The reform regarding PhD programmes of 2013 introduced a new cooperation procedure between university and business: the industrial PhD programme which allows companies to train their employees, already engaged in highly-qualifying activities, in the framework of a PhD programme.

NB: INSTRUCTIONS IN ITALIAN ARE ALSO AVAILABLE (see the link at the top right-hand corner of this webpage)

Within the PhD Programme in STAAA, there is the opportunity to start industrial doctoral paths co-supervised by companies and external institutions (Industrial Ph.D.).

It is necessary to agree in advance a research workplan with a professor from the DISTAL who will be the supervisor of the doctoral thesis.

Interested companies can contact the Coordinator of the PhD programme, or preferably contact directly the professors with whom they are likely to start a research collaboration.

Eligible candidates 

  1. Employees of companies or external entities, while keeping their job and salary, can train, develop and complete research, and achieve the title of Doctor of Philosophy at the end of their path.
  2. Recent graduates who are employees of enterprises or external entities and have an apprenticeship contract for advanced education, and wish to work and study at the same time for their PhD. In this case, the duration of the apprenticeship contract corresponds with that of the study cycle. The new employees must not have reached the age of 30


3 years


The PhD programme contains a training part through courses offered by the PhD programme and research that can be performed both at the company and in the university department or at both entities. The training is jointly determined by the company and by the Board of Professors of the Ph.D. programme. 


The subject of the research, and the associated development path are established jointly by the company and the Board of Professors of the PhD programme. The path is monitored by two supervisors, one from the university and one from the company. If the path agreed in co-supervision requires the commitment of resources from the Department and / or investments for the development of the research, it will be regulated through a standard research contract between the company and the group responsible for the activity of the PhD candidate. 


The Industrial Ph.D. candidates are put in a position to set the doctoral path in the framework of the company's vision and connected dynamics. This fact should guarantee the training research product related to the growth of the Industrial Ph.D. candidate, as well as the collaboration conditions, interaction and integration between the university research group which the candidate belongs to and the development and innovation of the company or external entity for which the candidate works. From the company's point of view, the company/external entity offers to its employee a training and growth opportunity while maintaining their job and salary.

Finally, with the apprenticeship contract for advanced education, the company has the opportunity to develop a research training programme and to recruit high quality young people. Active participation in research activities by its employees will foster innovation and lead to developments in innovative areas. 


  • The company, interested in submitting the doctoral application for its employee, must contact the coordinator of the Ph.D. programme involved, in order to determine if the Ph.D. training offered is suitable for both the potential Ph.D. candidate and the company or external entity, considering the objectives of both parties.
  • Applicants admitted to the doctoral path must enrol "without scholarship", and may start their PhD career in November.
  • Before the start of the doctoral programme, the Ph.D. candidate and the companies involved agree on the details of the project in co-supervision, which specifies the areas of research, how the research will be carried out and the scheduled planning of the training and research path. For some Ph.D. programmes a contribution is expected to be made to the Department which will supervise the research activity and the contribution will cover the incurred costs. A formal agreement will be signed between the University of Bologna and the company.
  • In order to achieve the title of Doctor of Philosophy at the end of the Ph.D. path, the candidate must fulfill all the training requirements required for this path.
  • For protection of confidential data and information, a proper "non disclosure" agreement will be signed. 


Industrial Ph.D. candidates are classified as candidates without a scholarship. The candidates are required to pay an annual fee covering the regional tax and insurance contributions (for the academic year 2022/2023 this fee amounts to €157.64).

In addition, on the basis of the research topic proposed, the Department where the research is carried out could require a fee to support the research path. This fee can be agreed upon at the time of the signature of the agreement.

For further information, please contact the Coordinator of the PhD programme 

NB: INSTRUCTIONS IN ITALIAN ARE ALSO AVAILABLE (see the link at the top right-hand corner of this webpage)


Current companies or external institutions that established industrial PhD Programmes with us:

Agricola Grains (2019-2021)

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) (2021-2024)

Agroscope - Dipartimento Federale dell'Economia, della Formazione e della Ricerca (DEFR, Svizzera) (2019-2022)

Biorenova (2021-2024)

Centro di Sperimentazione Agraria e Forestale Laimburg (2019-2022)

Consorzio della Bonifica Renana (2021-2024)

ILSA (2019-2021)

Natural Development Group (2020-2023)

Novamont (2020-2023)

Seidor Italy (2021-2024)