PhD in Biomedical, Electrical and System Engineering

Academic Year 2021-2022
Subject area Engineering Studies
Cycle 37
Coordinator Prof. Michele Monaci
Language English, Italian
Duration 3 years
Positions 17 positions. More information in the PhD Programme Table.
Application deadline May 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM (Expired)
Enrolment period From Jul 13, 2021 to Jul 23, 2021
Doctoral programme start date Nov 01, 2021
Operating centre
Main Department
Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering "Guglielmo Marconi" - DEI
Associated locations
National Chiao Tung University - NCTU (Taiwan)
Kaunas University of Technology (Lituania)
Mobility abroad
3 months
Research topics

Curriculum 1: Automatic Control and Operational Research

The scientific areas involved in this Curriculum are Automatic Control (ING-INF/04) and Operational Research (MAT/09). These are fundamental subjects for the Master Courses in Management and Information (Electronics, Computer Science, Telecommunications, Biomedical, Automation) Engineering. Moreover, they are also present in most other Master Courses in Engineering and (as far as MAT/09 is concerned) also in Business Administration and Science. The unifying methodological aspect is the System Approach, which provides a very powerful viewpoint to face most problems in modern engineering as well as in many other applied sectors. The basic subjects (system theory, control theory, mathematical optimization, estimation methods, filtering and identification, simulation) provide very useful tools to deal with and solve in a formal and general way complex problems that are often faced with special-purpose procedures, sometimes of empirical type.

  • System and control theory
  • Nonlinear control
  • Geometric approach to control
  • Robotics
  • Motion control
  • Diagnosis of dynamic systems
  • Identification of dynamic systems
  • Aerial traffic control
  • Electric drives
  • Combinatorial optimization
  • Distributed optimization
  • Graph theory
  • Transportation and distribution (logistics) problems
  • Network optimization problems
  • Cutting and loading problems
  • Integration between predictive and prescriptive analytics.

The methodologies of many of these topics are of interest to candidates in other curricula of the doctorate. For this reason, common events and activities will be organized among the three curricula to encourage interaction among candidates and the sharing of methodologies, cultural exchange and multidisciplinary education.

Curriculum 2: Bioengineering

The Bioengineering curriculum promotes the acquisition of advanced skills of highly interdisciplinary character (from engineering to medical and biological sciences, from mathematics and physics to computer science) to face - by means of innovative tools and solutions - complex problems in the field of the life sciences. The curriculum offers a wide spectrum of research themes, involving electronic, information and industrial aspects of bioengineering:

  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Biomedical Signals and Data Processing
  • Biomechanics and Motor Function Control
  • Rehabilitation Engineering
  • Biomedical Instrumentation and Artificial Organs
  • Models of Physiological and Biological Systems
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Engineering.

Strong connections exist between the various themes; frequently, the training and research activities are placed at the intersection of several themes. Each research project will pursue a specific objective: improvement of physiopathological knowledge, progress in diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, advancement in assistive and rehabilitation technologies, optimization of health-care management. The interaction with the other two curricula - thanks also to common courses and seminars with special emphasis on electrotechnics, control and optimization - certainly stimulates the sharing of methodologies, the cultural exchange and the multidisciplinary training necessary for an effective approach to bioengineering problems.

Curriculum 3: Electrical Engineering

The Electrical Engineering curriculum provides a wide scientific and technical-professional training in electrical engineering, with good base knowledge, capacity for technological and design innovation, and specific electrical knowledge. The Ph.D. candidate must be able to apply the analytical tools and the knowledge concerning the advanced technologies typical of electrical/electromechanical sector also to other engineering leading sectors. The scientific areas involved in this Curriculum are: Electrotechnics (ING-IND/31), Converters, electrical machines and drives (ING-IND/32), Electrical energy systems (ING-IND/33) and Electrical and electronic measurements (ING-INF/07). In particular, the Curriculum in Electrical Engineering aims to develop modern electrical DFC competencies and technologies such as:

  • power electronics
  • electric drives for automation, robotics, and traction
  • unconventional electric machines
  • methods of analysis, management and design of the electric power systems
  • electricity market
  • innovative architectures for the electric distribution
  • computer-aided design of electric power systems and components
  • rational use of energy and renewable sources
  • electromagnetic compatibility
  • interactions of electromagnetic fields with biological systems
  • electromagnetic characterization of materials
  • applied superconductivity
  • applied magneto hydrodynamics
  • plasma engineering
  • magnetic system engineering.

