Máxima Butterfly MSCA program: 28 PhD students

Máxima Butterfly MSCA program: 28 PhD students

Published Deadline Location
7 Dec 31 Jan Utrecht

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The MAXIMA-BUTTERFLY program is coordinated by the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology in Utrecht, the Netherlands, the largest pediatric comprehensive cancer center in Europe.

Job description

With the MAXIMA-BUTTERFLY program, we are laying the international foundation for further acceleration of pediatric oncological research, now and in the future. We do this by training the next generation of top level, multi-disciplinary scientists in the field of pediatric oncology and bringing them together with leading parties and experts in the sector. Our ultimate goal is to cure every child with cancer with optimal quality of life.

The program is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe program (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions) and offers 28 fully funded PhD positions.

The overall aim of the MAXIMA-BUTTERFLY program is to train a new generation of talented PhD students in pediatric oncology at the Princess Máxima Center and to undertake excellent research in one or more of the five research areas:

  • Brain Tumors
  • Hematologic Malignancies
  • Solid Tumors
  • Quality of Live
  • New Technologies.

To reach this goal we aim to:

1) Increase knowledge across pediatric cancer biology;

2) Enhance international collaborations and European Pediatric Networks;

3) Increase knowledge transfer and collaborations with industry;

4) Translate pre-clinical research to clinical trials.

Our research covers the entire spectrum: from fundamental research using cutting-edge technologies to understand genetic and molecular characteristics of tumor cells and to find new targets for therapy to tumor modelling to test improved treatment options and how to translate this to clinical trials. And from translational experiments to develop personalized therapies to psychosocial studies that monitor the wellbeing of the whole family. Collaborations within our center, between researchers and clinicians, but also collaborations and partnerships with other institutes, nationally and internationally, are crucial to reach our goals.

For a successful implementation and to achieve a radical change in the society, the work needs to be translated to the academic community, the industry, health policy makers, regulatory authorities, insurance companies, doctors, patients, patient advocates, and the general public. Therefore, the MAXIMA-BUTTERFLY program will train the next generation of multi-disciplinary scientists in the field of pediatric oncology.

This consortium will highly stimulate international education and multi-disciplinary exchange of expertise in pediatric oncology. Through this network PhD students will gain excellent access to other leading academic research groups in- and outside the Máxima Center, specialized multi-sectoral companies and the most innovative techniques and insights in the complexity of pediatric oncology to prepare them for future challenges in their career pathway. This will improve the implementation of interventions across pediatric cancer and strongly reduce the timeline from bench to the bedside.


Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology


  • A Master’s degree* (MSc) in biomedical sciences, medicine, pharmacy, bioinformatics, biotechnology or equivalent (or obtain MSc before October 1st 2023)
  • Depending on the project some additional requirements may apply (e.g. language, skills, etc.)
  • Excellent English language and communication skills
  • Willingness to relocate and reside abroad (The Netherlands) for at least 4 years including travel for secondments, training and project meetings
  • Eligible candidates must fulfil the mobility rule, i.e. they cannot have lived, studied or worked in in The Netherlands longer than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. The earliest possible recruitment date is June 1st 2023
  • Applicants should be available to start the PhD position at the latest on October 1st 2023.

* A Master’s degree from one of the countries that is member of the European Higher Education Area (ehea.info) or a degree that is equivalent to a Master’s degree within this system (if coming from outside the EHEA region).

Interested? Visit www.maximabutterfly.com for more information on the individual PhD positions, the different projects, and application details.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

A journey for 28 PhD students to reach full potential and accelerate career opportunities in pediatric oncology. In this program the PhD students will have the opportunity to work with scientist from leading European industrial partners and academic institutes in the area of pediatric oncology.

In more detail:

  • 28 PhD positions for the duration of 4-years in pediatric oncology at the Princess Máxima Center in Utrecht, including a competitive salary, travel allowance and family allowance (if applicable).
  • 52 different PhD projects to choose from, within one of our 26 participating research groups, ranging from fundamental to translational to clinical science, and involving all pediatric tumor types.
  • Multiple international networking opportunities.
  • 2 intersectional (academic and non-academic) secondments.
  • 4 summerschools and 3 winterschools offering a broad spectrum of scientific and transferable skills.
  • Additional courses will be offered by the graduate schools of the Utrecht University in which each PhD student will be enrolled.
  • Personal development program for a personal transformational experience towards resilient and confident leaders of the future.
  • High quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree from the Utrecht University.


  • PhD
  • Health; Natural sciences
  • University graduate
  • PA PM 20221207


Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology

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Heidelberglaan 25, 3512 JE, Utrecht

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