PhD in Agricultural, Environmental and Food Science and Technology

Academic Year 2018-2019
Subject area Biological, Geological and Agricultural Sciences
Cycle 34°
Coordinator Prof. Giovanni Dinelli. Starting from 21/06/2018 Prof. Massimiliano Petracci.
Language English
Duration 3 years
Positions 26 positions, of which 20 with scholarship, 4 with research fellowship and 2 reserved positions
Application deadline May 14, 2018 at 01:00 PM (Expired)
Final ranking list Final ranking list available on Studenti Online
Enrolment period From Jul 26, 2018 to Aug 06, 2018
Doctoral programme start date Nov 01, 2018
Operating centre
Main Department
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences - DISTAL
Doctoral Programme in collaboration with enterprises, Industrial Doctorates and Apprenticeship (art. 2, comma 2, lett. e) del D.M. n. 45/2013)
Agricola Grains SpA
Mobility abroad
Yes (3 months)
Research topics

The PhD program aims to train specialists in accordance with the following nine research topics:

  • Agronomy, management of field crops, horticulture, agricultural genetics, agricultural chemistry and agri-environmental systems with the main purpose of ensuring a specialist qualification for researchers who intend to work in companies in the agricultural sector or in public or private research bodies
  • International cooperation and sustainable development policies in developing, transition and newly industrialized countries through the analysis of governmental and non-governmental interventions
  • Microbial ecology and plant pathology through training in research laboratories, in laboratories of high qualification and affiliated research centers in foreign countries
  • Economics and politics related to agricultural raw materials (food and non-food), industrial processing, distribution and consumption of food, management of rural areas and environmental resources
  • Entomology through a rational and low-impact protection of crops and their products, forests and anthropized environments
  • Agricultural engineering, to address emerging issues in the areas encompassed by the environmental protection and enhancement of agro-territorial, forest and landscape
  • Food sciences and biotechnology with emphasis in all areas included in the food production and agri–food chain
  • Animal sciences with particular reference to breeding technologies , animal genetics , nutrition and animal feed 
  • Tree production systems, forest and ornamental with particular reference to genetics , physiology and cultivation of fruit, woody and ornamental tree species
Job opportunities and potential areas of employment
With reference to the professional activities classified by ISTAT (Italian Institute for Statistics), for the students of this 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 reference to the broader field of agricultural, environmental and food sciences. The sectors and the types of employment include highly diverse possibilities: 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