The activities of the course are customized to each student.

Job opportunities and potential areas of employment
At the end of the PhD Programme, candidates will have developed the ability to deal with problems of high conceptual and technological complexity by means of a rigorous and strongly multidisciplinary approach, will be able to manage innovative projects working both individually and within a group, will be able to evaluate the impact of new technological and methodological solutions in the development of systems, devices and services, as well as in management of plants and processes. Therefore, the skills obtained in the doctoral programme can be spent with profit for:
- research positions in national and international academic institutions,
- research positions within private or public research bodies,
- innovation and technology transfer projects, which are particularly encouraged at regional and national level,
- positions of responsibility in R&D departments of companies within the fields involved in the PhD Programme.
Thanks to the wide network of cooperation established by the members of the Academic Board with external institutions, during the PhD Programme candidates have the opportunity to get in contact with companies and research centers and to approach real problems related to production of devices and services.
Admission Board

Surname Name University/Institution Curriculum Role email
Grandi Gabriele Università di Bologna Electrical Engineering Member
Macchelli Alessandro Università di Bologna Automatic Control and Operational Research Member
Ursino Mauro Università di Bologna Bioengineering Member
Severi Stefano Università di Bologna Bioengineering Substitute
Tani Angelo Università di Bologna Electrical Engineering Substitute
Vigo Daniele Università di Bologna Automatic Control and Operational Research Substitute

The following shall take part in the work of the Examination Board as Expert Members: Prof. Gianluca Palli (Università di Bologna) for the position funded within the H2020 REMODEL Project, Lapo Maria Magnolfi (Gruppo PSC S.p.A.,, Riccardo Morici (OCEM Power Electronics,

