Vacancy scientific researcher H2020 project EarLy dEtection of cerVical cAncer in hard-to-reach populations of women through portable and point-of-care HPV Testing (ELEVATE)

Open until:  January 4th 2019
Department: Ghent University - ICRH
Type of contract: Scientific collaborator contract, 100%
Degree: Master’s degree in biochemistry, biotechnology, biology, bioscience engineering or biomedical sciences
Starting date: asap
Project duration: 5 years

1.ELEVATE project

Cervical cancer is the 4th most common cancer in women world. The ELEVATE project is undertaken by a multidisciplinary team comprising manufactures and experts from Europe and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. The ELEVATE project aims to improve the global adequacy and coverage of cervical cancer screening, particularly to specific populations of women that by not being regularly screened (hard-to-reach populations) are at higher-risk to develop cervical cancer. Although cervical cancer is still the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, with up to 85% of the burden occurring in developing countries, preventive vaccination against human papillomavirus and early detection of pre-cancer in screening programs has shown to be successful in reducing cancer incidence and mortality. However, different challenges hamper a global implementation of such programs and are in the base of women’s non-attendance to screening. This highlights the lack of consideration for ethnic, cultural and resource differences in current cervical cancer screening programs. ELEVATE will to conduct social science investigations to identify hard-to-reach women in Belgium, Brazil, Ecuador and Portugal, to address their barriers to screening and to design strategies to make primary screening more accessible to them, and therefore, contribute to reduce the global burden of cervical cancer. This will be complemented with fundamental and technological research to develop an efficient and marketable test for the combined genomic and proteomic detection of high-risk HPV infections in those populations. The test will be made portable, low-cost, compatible with self-sampling, and point-of-care in order to generate rapid and easy-to-understand results, without relying on electrical outlets or trained health personnel. An integral part of the proposal is also to infer and disseminate the societal, economic implications of the developed strategies using a hard-to-reach community-based participatory research.


We are looking for a motivated candidate to join our team. The candidate will manage the day-to-day research of the UGent/ICRH partner in the ELEVATE project. The candidate will have core responsibility for the HPV genomic detection and HPV test design. In addition, the candidate will participate in all other work packages, including managing the following research at the Belgian research site: identify hard-to-reach populations for cervical cancer screening, collect economic data on cervical cancer screening, and manage the pilot study of the new HPV test.



Candidates for this function should have the following:

  • Wet lab experience in molecular biology and particularly in PCR assay design/optimization is required.
  • Theoretical knowledge of cervical cancer diagnostics, cervical cancer screening and HPV is a plus.
  • Strong interest in women’s health and sociological studies on how to make health more accessible to women worldwide.
  • Interest in optimizing and developing new technologies for making cancer screening/diagnostics more rapid, easy, cost effective, portable and point-of-care to reach the populations from developing countries and hard-to-reach communities from developed countries.
  • Good communication and writing skills in English.
  • Ability to work independently, as well as functioning as part of a multidisciplinary and multicultural team, with partners from Latin America and European countries.
  • Scientific maturity, independence, creativity, and a can-do attitude.
  • Strong project management skills.

The following qualities are desired but not required of candidates:



More information about the vacancy: Katrina Perhudoff (
Applications with motivation letter and cv should be sent to, as soon as possible and at the latest at January 4th 2019. Selection interviews will take place in the second week of January.