PhD in Advanced-Systems Engineering


Program Description

The purpose of this international Ph.D. program is to train a new generation of researchers able to carry out independent research in the areas of Advanced-Systems Engineering and give them the opportunity to transfer and exchange knowledge with national and international research centers and industries.

The three-year Ph.D. program focuses on the study and development of advanced and intelligent systems through an interdisciplinary approach that responds to recent technological developments (e.g. Cyber-Physical-Systems, Industry 4.0, Internet of Things) by integrating the disciplines of industrial mechanical engineering and information engineering. They are supported by specific skills in mathematics and artificial intelligence.

The research projects of Ph.D. students will pertain to the following research areas, which are being developed by research groups on a long-term basis and constitute the core themes of this program:

  • Mechanical-and-Manufacturing-Systems Engineering: Mechanical and Mechatronic Systems, Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Mechanical Engineering Design and Optimization, Production Systems and Management, Smart Factory;
  • Automation and Electronic-Systems Engineering: Autonomous systems, Human-in-the-loop systems, Embedded Systems (design, testing, and reliability), Sensors systems, Robotic Systems, Automatic Control, Computer Vision and Image Processing, Intelligent Sensor/Actor Networks;
  • System Modelling and Evolution Dynamical System Modelling and Simulation, Complex Networks for System’s Evolution, Operations Research.

The main features of the Ph.D. are an interdisciplinary scientific approach and the participation of internationally renowned scientists on the Scientific Committee.

At a Glance

  • Duration of the course: 3 years
  • Courses will be conducted in English
  • Places available: 10 with scholarship + 2 places as research assistant + 3 places without scholarship + 2 places are for Industrial Ph.D. students (dottorato industriale)
  • Campus: Bozen-Bolzano
  • Tuition fees: € 163,50 per year

Structure of the course

The Ph.D. covers the research areas of Advanced-Systems Engineering and offers you a stimulating, multilingual environment with fellow researchers from a wide range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Upon acceptance into the program, you will be required to design a research project and write a study plan in collaboration with your supervisor, including the purpose of your project and the steps necessary to implement it.

You will conduct a thorough literature survey, which includes a summary and analysis of the state-of-the-art of your research topic. Occasionally, you will be required to update the study plan in consideration of the progression of your work and the latest developments in your research field.

Your stay for at least three (and up to twelve) months at a foreign research center is mandatory. You will be required to publish at least one article in an international peer-reviewed journal and present your results at least at one international conference. During the three-year program, you will also be required to regularly attend classes and seminars, specifically designed for Ph.D. students.

The stages of the Ph.D.

The Ph.D. research activities are organized into five phases:

  • Phase 1 (first 2 months): you shall identify your research topic and develop a study plan;
  • Phase 2 (2nd -6th month): After an exhaustive review of the literature concerning your subject area, you shall define your research program based on the state of the art of your research topic;
  • Phase 3 (6th -12th month): you will start/continue your work applying the approach defined for your project;
  • Phase 4 (12th -24th month): you will continue your research, you will plan your stay abroad, and you will be expected to begin preparing the manuscript(s) for publication in peer-reviewed journals;
  • Phase 5 (24th-36th month): During the final stage you will complete your research project, the publication of your manuscript(s), and your dissertation.

Study Abroad

During the three years of the Ph.D. program, you will be required to commit to your research project full-time. Your stay at a renowned foreign research center for at least 3 months  (up to 12) is compulsory. This will be an opportunity to diversify your study experience, by conducting research in highly stimulating and competitive contexts, exchanging ideas with other researchers, and, thereby, networking with international colleagues.


In order to be admitted to the Ph.D. program, you will need to have completed 300 ECTS credits (i.e., have already graduated in a bachelor and a master's program) in related fields and possibly have gained professional experience related to the research areas of the Ph.D. program. You will also have to demonstrate competence in the English language and be successful in the public competition.

Subject to the accreditation by the Italian Ministry for Education.

Last updated Dec 2020

About the School

The Free University of Bozen-Bolzano is located in one of the most fascinating European regions, at the crossroads between the German-speaking and Italian economies and cultures. Its trilingualism in ... Read More

The Free University of Bozen-Bolzano is located in one of the most fascinating European regions, at the crossroads between the German-speaking and Italian economies and cultures. Its trilingualism in teaching and research, its high level of internationalization as well as an ideal study environment guaranteed by its excellent facilities are some of the reasons why Unibz regularly reaches top positions in national and international rankings. Read less