph.D. student position assigned to the multidisciplinary project “Multi-scale inference, monitoring, optimization and control: from engineered cells to bioreactors (MultiScaleS) (DPI2011-28112-C04-02)” is offered.

Project Summary:

Within the systems and synthetic bioprocesses context, MultiScaleS is devoted to provide systematic methods, tools and protocols for inference, real-time monitoring, optimization and feedback control of bio-systems by means of multi-scale strategies, spanning from micro (e.g. metabolic and genetic networks) to macro scales (e.g. population macroscopic dynamics as used in the context of bioreactors monitoring and control). MultiScaleS expected results will be instrumental to achieve end products inside specifications and optimal productivity while operating at intensified regimes. It is expected these results can also be applied within other industrial contexts characterized by muti-scale dynamics and coordination of dynamical agents.

MultiScaleS will focused on:

  • Further investigating, improving and exploiting topics concerning multi-scale model building and analysis methods and tools, including systematic model building and experimental design, grey modelling, scaling-up, inference in biological systems, and multicellular coordinated dynamics analysis.
  • Novel multi-scale optimization and control methods, including new metaheuristics for optimization and optimal control in metabolic engineering, optimal integrated design and control (steps towards synthetic biology), model- based software sensors (observers) accounting for multiple scales, bioreactor control considering the metabolic state and constraints, and control of cell interactions.
  • Application to biotechnological industrial production, with special emphasis on how low-level biological metabolic states can be controlled at the bioreactor level. Proof-of-concept on real industrial cases.

PhD Thesis Project

This PhD project deals with research into advanced multivariate methods for the analysis and monitoring of biochemical processes, with special focus on real-time technologies, dynamics, diagnostics and interpretation. Specific fields of interest include:

  • Multi-scale grey modelling of bioprocesses.
  • Exploratory biochemical data analysis.
  • Real-time data pre-processing
  • Real-time models, including appropriate statistical monitoring limits
  • Monitoring approaches for situations when limited training set data is available
  • Translation of out-of-control signals to operator actions
  • Transfer of monitoring models between manufacturing units
  • A rational approach for selecting the level of information required for process monitoring at the required level of confidence.

The candidate is expected to interact in a multidisciplinary team, comprising the GIEM group (multivariate statistical engineering) and GCSC (research group in Complex Systems Control) at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. The candidate will be anchored at the GIEM group (Valencia, Spain) with Alberto Ferrer as supervisor. During the PhD it is contemplated the candidate to do research stays with other research groups abroad.

The candidate is expected to use advanced multivariate statistical methods to develop methods and algorithms for the project. The ideal candidate should have a degree in engineering, statistics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics or equivalent discipline with good academic grades, and have some proficiency in programming languages (e.g. Matlab).


Please send the letter in English language, including a personal motivation, your academic grades and curriculum vitae, to Alberto Ferrer (aferrer @

Please, note that candidates must apply through the Spanish Ministry of Sustainability and Innovation website.

Calls for applications will be opened shortly.

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