Surname Name Institution Role e-mail
Burgio Giovanni Università   di Bologna member
Di Gioia Diana Università   di Bologna member
Dinelli Giovanni Università   di Bologna member
Dondini Luca Università   di Bologna member
Petracci Massimiliano Università   di Bologna member
Toscano Attilio Università   di Bologna member
Vannini Lucia Università   di Bologna member
Viaggi Davide Università   di Bologna member
Vittuari Matteo Università   di Bologna member
Bosi Paolo Università   di Bologna substitute
Dindo Maria Luisa Università   di Bologna substitute
Magnani Federico Università   di Bologna substitute
Monti Andrea Università   di Bologna substitute
Ratti Claudio Università   di Bologna substitute
Romani Santina Università   di Bologna substitute
Setti Marco Università   di Bologna substitute
Torreggiani Daniele Università   di Bologna substitute
Trevisi Paolo Università   di Bologna substitute
Paolini Jacopo Vladimiro ENECTA   S.r.l member
Learning outcomes
Thanks to its organization into 9 different research topics, the STAAA PhD course aims at providing 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 didactic program is characterized by a first-year of training activities common to all students aimed 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 second year, the student activities are focused on the development of individual research activities. The preparation of the final dissertation is the main activity on the last year.
Activities to be carried out by Doctoral candidates
Doctoral students can carry out research activities at the different levels (field, 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:
- 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
- Food analysis: texture analyzer, calorimeters, pilot plant for the high pressure homogenization, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
- “-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
- Entomology, Plant pathology and Microbiology: laminar hoods, fermentation tools, autoclaves, incubators, optical and electronic microscopes
- 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
- 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
- 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 9 research topics, in order to provide a consistent and homogeneous knowledge basis .
The courses/ seminars (in English language) include :
- Application of mathematical models in agricultural, environmental and food science (20 hours)
- Philosophy and methodology of scientific research (10 hours)
- Statistical methods applied to agriculture with computer applications ( 30 +30 hours)
- Planning and funding of agricultural research (20 hours)
- Academic Writing Course (20 hours)
- Setting up a research protocol (4 +4 hours)
- Writing a scientific paper ( 8 +8 hours)
- Introduction to neural networks : models, software packages , statistical applications for the agro-industrial research (6 hours)
- Safety in the workplace (8 hours)
- Presentation of a report in a scientific conference (5 hours)
- Bibliographic research support (4 hours).
During the three-year period of the PhD course , the doctoral students with scholarship are required to spend a period abroad (not less than 3 months, normally 6 months) at qualified research facilities, in order to facilitate the exchange and the integration of young researchers in the international scientific community.
Internationalization features
The Ph.D. Programme in Agricultural, Environmental and Food Science and Technology promotes the internationalization by agreements with research institutions for obtaining a double degree and/or the joint supervision through a minimum stay of 3 months abroad and the participation in international research projects.
At the present, a double doctoral degree agreement was signed on 22.01.2014 with the Doctoral Course of the Chalmers Tekniska Högskola Univeristy (Göteborg, Sweden). Another double degree agreement was signed on 30.07.2014 with Doctoral course of the University of Copenhagen (Faculty of Science, Department of Food Science).
Other bilateral agreements already finalized include:
- Convention of thesis joint supervision signed on 9.10.2015 with the Macquaire University (Sydney, Australia) for the PhD Student Maurizio Benelli
- Convention of join thesis supervision signed on 06.04.2017 with International and European Law, Academy of Economy Studies of Moldavia for the PhD student L. Sangiovanni
- Convention of join thesis supervision signed on 10.11.2015 with the University of Antwerp (Antwerp, Belgium) for the PhD student Stefano Rivas Morales
- Convention of join thesis supervision signed on 14.04.2017 with UNIVERSITE PARIS-SACLAY, Espace Technologique, Saint Aubin, France, for the PhD student F. R. Massacci.
Other bilateral agreements are being finalized and will be activated within the 2018:
- Convention of joint thesis supervision with the PhD course in Food Science, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Univeristy of Granda (Spain)
- Student exchange agreement with the PhD course in Horticulture Sciences of University of Lisbon (Portugal).
The PhD program 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.
Expected research results and products
The research products of PhD students will be evaluated on the basis of University of Bologna criteria ( and, in particular, on the basis of articles (publications) on ISI/SCOPUS scientific journals, contributions on proceedings volumes (conference proceedings), participation in national and international conferences/congresses, patents produced in a 5 year period starting from the final doctoral dissertation.
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 in an ISI and/or SCOPUS scientific journal. The paper must be coherent with thematic research of their dissertation and must testify the 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 will 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:
- the frequency and rating of the planned common teaching activities (see section ATTIVITA’ DI FORMAZIONE ALLA RICERCA)
- the acquired skills in relation to the specific field of research
- the ability to acquire the proper methodological scientific approach and to carry out research activities on their own.
Doctoral programme Academic Board
Surname Name University/Institution Qualification
BOSI PAOLO Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
BURGIO GIOVANNI Università di Bologna Professore Associato
CIAVATTA CLAUDIO Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
DI GIOIA DIANA Università di Bologna Professore Associato
DINELLI GIOVANNI Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
DONDINI LUCA Università di Bologna Professore Associato
FONTANESI LUCA Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
MAGNANI FEDERICO Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
MOLARI GIOVANNI Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
MONTI ANDREA Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
PETRACCI MASSIMILIANO Università di Bologna Professore Associato
RATTI CLAUDIO Università di Bologna Ricercatore a tempo determinato
ROMANI SANTINA Università di Bologna Professore Associato
SALVI SILVIO Università di Bologna Professore Associato
TORREGGIANI DANIELE Università di Bologna Professore Associato
TOSCANO ATTILIO Università di Bologna Professore Associato
TREVISI PAOLO Università di Bologna Professore Associato
VANNINI LUCIA Università di Bologna Ricercatore
VERSARI ANDREA Università di Bologna Professore Associato
VIAGGI DAVIDE Università di Bologna Professore Associato
VITTUARI MATTEO Università di Bologna Professore Associato