Learning outcomes
The aim is to prepare researchers in order to allow them to develop research and professional activities. The PhD Programme has therefore the following goals for the candidates:
- use of tools and general methods of scientific research,
- methods and technologies of each curriculum,
- international comparison,
- fit autonomously in research team with the ability to manage projects and working groups.
The first two objectives are achieved mainly in the first year, while the third and fourth goal in the next two years. These objectives are achieved through the study, documentation, research and dissemination of results. The curricula of the Programme, tailored to each candidate, require such activities organized in line with the development of an independent research project in agreement with a supervisor. The skills acquired will be spent from the professional point of view, both in Italy and abroad, within academic institutions, public and private research centres, and industries.
Activities to be carried out by Doctoral candidates
The activities of PhD candidates consists of carrying out a scientifically relevant and innovative research project in one of the subjects of the Programme. Project development often involves the cooperation with major companies or research centers. The research activity, under the constant supervision of a professor/researcher, is organized over three years. The first year is mainly devoted to the study of literature and theoretical in-depth analysis of methods and technologies necessary for project development; to this aim, the candidate will attend courses specifically designed for the PhD programme or from second-level degree courses and will participate to doctoral schools and seminars. The second and third years are devoted to research activity, also including experimental practice. To this end, the PhD candidate can benefit of advanced equipment and instrumentation available at DEI laboratories available for all disciplines of the PhD programme. During this period, the candidate participates to scientific conferences and workshops, to interact with the international scientific community; moreover, the candidate spends a research period at qualified international research institutions. The final part of the 3rd year is devoted to the preparation of the final dissertation with emphasis on critical analysis of the results, selection of the most important and original contributions, identification of future developments. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the disciplines of the PhD Programme, the candidate will take advantage of events and seminars organized as part of the 3 curricula and by the University of Bologna (e.g., by the Institute for Advanced Studies), which promote an exchange of skills and cultural opportunities.
Research training activities compliant with the Doctoral programme's learning outcomes
The PhD candidate in Biomedical, Electrical, and Systems Engineering must:
- Start with basic introductory studies (including literature search), attending courses and seminars either organized ad hoc or chosen among the ones available at the Bologna University. This activity is carried out mainly during the 1st year.
- Join one or more areas of active research at DEI. This activity of general training also includes the participation at annual national and international specific doctorate schools (mainly during the 1st and 2nd year).
- Propose and autonomously develop a research project, using also the indications from the tutor and the members of the Academic Board. This specialized training activity includes the participation in conferences and specialized courses, as well as a training period abroad.
- Commit to disseminate the research results through the publication of articles in international journals (mainly on the 2nd and 3rd year) and through the publication of the dissertation, as well as its final discussion. In the three years of the PhD Programme the candidate should carry on a training activity equivalent to at least 180 hours. At the end of each academic year, the members of the Academic Board evaluate the activities of each candidate with the aim of monitoring the achievement of the educational goals.
Internationalization features
The PhD Programme promotes several internationalization initiatives including:
- strong cooperation links between the PhD Academic Board members and highly-reputed research centers and Universities in European, American, and Asiatic countries;
- a mandatory training period abroad for each PhD candidate, normally lasting 6 months (minimum 3), at an high qualified foreign institution. PhD candidates' mobility is also promoted by specific programmes of the University of Bologna (such as Marco Polo Programme) which contribute to financially sustain the overseas training of the PhD candidates.
Initiatives to attract and encourage enrollment of foreign candidates in the PhD Programme through:
- opening the PhD Programme to candidates from foreign countries and funded by specific international mobility programmes (eg Erasmus Mundus, China Scholarship Council, CONICYT, Marie Curie),
- promoting the PhD calls on the most important specialized scientific networks - personal contacts of Council members with colleagues of the foreign research institutes.
Expected research results and products
The research activity, joint with specialized and interdisciplinary training, is expected to produce results with relevant impacts on basic knowledge and/or technological-methodological advancement and/or applications in clinical, health-care, electrical, energetic, automation, robotics, optimization and transportation fields. These results should lead to the following products: presentations at international conferences and publications on journals, to disseminate research methods and results to scientific community. The candidate is encouraged to produce publications in cooperation with the international institute where he/she spends a training period abroad; Participation in the preparation of project proposals to be submitted to national or European competitive calls; Contributions to the development of patents and to technology transfer, thanks to the strong applicative character of many research issues carried out by the candidates. In order for these products and results to be actually achieved, candidates' training and research activities are strictly monitored throughout the 3-year period. Besides the constant supervision by the tutor, the Academic Board periodically verifies the adequacy of the training activities followed by the candidates (courses, seminars, schools, conferences), the progress of their research activity, and attained products (articles, projects, patents). Admission to the next year or to final examination is conditional on the fulfillment of minimum requirements.
Doctoral programme Academic Board
Name Surname University/Institution Qualification
Alberto Borghetti Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Andrea Cristofolini Università di Bologna Professore Associato Confermato
Emanuele Domenico Giordano Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Gabriele Grandi Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Alessandro Macchelli Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Elisa Magosso Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Enrico Malaguti Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Lorenzo Marconi Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Giovanni Mazzanti Università di Bologna Professore Associato Confermato
Claudio Melchiorri Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Michele Monaci Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Giuseppe Notarstefano Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Carlo Alberto Nucci Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Gianluca Palli Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Leonardo Sandrolini Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Stefano Severi Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Angelo Tani Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Pier Andrea Traverso Università di Bologna Professore Associato
Mauro Ursino Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Daniele Vigo Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario
Luca Zarri Università di Bologna Professore Ordinario


Final Ranking list