PhD in Sustainable Energy and Technologies


Program Description

With this Ph.D. program, we train young researchers in the field of sustainable use of resources in the production systems of energy, of buildings, in energy final utilization, in the development of products and in manufacturing.

Course Description

The admissions process aims at selecting candidates with an outstanding academic profile, a strong interest in the topics dealt with and the ambition to develop a career in scientific research, either in academia or for private or public organizations.

The 3-year program includes training to strengthen specific skills and gain knowledge about the efficient and sustainable use of resources and energy in manufacturing, transport, domestic use, and agriculture.

Besides training, students will design a 3-year research project under the supervision of a team of lecturers and researchers aiming at exploring the field and providing an original contribution to science in the fields related to the Ph.D. program, such as energy production from renewable sources, thermophysics of buildings, new technology in the consumer sector and in manufacturing, materials and manufacturing processes and components, systems and automation.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the research carried out in the Faculty of Science and Technology, we welcome prospective candidates from various academic backgrounds. The ideal candidates are Engineering graduates, but the program is also suitable for Architecture, Physics, Maths and Chemistry graduates.

Through these training activities, a Ph.D. candidate can develop the skills to design, organize and manage highly innovative basic and applied research projects. At the same time, students will also develop methodological rigor, the ability to interpret and disseminate results, the skills to deepen and develop their knowledge independently and the ability to work in a group in an interdisciplinary context.

At a glance

  • Duration of the course: 3 years
  • Courses will be taught in English (occasionally, some courses will be taught in Italian and German
  • Places available: 7 with scholarship + 2 places for Industrial Ph.D. students
  • Campus: Bozen-Bolzano
  • Tuition fees: € 163,50 per year

Structure of the course

The Ph.D. program includes two major research areas. The first area is Sustainable use of energy resources, which includes energy production from renewable sources, the conversion of energy and its transportation, its efficient use in final utilization, particularly in buildings, with the ultimate goal of optimizing performance and enhancing the quality of interiors and of the environment.

The other research area explores Sustainability of products and manufacturing processes, including mechanical design and industrial automation, technology and industrial production processes and management of internal and external logistics, of processes and of the lifecycle.

Once candidates have gained admission to the program, they will design a research and study plan with their supervisor in order to define the purpose of their research project and the necessary steps to implement it, after compiling a comprehensive literature review. Candidates will then have to regularly verify and, if necessary, update, their research and study plan, taking into account the development of the project itself and the latest developments in their field of research.

During the course, particularly during the first year, candidates will regularly attend classes specifically designed for postgraduate students and also technical workshops and specialized lectures by researchers and specialists in the chosen disciplines.

The stages of the Ph.D.

The doctoral program is divided into four stages which end after 6, 12, 24 and 36 months, respectively. In stage 1, the candidate defines the research area, the specific topic, and the methodology. In stage 2, in the second half of the first academic year, candidates will have to define research questions and expected results. In stage 3, which starts with the second year, candidates are expected to apply the approach and techniques learned from training to their project in order to tackle their research questions and disseminate the early results at the basis of their project by presenting them at national and international conferences. In the fourth and last stage, in the third year, candidates will have to collate the results of their research project and write their doctoral thesis.

Fieldwork abroad

During the three years of the Ph.D. program, candidates are required to commit full-time to the Ph.D., and the program will include both working on the research project and learning activities. Students are also required to carry out part of their research in another university or research center abroad, for at least three months and up to a year. This is an extremely valuable opportunity for a Ph.D. candidate to study specific aspects of their research in-depth under the direct supervision of world experts in their chosen research topic. It's also an opportunity to carry out research in highly stimulating and competitive contexts while exchanging ideas with other scholars and establishing an early network of colleagues in the world of research.

Partner universities and research centers

The Faculty of Science and Technology has established partnerships with many universities and research centers in Italy and abroad.

Within academia, our university has long-established partnerships with the following institutions:

  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology, specifically, the School of Architecture and the Built Environment - Division of Building Technology, and the School of Chemical Science and Engineering - Division of Chemical Technology (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • University of Western Australia, School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering (Perth, Australia)
  • Strathclyde University of Glasgow, Energy System Research Group (Glasgow, Scotland)
  • Technische Universität Wien, Vienna (Austria)
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (USA)
  • University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado (USA)
  • EPFL, Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • Bioenergy 2020, Graz (Austria)

Other partners include research centers in the public and private sectors. Among these, some are linked to the territory of South Tyrol, like Eurac and the Fraunhofer Italia Research.


In order to gain admission to the Ph.D. program, you'll need to have obtained 300 ECTS credits (Master's degree) and have some relevant academic or cultural background or work experience in the field of the Ph.D. program. You will also have to demonstrate competence in the English language and be successful in the public competition.

Last updated Jul 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