International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA)

Introduction

About SISSA

A school where training means research

SISSA, the International School for Advanced Studies, was founded in 1978 and is a scientific center of excellence within the national and international academic scene. Located in Italy, in the city of Trieste, it features 67 professors, about 130 post-docs, 245 PhD students and 95 technical administrative staff. Situated on the scenic Karst upland, the School is surrounded by a 25 acre park, and offers a stunning view of the Gulf of Trieste.

The three main research areas of SISSA are Physics, Neuroscience and Mathematics.

All the scientific work carried out by SISSA researchers is published regularly in leading international journals with a high impact factor, and frequently in the most prestigious scientific journals such as Nature and Science. The School has also drawn up over 150 collaboration agreements with the world's leading schools and research institutes.

The quality level of the research is further confirmed by the fact that within the competitive field of European funding schemes SISSA holds the top position among Italian scientific institutes in terms of research grants obtained in relation to the number of researchers and professors. Such leadership should also be seen in terms of SISSA's ability to obtain funding, both from the private and public sectors, such as SIR and PRIN.

As for the National assessment of research quality involving all Universities and scientific institutes, SISSA got top marks in mathematics and neuroscience, and came first among medium-sized departments in the field of physical science.

Facilities

Thanks to its outstanding setting in the unspoilt countryside of the Trieste Karst, the wonderful park around the School is a lovely place to go for walks and to enjoy the view over the town and on the Trieste Gulf.

On the SISSA campus you can find some amenities, such as the theater/auditorium, the gym and much more, which will make your stay in the School even more pleasant.

All students and researchers are also entitled to use facilities which are extremely important for their work. One of those facilities is the library, which gives access to all the most important scientific publications covering all research fields at SISSA. On the campus, journals are also freely accessible online in their electronic version.

Research Laboratories

For their research activities, the experimental groups of SISSA can use several laboratories.

The Neurobiology laboratories use advanced tools for physiological research, DNA sequence analyzer, and molecular biology instrumentation. This Area also uses advanced computers and software for molecular modeling, and for the study of hybrid bio-electronic devices. Advanced types of software for the study of biology-inspired machine vision are in use. The microscope facilities of the Neurobiology Area are: an electron microscope, two confocal microscopes and numerous fluorescence microscopes.

The facilities of the Cognitive Neuroscience laboratories are: test cabins for psycholinguistic experiments with adults and children using sophisticated artificial speech; a virtual theatre for presenting visual scenes to test reasoning processes in children; high-density evoked potential recording to carry out neuroimaging on children and adults; a neuropsychology laboratory equipped for transcranical magnetic stimulation. Other methodological highpoints include the tactile perception laboratory, which examines the neuronal basis of sensation using a 100-microelectrode matrix implanted in cerebral cortex; this group also monitors neuronal activity underlying perceptual decisions in behaving animals.

Information Technology and Computing Services

Huge resources for scientific computing are available at SISSA. Services include e-mail, web hosting, distributed file systems, wireless and remote Internet access, courseware and research and high-performance computing facilities. SISSA maintains a large number of interconnected number-crunching servers that communicate with each other.

SISSA is connected to GARR, the Italian research network, and communicates with the main national and international super-computing centres.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

View PhDs »

Programs

This school also offers:

PhD

Joint PhD Program in Molecular Biology (JuMBO)

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

The International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), the International Center for Genetic Engineering Biotechnology (ICGEB), the University of Trieste and the University of Udine offer a new Joint PhD Program in Molecular Biology (JuMBO). [+]

