PhD in Astrophysics

Academic Year 2020-2021
Subject area Mathematical Physical, Chemical and Astronomical Sciences
Cycle 36
Coordinator Prof. Francesco Rosario Ferraro
Language English
Duration 3 years
Positions 12 positions. More information in the PhD Programme Table
Application deadline May 21, 2020 at 01:00 PM (Expired)
Enrollment period From Jul 10, 2020 to Jul 20, 2020
Doctoral programme start date Nov 01, 2020
Operating centre
Main Department
Department of Physics and Astronomy - DIFA
Doctoral Programme in collaboration with research institutions (art. 2, comma 2, lett. a) del D.M. n. 45/2013)
Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF)
Mobility abroad
3 months
Curricula and Research topics
  • Stellar populations in the Local Group
  • Populations, chemistry and dynamics of stellar clusters
  • Stellar and chemical evolution of galaxies
  • Formation and evolution of galaxies and AGN
  • Radioastronomy
  • High energy astrophysics
  • Astronomical technology
  • Galactic dynamics
  • Galaxy Clusters, large-scale structure of the Universe, Cosmology.
Job opportunities and potential areas of employment
- Research and teaching activity at (national/international) Universities, research centres and industries
- Educational activities at high schools
- Software development
- Activities related to scientific publishing trade
- Research and development activities in private and public organizations for handling of large databases
- Analysis and forecasts for complex systems in public and private institutions
- More in general, activities related to research, innovation, education, production, forecast and prevention in the sector of advanced services.
Admission Board

Surname Name University/Institution Role email
Cimatti Andrea Università di Bologna Member
Ferrini Federico Cherenkov Telescope Array Member
Gruppioni Carlotta INAF Member
Lanzoni Barbara Università di Bologna Member
Nipoti Carlo Università di Bologna Member
Decarli Roberto INAF Substitute
Giroletti Marcello INAF Substitute
Marinacci Federico Università di Bologna Substitute
Mucciarelli Alessio Università di Bologna Substitute
Learning outcomes
This PhD course aims at training young researchers to carry out independent research activities in different fields of astronomy and astrophysics (stellar and extragalactic astrophysics, cosmology, technological and computer applications in astrophysics). In general, our PhD students are expected to become familiar with scientific methods that could potentially be used also in frameworks not necessarily related to astrophysics, like for instance executive cadres in private/public organizations and to treat complex systems.
Activities to be carried out by Doctoral candidates
Fundamental research (both theoretical/modeling and experimental/observational), focused on:
- Stellar Clusters (their formation and evolution, populations, chemistry and dynamics of stellar clusters);
- Galaxies (single objects, galaxies with AGN, dynamics and formation, galaxies in groups and clusters);
- Cosmology (models, large scale structure, cosmic microwave background radiation).
Applied research, related to the development of numerical codes and/or astrophysical instrumentation in different wavebands, ranging from radio to X- and gamma-rays. The activity can include the acquisition of data at the main national and international facilities (INAF, ESO, ESA, EVN, NRAO, etc.) and the preparation of proposals for observations with ground-based and space telescopes or for supercomputers. The research activity requires the development and/or usage of numerical codes to model and analyze the data, the extensive usage of databases, and the bibliographic research. Each year PhD students are required to attend 2-3 cycles of seminars specifically organized for them dealing with topics of great relevance in astrophysics and cosmology (see the web page[…]/internal-courses).
Research training activities compliant with the Doctoral programme's learning outcomes
The main goal of the PhD course is the training of the students in the most modern areas of the astrophysical research, both theoretical/modeling and experimental/observational. According to the specific subject of the thesis, the students, thanks to their immediate inclusion in the research groups, develop their capabilities to acquire and analyse observational data obtained using the best international instruments in the different bands (optical, millimetric, radio, X-rays, very high-energy) and/or to develop numerical codes or models and/or astrophysical technologies. Fundamental part of the training is to write scientific papers and reports, to publicly present the results, to write applications for computational or observational time. Moreover the PhD students develop the necessary knowledge about the national and international system for financial support to the research. Finally, thanks to the internal courses and seminars, and the attendance to National and international schools, the PhD students extend their general culture in fundamental Astrophysics and Physics.
Internationalization features
PhD students participate actively to research projects of international value, often in the context of extended international collaborations. Almost all the observational activity is based on the most advanced ground-based and space instrumentation, the access to which is guaranteed by the direct participation of INAF, by the italian presence in European organizations for astronomy (ESO, ESA) and by specific international agreements (LBT, EVN, ASTRONET, etc). The research activity for PhD theses are acknowledged by different international institutions (like NRAO and EVN). All the internal activities (courses, seminars, reports, etc.) are given in english, as well as the written final dissertation. Foreign researchers are regularly members of the defense committee. Long visits (3-6 months) to foreign scientific institutions are recommended: to this goal a dedicate grant (Marco Polo Programme) is reserved for PhD students. Moreover theses in the framework of international joint supervision (cotutela) or for European degrees are strongly supported. The attendance to international meetings (with presentation of results) are strongly encouraged. Several PhD candidates come from foreign countries. The participation of foreign candidates to the selection process is facilitated by the use of videoconference (i.e. skype).
Expected research results and products
Thesis written in english, talks at (national/international) meetings, publication of the results extracted from the thesis (at least two by three years after the defense) on international refereed journals or at least one patent request; reports on possible technological and/or computational applications.
Doctoral programme Academic Board
Surname Name University/Institution Qualification
Brusa Marcella Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Cassano Rossella INAF (Italy) Ricercatore Ente
Cimatti Andrea Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Ciotti Luca Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Dallacasa Daniele Università di Bologna Professore Associato Confermato
Decarli Roberto INAF (Italy) Ricercatore Ente
Ferraro Francesco Rosario Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Giroletti Marcello INAF (Italy) Ricercatore Ente
Lanzoni Barbara Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Marinacci Federico Università di Bologna Ricercatore A Tempo Determinato - Art.24 Co.3 Lett. B) - L.240/2010
Moscardini Lauro Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Mucciarelli Alessio Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Nipoti Carlo Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Pozzi Francesca Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Romano Donatella INAF (Italy) Ricercatore Ente
Vignali Cristian Università di Bologna Professore Associato