PhD in Earth, Life and Environmental Sciences

Academic Year 2022-2023
Subject area Biological, Geological and Agricultural Sciences
Cycle 38
Coordinator Prof. Maria Giovanna Belcastro
Language English, Italian
Duration 3 years

Application deadline: Aug 02, 2022 at 11:59 PM (Expired)

NRRP Call for Applications

Doctoral programme start date: Nov 01, 2022

Application deadline: Jun 09, 2022 at 11:59 PM (Expired)

Call for Applications

Positions: More information in the PhD Programme Table

Enrolment: From Jul 29, 2022 to Aug 29, 2022

Doctoral programme start date: Nov 01, 2022

Operating centre
Main Department
Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences - BiGeA
  1. Geology
  2. Biology
Research topics

Curriculum 1: Geology

  • Stratigraphy and structural geology
  • Geosphere-biosphere interactions
  • Geochemistry, magmatism and metamorphism
  • Marine geology
  • Environmental geology
  • Geological hazards and natural resources
  • Engineering geology, hydrogeology and geomorphology

Curriculum 2: Biology

  • Molecular and cellular biodiversity
  • Animal biodiversity and evolution
  • Plant biodiversity and evolution
  • Human biodiversity and evolution
  • Population biology and ecology
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Marine biology
  • Computational biology
Job opportunities and potential areas of employment
Geology curriculum:
- development/management/consulting activities for institutions/enterprises operating for mineral, hydrological and/or energy resources
- reservoir characterization
- carbon sequestration
- environmental monitoring and protection
- environmental geochemistry
- territorial planning/preservation
- remote sensing
- engineering geology
- natural hazards mitigation
- geologic mapping
- geological/hydrogeological/seismic/volcanic hazard
- geophysics and marine geology
- micropaleontology
- geoarcheology, paleoclimate modeling/research
- optical imaging and nanomaterials.
Biology curriculum:
- development/management/consulting activities for institutions/enterprises for : animal/plant/human biodiversity analyses/monitoring
- evolutionary mechanisms studies in botany/zoology/anthropology/ecology
- projecting/management of biological and environmental Technologies
- biomolecular/bioinformatic/biostatistic technologies for evolutionary biology studies
- bio-archeological/osteological/forensic analyses
- environmental impact evaluation, in relation to flora/fauna and to anthropic/bio-demographic aspects
- techniques for science diffusion and education
- developing sustainability programs for economic/social activities with environmental impact
- marine environments planning/management.
For both curricula:
- scientific museums and natural reserves management/direction
- projecting/coordination/execution of didactic programs for schools and for visitors in natural reserves/naturalistic museums.
Admission Board

Surname Name University / Institution Role email Curriculum
Brardinoni Francesco Università di Bologna Member Geology
Caroselli Erik Università di Bologna Member Biology
Costantini Federica Università di Bologna Member Biology
Filippini Maria Università di Bologna Member Geology
Giuntoli Francesco Università di Bologna Member Geology
Passamonti Marco Università di Bologna Member Biology
Pistocchi Rossella Università di Bologna Member Biology
Rocchini Duccio Università di Bologna Member Biology
Sazzini Marco Università di Bologna Member Biology
Ulian Gianfranco Università di Bologna Member Geology
Vitale Brovarone Alberto Università di Bologna Member Geology
Berti Matteo Università di Bologna Substitute Geology
Boattini Alessio Università di Bologna Substitute Biology
Cazzolla Gatti Roberto Università di Bologna Substitute Biology
Chiarucci Alessandro Università di Bologna Substitute Biology
Gargini Alessandro Università di Bologna Substitute Geology
Garofalo Paolo Università di Bologna Substitute Geology
Goffredo Stefano Università di Bologna Substitute Biology
Luchetti Andrea Università di Bologna Substitute Biology
Nascimbene Juri Università di Bologna Substitute Biology
Sabatini Francesco Maria Università di Bologna Substitute Biology
Valdrè Giovanni Università di Bologna Substitute Geology
Viola Giulio Università di Bologna Substitute Geology
Learning outcomes

The main goal is to train new researchers to the organisation and implementation of innovative and rigorous scientific approach in the different branches of Earth, Life and Environmental Sciences.
Geology Curriculum: It aims at preparing high-level researchers capable to lead research centered on the analysis/reconstruction of the events that punctuated the Earth geological history. In addition to pure scientific research, this PhD programme will form researchers capable to deal with activities connected with the utilization of natural resources and the sustainable territorial planning and conservation.
Biology Curriculum: It aims at growing in the PhD researchers a high-level knowledge of biodiversity, the underlying evolutionary mechanisms, the ecological processes involved and the potential anthropic threats. Students will learn to plan research strategies and critically analyse data by applying a wealth of modern methodological approaches.

