PhD in Mathematics in Natural, Social and Life Sciences

GSSI - Gran Sasso Science Institute

Program Description

PhD in Mathematics in Natural, Social and Life Sciences

GSSI - Gran Sasso Science Institute

The PhD program in Mathematics in Natural, Social and Life Sciences aims to guide graduate students to deal not only with the most classic aspects of Mathematics, such as Partial Differential Equations, Stochastic Analysis, Mathematical Physics and Numerical Analysis but also with emerging new challenges proposed by non traditional domains of application, requiring the development of new tools and inter and multidisciplinary approaches. One additional PhD position will be financed by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)for the research program in Network Communications in Plant Roots(see the following table*).

Places / Scholarships : 10 + 1 for the research program in Network Communications in Plant Roots

*One additional scholarship of the PhD in Mathematics in Natural, Social and Life Sciences will be financed by the Italian Institute of Technology for the research program in Network Communications in Plant Roots with the following conditions:

1 PhD position GSSI –IIT for the research program in Network Communications in Plant Roots Salary Gross Amount and additional benefits follow the ordinary GGSI rules.
Financial Support: Italian Institute of Technology -IIT
Scientific Directors:
  • Pierangelo Marcati (GSSI)
  • Barbara Mazzolai (IIT)
Locations of the scientific activity:
  1. Gran Sasso Science Institute(GSSI) –Viale F.Crispi n. 7, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy;
  2. IIT -Center for Micro-BioRobotics (IIT@SSSA)–Viale R. Piaggio n.34, 56025 Pontedera PI,Italy.
Different locations may be agreed between the scientific directors.
Fellowship Research Program:
data collections, quality of data, mathematical models and simulations on plant roots
The student will be enrolled in the Ph.D program of “Mathematics in Natural, Social and Life Sciences” of the GSSI (the XXXII cycle in the italian national Ph.D scheme) and her/he will be required to follow the school by laws and regulations. The PhD fellow research activity is expected to be full time dedicated to investigate topics within the fellowship research program, under the supervision of the scientific directors. The fellow publications and the Ph.D thesis are subject to the prior approval from both of the scientific directors. Failure by the PhD fellow to pursue her/his research in the required topics can lead any moment the GSSI to exclude the fellow from the PhD program./td>
Selection Procedure:
the application to the present program can be done with the standard GSSI procedure, by using the dedicated option on the URL
Information can be required to
Preferred background
Beyond the admission requirements to GSSI, the selection committee will consider a specific background (possession of an M.Sc degree will be considered) in Applied Mathematics or theoretical physics or theoretical aspects in engineering. An important consideration will be given the knowledge of basic numerical and theoretical aspects of ODEs and PDEs, the basic knowledge of probability and some experience in mathematica modelling.


GSSI awards scholarships for 3 years. The yearly amount of the scholarship is of €16.159,91 gross(an additional 50% on monthly basis may be awarded for research period aboard if approved by the GSSI).

Facilities and benefits

  • All PhD students will have tuition fees waived;
  • All PhD students will have free accommodation at the GSSI facilities or a financial substitute of 350,00 Euros gross/month (to obtain the contribution, the students would have to present a rental agreement);
  • All PhD students will have free luncheon vouchers(1 per day, working days,except school closures, missions, other situations contemplated by the GSSI rules);
  • All PhD students will be covered by insurance against any accident and/or injury that may occur while carrying out their PhD activities.


English knowledge is compulsory. Applications are opened to candidates who meet the below requirements without regard to nationality, age, gender or religion:
Italian Degree Foreign Degree Graduating Applicants
“Laurea Magistrale” (or “Specialistica”) or Four or five years degree according to the previous rules of the Italian higher education system (vecchio ordinamento) Foreign degrees are considered and their eligibility is assessed by the Selection Committee. For admissions, the minimum duration of university studies is equivalent to four years(full time). If admitted,foreign degree holders are required to hand in a “Dichiarazione di valore”. This document is not required to apply (see below). Applicants obtaining their degree by no later than October 31 2016 may apply (both Italian or foreign degree according to the previous description).Applicants will have to send a copy of their degree certificate at by November 20 2016(for Italian degrees a“self declaration” can also be accepted).


Applicants must fill out the online application form ( and attach the required documents by September 1,2016, 6pm (Italian time zone).No other application method will be accepted.

Data and documents entered into the application form are the sole responsibility of the applicant. In the events of false declaration(s), the applicant will not be allowed to enroll/will be expelled in/from the PhD program.

In order to successfully submit the application form, applicants must insert all the data/information and upload the attachments as listed below. We strongly recommend applicants to review the inserted information and uploaded attachments before submitting the application. No changes are allowed to submitted data. Erroneous data and/or attachments will be evaluated as they are submitted.

Please note that applicants are responsible for ensuring that their completed application arrives on time. We strongly suggest that applicants submit their application well in advance of the deadline in order to avoid last-minute congestion in the online application procedure.


The PhD applicants are applying to: Mathematics in Natural, Social and Life Sciences Compulsory (on pain of exclusion from the competition) It is possible to apply for more than one curriculum, in this case the applicant should repeat the application procedure for each curriculum chosen(also for the additional scholarship in Network Communications in Plant Roots).
Personal data Compulsory (on pain of exclusion from the competition) Compulsory (on pain of exclusion from the competition)
Degree Compulsory (on pain of exclusion from the competition) Applicants must fill out the information referred to the final degree required for admission (as reported in the above table).
Reference Letters Optional Applicants can provide the names and contact information up to two referees. Referees should submit reference letters in English or Italian through the online application system (the information provided by the applicants in the online form will be used to send the referees and email with a link to a page where they can upload the reference letter).
Interview Compulsory (on pain of exclusion from the competition) Applicants must specify their preference for the interview:
  • via videoconference (skype call)
  • in l’Aquila (at the applicants expenses)
Please note that the Selection Committee prefers no option, they are equivalent.
Disabilties Optional/td> Applicants with disabilities needing special assistance must specify it in the online form.


