PhD in Agricultural, Environmental and Food Science and Technology

Academic Year 2023-2024
Subject area Biological, Geological and Agricultural Sciences
Cycle 39
Coordinator Prof. Massimiliano Petracci
Language English
Duration 3 years

Application deadline: Aug 22, 2023 at 11:59 PM (Expired)

Second PhD Call for Applications, with scholarships funded by NRRP and other funds

Enrolment: From Sep 22, 2023 to Sep 28, 2023

Doctoral programme start date: Nov 01, 2023

39 PNRR PhD Call for Applications

Application deadline: Jun 20, 2023 at 11:59 PM (Expired)

PhD Call for Applications, with scholarships funded by NRRP and other funds

Enrolment: From Jul 31, 2023 to Aug 21, 2023

Doctoral programme start date: Nov 01, 2023

39 PNRR PhD Call for Applications
Operating centre
Main Department
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences - DISTAL
Research topics
  • Agronomy, Herbaceous Crops, Flowers and Vegetables Systems, Agricultural Genetics and Agricultural Chemistry
  • International Cooperation and Sustainable Development Policies
  • Microbial Ecology and Plant Pathology
  • Agricultural and Food Economics and Policy
  • Agricultural Entomology
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Food Science and Biotechnology
  • Animal Science
  • Tree Production Systems, Fruit, Forest and Ornamental Trees and Grape
  • Water-Food-Energy-Sustainable Agriculture Nexus
Job opportunities and potential areas of employment
With reference to the professional activities classified by ISTAT (Italian Institute for Statistics), for the doctoral students of STAAA PhD course different employment opportunities can be recognized in the field of intellectual, scientific and highly specialized job (Big Group II), or in general professions requiring a high level of knowledge and experience in the scientific sector, with the aim to carry out tasks which consist in enriching existing knowledge by promoting and conducting scientific researches, interpreting scientific theories, teaching them in a systematic way and applying them to the solution of concrete problems. The more specific reference is a specialist in the life sciences (2.3.1), with special regard with the broader field of agricultural, environmental and food sciences. The sectors and the types of employment include highly several opportunities: enterprises of the agri-food and environmental sector (and related fields such as the sector of technical products for agriculture), government, producer associations, schools, institutions of research (public and/or private), organizations operating in the field of technology transfer and innovation, organizations dealing with cooperation and development. Given the very broad field of employment, horizontal mobility for this professional figure takes the form of the possibility of moving to other roles in contexts similar to those in which it has gained some professional experience.
Admission Board

Appointed by RD n. 709/2023 Prot n. 149534 on Jun 02, 2023

Confirmed for Call for further PhD Positions
Rectoral Decree n. 1066/2023 Prot. n. 0226313 of 04/08/2023

Surname and Name University / Institution Role email
Burgio Giovanni Università di Bologna Member
Castellini Alessandra Università di Bologna Member
Dinelli Giovanni Università di Bologna Member
Mattetti Michele Università di Bologna Member
Petracci Massimiliano Università di Bologna Member
Ratti Claudio Università di Bologna Member
Romani Santina Università di Bologna Member
Spinelli Francesco Università di Bologna Member
Toscano Attilio Università di Bologna Member
Vittuari Matteo Università di Bologna Member
Accinelli Cesare Università di Bologna Substitute
Baraldi Elena Università di Bologna Substitute
Canavari Maurizio Università di Bologna Substitute
Capozzi Francesco Università di Bologna Substitute
Dall'Olio Stefania Università di Bologna Substitute
Falasconi Luca Università di Bologna Substitute
Magnani Federico Università di Bologna Substitute
Sgolastra Fabio Università di Bologna Substitute
Torreggiani Daniele Università di Bologna Substitute
Vannini Lucia Università di Bologna Substitute

* The following shall take part in the work of the Examination Board as expert members for positions linked to specific research topics:

  • Paola Viola - Apsovsementi S.p.A.
  • Milena Stefanova - ENEA - Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo
Learning outcomes

Thanks to its organization into 10 research topics, the STAAA PhD course provides the doctoral students with an in-depth knowledge and appropriate skills in the different branches of the agri-food sector. The goal is to prepare high profile experts able to carry out research, knowledge-transfer and management activities at the University, and in other public bodies or private companies. The educational path consists in a common program, aimed at providing the fundamental research enablers to every student to acquire an in-depth knowledge related to scientific communication, organization and functioning of the research. PhD students are trained with the basic knowledge for the planning and implementation of the individual research project, and the elaboration of the research results. During the 2nd year, the activities are focused on the development of individual research activities, while during the 3rd year students are advised to concentrate on the preparation of dissertation.

