VAGABOND Consortium: 15 PhD Projects

VAGABOND Consortium: 15 PhD Projects

Published Deadline Location
22 Oct 30 Nov Utrecht

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Job description

Pre-clinical drug development for paediatric cancer is very complex, resource intensive and requiring multi-disciplinary expertise and innovative approaches. “VAGABOND Validation of Actionable Genomic ABerrations in a paediatric Oncology Network for Doctorate students” aims to create a multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral program to validate new therapeutic interventions in paediatric cancer.

The program is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network) and offers 15 fully funded PhD positions. The successful candidates will be hosted by a member of a European Consortium of universities, research institutions and companies in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France.

This network is coordinated by the Princess Máxima Center and will be sustainable embedded in the ITCC (Innovative Treatments for Children with Cancer) Consortium. The VAGABOND ITN will focus on 15 cutting-edge research projects studying molecular, epigenetic and immunological targets. All projects will (partly) include target identification, in vitro and in vivo validation, compound testing and preparation for clinical implementation. The Princess Máxima Center will offer 3 PhD positions in the research groups of Dr. Jan Molenaar (Coordinator), Prof. Dr. Monique den Boer and Dr. Jarno Drost.

For more information about the positions:


Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology


This consortium will highly stimulate international education and multi- disciplinary exchange of expertise in the different steps of pre-clinical drug development. This setting provides an opportunity for a unique European training network in which Early Stage Researchers (ESRs, PhDs) are equipped with a broad knowledge in pre-clinical drug development. Through this network PhD students will gain access to other leading academic research groups, specialized multi-sectoral companies and the most innovative techniques and insights in the complexity of translational medicine to prepare them for future challenges in their career pathway. In this collaboration we will increase the commune expertise on tumour types and technical expertise for target validation. This will improve the implementation of interventions across paediatric cancer and strongly reduce the timeline from bench to the bedside.

PhD position 1 (Utrecht): Immune interventions from scRNAseq analysis from debulked neuroblastoma tumours

PhD position 2 (Utrecht): Synergy between precision medicines/repurposed drugs and conventional chemotherapy to outsmart precursor B-cell leukaemia and lymphoma

PhD position 3 (Utrecht): Epigenetic processes underlying paediatric renal and rhabdoid tumourigenesis

PhD position 4 (Paris): The role of the SWI/SNF complex in paediatric cancers:

PhD position 5 (Paris): Targeting the surface-ome landscape of paediatric brain tumours

PhD position 6 (Heidelberg): R-loops in paediatric brain tumours

PhD position 7 (Heidelberg): Targeting the extracellular matrix (ECM) in therapy resistant paediatric tumours

PhD position 8 (Vienna): Druggable pathways in EMT-like transition of Ewing sarcoma

PhD position 9 (München): Targeting ATRX-deficient hepatoblastoma

PhD position 10 (Zurich): Targeting transcriptional core regulatory circuit by epigenetic dependencies

PhD position 11 (London): Development of therapies targeting the oncogenic and immunologic activity of MYCN in neuroblastoma

PhD position 12 (Berlin): CAR and TCR T cell therapy - competitors bundle forces. A combinational approach to prevent tumour escape by antigen loss.

PhD position 13 (Bologna): Exome-associated miRNAs as circulating biomarkers of chemotherapy resistance in bone tumours (Ewing Sarcoma and Osteosarcoma): Liquid Biopsy and in vitro studies

PhD position 14 (Gent): Preclinical validation of DNA copy number driven non-mutated dependency genes RRM2 and BRIP1 as novel drug targets in neuroblastoma

PhD position 15 (Utrecht): In-depth anti-tumour reactivity against haematological and solid tumour cells of αβ-Tcells engineered to express a defined γδTCR (TEGs)

VAGABOND website:

Conditions of employment

  • Get the opportunity to work with scientist from leading European industrial partners and academic institutes in the area of paediatric oncology
  • International networking opportunities
  • 2 intersectional (academic and non-academic) secondments of 3 months each
  • 4 summerschools and 3 specialized interim courses offering scientific and transferable skills
  • Personal development program BeyondU for a personal transformational experience towards resilient and confident leaders of the future
  • The world-wide most important industry recognized Project Management Professional (PMP) certification given by the Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • High quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree from a major European university
  • A competitive salary, travel allowance and family allowance (if applicable)
  • Appointment for a period of minimum 36 months
  • A journey in which you get all opportunities to reach your full potential and accelerate your career in paediatric oncology!


Princess Máxima Center

Around 600 children in the Netherlands get cancer every year, and one in four children who are diagnosed with cancer dies from this illness. Ten years ago, a group of parents and healthcare professionals started working towards one national children’s cancer center that could accelerate advances in treatment. Those efforts led to the creation of the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology: a unique center that brings together all the highly complex care and research for children with cancer in the Netherlands.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Health; Natural sciences
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • CP VAGABOND Consortium


Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology

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Heidelberglaan 25, 3584 CS, Utrecht

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