Identification Document Compulsory (on pain of exclusion from the competition) Signed and dated photocopy of a valid ID document.ID document is an official public document with the following characteristics: personal information, stamped identity picture, serial number, place and date of release. For non Italian documents, English translation on the original ID is required.
The photocopy must contain all the pages reporting the above mentioned information, all 6 pages must be signed and dated. For foreign applicants the passport is highly recommended.
Curriculum Vitae et Studiorum (CV) Compulsory (on pain of exclusion from the competition) n English or Italian, the CV must indicate the university degree(s) held by the applicant, eventual professional and research activity experience and publications, if any.
Degree certificate Compulsory Certificate of the Degree required for admission (as above mentioned):
  • EU citizens or NON EU citizen residing in Italy: a copy of the certificate or a self-declaration declaring the possession of a degree indicating: conferral date, issuing University and final grade;
  • other applicants: certificate declaring the possession of a degree indicating: conferral date, issuing University and finalgrade.For applicants who expect to complete their degree by October 31 2016: certificate or self-declaration (only for EU citizens and NON EU citizens residing in Italy) indicating the single examinations taken and grades obtained. Please note that it is compulsory to hand in or send the final degree certificate by November 20 2016 as above mentioned.

In BOTH cases, if the official document released by the university is not available in Italian or English, candidates should also attach a translation of the document under their responsibility.
Academic Transcripts or Diploma supplement Compulsory Academic transcript: an official document released by the university detailing the courses/classes taken or subjects studies and related grades. Alternatively, applicants may attach the Diploma Supplement as defined by the European Commission.


Mathematics in Natural, Social and Life Sciences Applicant are required to upload also a file containing a synthetic report of the core courses followed on the following topics:
  1. Partial Differential Equations
  2. Probability/stochastic processes
  3. Functional Analysis
  4. Numerical Analysis
  5. Physics/continuum mechanics/fluid dynamics
For each course in this area, students should provide a short syllabus (no more than 10 lines) main textbooks, name of the instructors and possibly the link to the course home page.

Selection Procedure

Applicants are evaluated by the Selection Committee of the Program they applied for on the basis of their prior performance and professional promise, as evidenced by their academic record and any other pertinent data they submit.

Candidates will be evaluated on the basis of their academic background, skills and scientific value with reference to the subjects of the interdisciplinary program, and their general aptitudes to research. The Selection Committee will also assess the relevance of any publication, the suitability of the candidates CV, the reference letters and any additional special qualifications, educational activities and/or participation in research groups or projects.

The selection procedure will be carried out in two phases:

  • Assessment of all application admitted through the online procedure: with the publication on the GSSI web site of the shortlist of the candidates admitted to the interview.
  • Interview: once short-listed, applicants will be required to participate in a comprehensive interview in English in order to assess their aptitude for research in the track/curricula for which they have applied, as well as their English proficiency.

Dates of the shortlist publication and interviews in the different PhD degrees:

PhD Program Publication of the shortlisted candidates Interviews
Mathematics in Natural, Social and Life Sciences September 5, 2016 From 8 to 16 September 2016


General ranking list and evaluation results will be published on the GSSI web site: list will indicate the names of the applicants who have been admitted to the different PhD Programs. In the event of forfeiture or exclusion of a candidate within 45 days from the date of beginning of the program, she/he shall be replaced by the next suitable candidate according to the ranking.


Once admitted to the PhD Program, candidates who wish to enroll must download the enrollment form given by the GSSI administration, fill it in, and submit it in person, by mail to GSSI, Viale F. Crispi n. 7, 67100 L’Aquila –Italy or by email within 10 days from the notification of the results on the GSSI website.

All documents required for the enrolment have to be enclosed; otherwise, the request will be rejected.Admitted applicants who do not send the enrollment form within the deadline will automatically forfeit their place in the program.

In the event that any of the documents downloaded during the application procedure do not correspond those submitted during enrollment due to deliberate false declaration, the applicant will automatically forfeit his/her place in the program.

Please note that enrollment is effective ONLY starting from your arrival at GSSI (no later than the first day of official classes). Unauthorized absences may nullify the enrollment procedure.

FOREIGN DEGREE HOLDERS: Dichiarazione di Valore

Prior to registration, admitted candidates with foreign degree (except degree obtained in France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark) will have to send or hand in the “Dichiarazione di valore” or a document that certifies that the procedure for obtaining such document has been initiated. The "Dichiarazione di valore" is a translation and legal certification issued according to the relevant legislation by a qualified Italian diplomatic or consular representative in the country where the degree/qualification has been issued, listing all the exams taken and the grades received by the applicant.Temporarily, a proof of the request to the Italian diplomatic or consulate representative may be accepted for “on hold” registration.

IMPORTANT NOTE: please note that it may take quite some time to obtain the “Dichiarazione di Valore”. As such, we suggest contacting the Italian diplomatic representative in the country where the degree has been issued as soon as possible in the application process.

Contact and info, +39 0862 4280262,
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 1, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Nov. 2017
3 years
Full time
Start date Nov. 2017
Italy L'Aquila
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 3 years
Price Request Info