PhD in Astrophysics

Academic Year 2021-2022
Subject area Mathematical Physical, Chemical and Astronomical Sciences
Cycle 37
Coordinator Prof. Francesco Rosario Ferraro
Language English
Duration 3 years
Positions 10 positions. More information in the PhD Programme Table
Application deadline May 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM (Expired)
Enrolment period From Jul 09, 2021 to Jul 19, 2021
Doctoral programme start date Nov 01, 2021
Operating centre
Main Department
Department of Physics and Astronomy "Augusto Righi" - DIFA
Doctoral Programme in collaboration with research institutions (art. 2, comma 2, lett. a) del D.M. n. 45/2013)
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)
Mobility abroad
3 months
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 in high schools
- Software development
- Activities related to scientific publishing trade
- Research and development activities in private and public organisations 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
Bernardi Gianni INAF Member
Bonafede Annalisa Università di Bologna Member
Lanzuisi Giorgio INAF Member
Miglio Andrea Università di Bologna Member
Moscardini Lauro Università di Bologna Member
Ferraro Francesco Rosario Università di Bologna Substitute
Giroletti Marcello  INAF Substitute
Marulli Federico Università di Bologna Substitute
Mucciarelli Alessio Università di Bologna Substitute
Torresi Eleonora INAF 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 candidates 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 organisations 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 analyse the data, the extensive usage of databases, and the bibliographic research. Each year PhD candidates are required to attend 2-3 cycles of seminars specifically organised 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 PhD candidates in the most modern areas of the astrophysical research, both theoretical/modeling and experimental/observational. According to the specific subject of the thesis, candidates, 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 PhD candidates 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, PhD candidates extend their general culture in fundamental Astrophysics and Physics.
Internationalization features
PhD candidates actively participate in 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 organisations for astronomy (ESO, ESA) and by specific international agreements (LBT, EVN, ASTRONET, etc). The research activity for PhD theses is 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 Program) is reserved for PhD candidates. Moreover theses in the framework of international joint supervisions (cotutela) or for European degrees are strongly supported. The attendance to international meetings (with presentation of results) are strongly encouraged. Several PhD applicants come from foreign countries. The participation of foreign applicants to the selection process is facilitated by the use of videoconference.
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
Name Surname University/Institution Qualification
Marcella Brusa Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Viviana Casasola INAF Ricercatore Ente
Andrea Cimatti Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Luca Ciotti Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Daniele Dallacasa Università di Bologna Professore Associato Confermato
Roberto Decarli INAF Ricercatore Ente
Francesco Rosario Ferraro Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Marcello Giroletti INAF Ricercatore Ente
Barbara Lanzoni Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Federico Marinacci Università di Bologna Ricercatore a tempo determinato
Lauro Moscardini Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Alessio Mucciarelli Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Carlo Nipoti Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Francesca Pozzi Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Donatella Romano INAF Ricercatore Ente
Cristian Vignali Università di Bologna Professore Associato


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