Activities to be carried out by Doctoral candidates

Observation, measurements and evaluation of natural processes are all essential elements in the various fields of Earth, Life and Environmental Sciences. Specifically, the student’s activities include:

  • field research
  • lab research
  • research periods in foreign research centers or museums
  • bibliographic research
  • data generation, reduction and analysis
  • attending courses and seminars held by national and international researchers/Teachers
  • publication of at least one paper in an international Journal with Impact Factor within the 3-year program
  • at least one participation to national or international conferences, by submitting a poster or an oral communication within the 3-year program.
Research training activities compliant with the Doctoral programme's learning outcomes

The main activity of the candidate is the development of an autonomous research project in one of the fields of the two curricula of the programme, under the supervision of an assigned Tutor. This will lead to the progressive development of critical scientific skills, from data generation to data reduction and final data interpretation. Critical lateral thinking and a strong cultural background are also promoted by:

  • the attendance to thematic/general courses and seminars, also organized by external Institutions
  • own research results presentation in public workshops
  • a research period of at least three months to be spent abroad at qualified research institutions
  • national and international congresses attendance
  • research results publication on I.F. Journals (at least one within the 3 years course), preferably as first author
  • the drafting of the doctoral thesis in English. The training activity may also be directly enriched by the student, who is entitled to autonomously choose courses/seminars of specific interest after discussing with the supervisor.

Finally, students may also contribute to complementary teaching activities, such as laboratory training, field activities, seminars for undergraduate and graduate students, and other.

Internationalization features

The following activities assure an international training of PhD candidates:

The students spend abroad at least 3 months guaranteed by the Marco Polo grants and the "10% budget" their dedicated.

Mobility has dramatically decreased during the pandemic. The "virtual mobility aimed at internationalization" favoured the students to take part to on line seminars, workshops and short courses held by colleagues abroad.

Other aspects:

  • The PhD programme and call is circulated internationally
  • The oral admission examination can be carried out in English
  • PhD Theses are to be written and discussed in English
  • The commission for the final PhD defence may include at least one foreign professor.

Foreign candidates are attracted to our PhD through the international networking of the Board members and through the China Scholarship Council.

Foreign lecturers contributing to the educational programme of the PhD course, ensured by the numerous collaborations and international contacts of the Board members. Starting from the 34th PhD cycle, the Doctoral program invites high-caliber international lecturers and scientists to come to Bologna to deliver workshops and lectures to all our PhD students. Lecturers have their costs reimbursed and they are chosen because of their exceptional scientific impact and the cross-dsciplinary scientific message.

In June 2019 an agreement for "double doctoral degree" was finalized with Macquarie University in Sydney (Australia). Since 2021, the Doctorate has joined the Consortium Agreement Una Europa Doctoral Program in Cultural Heritage (Una-Her-Doc) within the alliance between 8 European universities for a "double doctoral degree". The theme of Cultural Heritage, although not the focus of STVA, have to considered in a broad sense (environmental, naturalistic, landscape). Benefits also come from the participation of the College's professors in international projects, agreements and international programs.

Expected research results and products
  • Publications: Students are encouraged to publish the results of their research work in journals with high impact factor, and the Thesis itself can be prepared  either as a collection of scientific articles or a monographic dissertation. The candidates have to publish at least one scientific article in an international journal with IF within the PhD three-years period and they shall be first author.
  • Presentations/ thematic sessions at conferences and workshops.
  • Database development.
  • Softwares or patents.
  • Organization: During the development of their doctoral program, students can organize thematic sessions and workshops.


NRRP Call - Admission Exams Schedule

Qualifications Evaluation Results: from Aug. 25th, 2022; Oral Examination: from Sept. 12th, 2022 - 9am; Oral Examination Results: from Sept. 14th, 2022. For further information, check the detail of your application on Studenti Online.