PhD Apprenticeship Programmes

An initiative of the Emilia-Romagna Region to strengthen relations between the university and the business world.

The University of Bologna has signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning PhD apprenticeship contracts with the Emilia-Romagna Region, the other universities in the region (University of Ferrara, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, University of Parma) and key social partners.

Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding:

  • the universities involved select the PhD programmes to be involved in the initiative, and present their programmes to the Emilia-Romagna Region;
  • companies interested, with at least one operational premises in the Emilia Romagna region, sign "PhD apprenticeship contracts" with PhD students or candidates confirmed as suitable for up and coming PhD selection procedures;
  • the Emilia-Romagna region approves the universities' programmes and pays each university (in the form of a voucher) for each apprenticeship contract signed, to refund the costs of the PhD programmes;
  • the initiative is monitored by a committee of all signatories.

What is a PhD apprenticeship contract?

It is a contract signed between the PhD candidate and the company, with a duration of minimum 24 and maximum 48 months. The PhD candidate must be aged under thirty.

What is a personal curriculum (Piano Formativo Individuale)

A personal curriculum:

  • is a an integral part of the PhD apprenticeship contract containing the research project;
  • agreed between the University and the company;
  • includes a minimum of 120 hours of training to acquire skills in the field of technological innovation and business organisation of regional companies (minimum attendance required: 80%);
  • covers the full duration of the apprenticeship contract and ensures the alternation of study and work experience and the completion of the curriculum required to obtain the PhD qualification.

Information for PhD candidates

PhD candidates aged less than thirty can sign PhD apprenticeship contracts with companies, with the consent of their tutor.

It should be noted that the contract has a minimum duration of 24 months which must be spent at the company until the thesis discussion. Students should therefore bear this mandatory requirement in mind when planning their research.

Information for professors and researchers

Professors may liaise between the PhD candidates and the involved companies in order to promote PhD apprenticeship contracts and may contact ARIC - PhD Unit.


PhD apprenticeship candidates are supported by tutoring activities run both by the university and the company.

Incentives for businesses employing PhD candidates with apprenticeship contracts

The call for applications issued by the Emilia-Romagna Region is still open for incentives available to businesses signing PhD apprenticeship contracts in the period running from 26 April 2012 and 31 December 2013, and in any case prior to the presentation of applications for incentives.

PhD programmes participating in the initiative

Consult the List of PhD programmes participating in the initiative. For information on the programmes, consult the information tables related to each PhD programme.