Activities to be carried out by Doctoral candidates

Doctoral students can carry out research activities at the different levels (farm, greenhouse, lab) as required by the specific topic chosen for their dissertation. The main instruments available for their researches, divided according to the different main scientific disciplines of the PhD course, include:

  1. Analytical chemistry: HPLC, LC-MS, GC, GC-MS, UV-VIS, IR and mass spectrometers, gel electrophoresis, TG-DTA, isotopic mass 13C/15N, FTIR, ICP-OES
  2. Food analysis: texture analyzer, calorimeters, pilot plant for the high pressure homogenization, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
  3. “-omics” studies: Real time PCR, DNA sequencers, PCR thermo-cyclers, microarray scanner, Abi-Prism 3100, Rotor Gene – 6000, Genomyx LR e SC, ultra-centrifuges, Nanodrop, DDGE-PCR
  4. Entomology, Plant pathology and Microbiology: laminar hoods, fermentation tools, autoclaves, incubators, optical and electronic microscopes
  5. Agricultural engineering: tools for the investigation of the interaction between the soil and agricultural machineries, pesticide dispensers, tools for the study of the physical-mechanic features of agricultural products, devices for the control of agricultural machineries
  6. Crop physiology: ion selective electrodes, micro-osmometer, chlorophyll meter, suction lisimeters, light scanner, devices for the measurement of 14C radio-isotopes, phloem sensors, gas exchange analyzers
  7. Cartography: building and landscape design software, survey and remote sensing devices.
Research training activities compliant with the Doctoral programme's learning outcomes

The PhD in Agricultural, Environmental, Food Science and Technology requires the compulsory attendance at courses and seminars, which are common to the doctoral students of the 10 research topics, in order to provide a consistent and homogeneous knowledge basis. The courses/seminars (in English language) include:

  1. Bibliographic services to support research (4 hours)
  2. Philosophy and methodology of scientific research (10 hours)
  3. Writing a scientific paper in agricultural sciences (4 hours)
  4. How to present a paper in a scientific conference in agricultural sciences (4 hours)
  5. Setting up a research protocol (4 hours)
  6. Statistical methods applied to agriculture with modern computer applications (25 hours)
  7. Advanced statistics (10 hours)
  8. Research financing and project design in agricultural sciences (20 hours)
  9. Intellectual property rights, enterprise creation, and business plan (20 hours)
  10. Academic Writing Course (20 hours)
  11. Cycle of seminar held by visiting professors within Department of Excellence programme. In addition, specific seminars (15 hours) are organized within each research topic.

During the three-year period of the PhD course, the doctoral students with scholarship are required to spend an internship abroad (not less than 3 months, usually 6 months) toward qualified university or research centres, in order to facilitate the exchange and the integration of young researchers in the international scientific community. The course timetable can be viewed on the PhD programme web-page.

Internationalization features

The PhD Programme in STAAA promotes the internationalization by agreements with research institutions for obtaining a double degree and/or the joint supervision and among them the active ones are: i) Framework Agreement among six partner EU universities founding the European Bioeconomy University; ii) Framework Agreement with National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan) and Universidad National de Rosario (Argentina), respectively; iii) Bilateral-agreement: OUTGOING - Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (E. Appolloni, 35° ciclo) e University of Granada (F. Barbieri, 35° ciclo); INCOMING - Universidade do Porto (C. do Vale Correira), Université de Montpellier (R. El Khechen) e Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (G. Evangelista). Furthermore, since the 33rd cycle doctoral Chinese students by means of China Scholarship Council mobility program are enrolled and starting from the 38th cycle a bilateral agreement with ADA Univerisity (Azerbaijan) has been activated for the enrollment of 5 Azerbaijani candidates per cycle. The STAAA PhD programme also successfully participates to international funding programmes which allowed the activation of 2 additional positions in the 36th and 37th cycles (Program H2020-Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions-Innovative Training Networks) and 1 in the coming cycle (Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships - JCR Program). The STAAA PhD programme also works actively to increase the recruitment of foreign students, through the information support, the link with institutions/universities from other countries and the cooperation with funding agencies providing scholarships to foreign students. PhD students holding a scholarship are obliged to spend a period of research and training of at least three months in foreign universities or research centres. They also participate in research projects of international importance, follow courses in English, and participate in international conferences and schools.

Expected research results and products

The research products of PhD students in the 5 year period starting from the final doctoral defence will be evaluated on the basis of University of Bologna criteria ( articles published on ISI/SCOPUS scientific journals, full paper and abstracts published in symposium proceedings, book and book chapters and patents. In order to be admitted to the final dissertation, it is mandatory that the PhD students demonstrate that at least one scientific paper was accepted or published on SCOPUS/WoS Thomson Reuters (ISI) indexed journals. The paper must be coherent with thematic research of their dissertation as well as with research activities carried out during the three-year period of the PhD course. The admission to the second and third year of the PhD course is be based on a collective evaluation (Doctoral Council assisted by the tutors of each PhD student). The criteria for admission to the following year will include: a) the frequency and rating of the planned common teaching activities; b) the acquired skills in relation to the specific field of research; c) the ability to acquire the proper methodological scientific approach and to plan and carry out research activities on their own.