The International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), the International Center for Genetic Engineering Biotechnology (ICGEB), the University of Trieste and the University of Udine offer a new Joint PhD Program in Molecular Biology (JuMBO). The main mission of JuMBO is to train enthusiastic young scientists from developed and developing countries to use advanced molecular tools with a deeper understanding of their scientific and technical opportunities and limitations. Students who complete this PhD program will have a solid background in the various aspects of Molecular Biology and related methodology, including bioinformatics and structural biology, to efficiently exploit new functionalities for scientific and technical research purposes. Students will benefit from receiving their training in Molecular Biology in the active and exciting research environment of the four prestigious institutions. In addition, PhD students will benefit from established collaborations of the Institutions involved in the program, and in particular ongoing exchanges with the National Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the German Research School for Simulation Sciences in Jülich (Germany). Projects within the PhD Course Program take advantage of tools in molecular and structural biology to study the mechanisms of differentiation and cell homeostasis and their dys-regulation in cancer, viral infection and neurodegenerative diseases. A large collection of organisms is studied ranging from Homo sapiens to plants. Students are continuously in touch with cutting-edge research by attending classes, seminars and workshops throughout the year. The average teacher-student ratio is about 1 to 3. Main research lines are: Molecular Biology of Cells Developmental Biology... [-]

PhD in Astroparticle Physics

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

Astroparticle Physics represents one of the preeminent interests of SISSA and has been singled out as one of the areas that SISSA will further strengthen in the near future. It is a young and interdisciplinary field, [+]

Astroparticle Physics represents one of the preeminent interests of SISSA and has been singled out as one of the areas that SISSA will further strengthen in the near future. It is a young and interdisciplinary field, at the frontier among Astrophysics, Cosmology, and Particle Physics, addressing some of the most pressing and fundamental questions in Science today, such as understanding the nature of gravity, explaining the origin and evolution of the Universe and identifying the nature of its constituents, including dark matter and dark energy. In recent years the field has witnessed a rapid growth, also in connection to the wealth of new data and the rich experimental programmes in progress. The focus at SISSA is to connect the new insights offered by these exciting phenomenological developments to the forefront of the theoretical research in the field. A PhD programme entirely devoted to Astroparticle Physics was established in 2004 as a joint initiative of the Astrophysics and Particle Physics groups, and has now developed in an independent research and teaching curriculum. So far the program has awarded 13 Ph.D. degrees and all graduates have obtained a postdoctoral fellowship in internationally renowned institutions at the end of their studies. The curriculum consists of 3-4 years of study and research. During the first year, students are offered a number of courses covering a wide spectrum of topics including quantum field theory, the standard model of particle physics and its extensions, cosmology and gravitation theory, particle and high energy astrophysics, and then undergo... [-]

PhD in Astrophysics

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

There has never been a better time to work in Astrophysics, a vibrant and competitive discipline in frontier research. Applicants to the PhD program in Astrophysics will first be assessed on the basis of their CV and reference letters. [+]

There has never been a better time to work in Astrophysics, a vibrant and competitive discipline in frontier research. Applicants to the PhD program in Astrophysics will first be assessed on the basis of their CV and reference letters. A number of candidates will be invited for an interview on one of the two announced dates. The PhD course consists of 3 to 4 years of study and research. First-year students are required to attend several courses spanning a period from November to May and to take exams in a selection of those courses. At the beginning of the first year, students are assigned a tutor, a SISSA staff member who will advise them on selecting exams and will provide guidance on choosing a research project for their PhD thesis. After completion of the courses, students will start working on their research project under the supervision of one or more SISSA staff members. The Astrophysics group consists of 8 staff members, 7 postdoctoral fellows and 20 PhD students. All the principal investigators have recognized expertise in the fields of analysis and interpretation of cosmic microwave background and sub-millimetre surveys, large- scale structure surveys, cluster physics, galaxy formation and evolution, dark energy, dark matter, galactic and extragalactic black holes, stellar structure and evolution, high-energy astrophysics, relativistic astrophysics, early Universe physics and gravitation theory. Students will also benefit from close contact with other SISSA groups, such as the Astroparticle Physics and the Theoretical Particle Physics groups, and from connections with the International... [-]

PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

The PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at SISSA aims at providing students with the fundamental knowledge and skills for conducting cutting-edge research in the field, covering topics as diverse as perception, language, memory, action, and social behaviour. [+]

The PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at SISSA aims at providing students with the fundamental knowledge and skills for conducting cutting-edge research in the field, covering topics as diverse as perception, language, memory, action, and social behaviour. Some of our research is also translational in nature (e.g., cognitive neuropsychology), thus offering opportunity for a career outside academia. The School is strongly research oriented. Our faculty dedicate most of their time to research, thus offering exceptional tutorship. This substantial investment in research is reflected in our ability to attract highly competitive funding (there are five on-going ERC grants in the group, several Human Frontier projects, and so on); develop strong research ties, both locally (e.g., the Healthcare system of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, the Unione Italiana Ciechi, the University of Trieste) and internationally (e.g., NTNU, Harvard, Oxford); and publish in leading journals such as Current Biology, PNAS, Science and Nature. The program has a strongly interdisciplinary approach: our research themes and expertise are suitable for students with backgrounds in computer science, math, medicine, experimental psychology, theoretical physics, biology and linguistics, as well as neuroscience proper, obviously. The official language at SISSA is English, so speaking Italian is NOT a requirement. The workload is mostly focused on conducting a research project under the supervision of our faculty, and in collaboration with fellow students, post-docs and possibly external professionals, such as neurologists, biologists or rehabilitation experts. For first-year students, the School also offers courses on the foundations of cognitive neuroscience, both theoretical and... [-]

PhD in Condensed Matter Physics

Campus Full time Part time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste + 1 more

SISSA has just launched a new program for faster access to a PhD in condensed matter physics. The best students will be able to attend lectures at SISSA while still attending their last year of the Master course in Physics at the University of Trieste. [+]

SISSA welcomes applications for up to 6 positions for a new Fast Track PhD in Condensed Matter Physics starting in October 2016 SISSA has just launched a new program for faster access to a PhD in condensed matter physics. The best students will be able to attend lectures at SISSA while still attending their last year of the Master course in Physics at the University of Trieste. The PhD course in “Theory and numerical simulation of condensed matter” is a rich and complete post-graduate program of up to 4 years of training and research covering the various aspects of the field. The fast track program allows students to start their research careers one year earlier, studying and working in a vibrant international environment. Students at SISSA have ongoing close interaction with their supervisors as well as with several scientists and specialists in their field of study. To access this fast track PhD program students will be selected based on their curriculum and two entrance exams, one before enrolling the Master and one after two years for being admitted to the PhD. The two students, who will rank best in the selection, will be granted up to 750 euros per month to cover living costs in Trieste and university fees. Info SISSA is a scientific center in the fields of Physics, Mathematics and Neurosciences, located in a campus with stunning views over the city and the gulf. How to apply Applications will be accepted from 15 June to 1 September 2016... [-]

PhD in Geometry and Mathematical Physics

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

The PhD program in Geometry and Mathematical Physics focuses on the study of analytic and geometric aspects of physical phenomena that are of fundamental interest in both pure and applied sciences and covers wide spectrum of topics [+]

Purpose of the PhD Course The PhD program in Geometry and Mathematical Physics focuses on the study of analytic and geometric aspects of physical phenomena that are of fundamental interest in both pure and applied sciences and covers wide spectrum of topics in modern algebraic and differential geometry and their applications. Research Topics Integrable systems in relation with differential, algebraic and symplectic geometry, as well as with the theory of random matrices, special functions and nonlinear waves, Frobenius manifolds Deformation theory and virtual classes moduli spaces of sheaves and of curves, in relation with supersymmetric gauge theories, strings, Gromov-Witten invariants, orbifolds and automorphisms Quantum groups, noncommutative Riemannian and spin geometry, applications to models in mathematical physics Mathematical methods of quantum mechanics Mathematical aspects of quantum Field Theory and String 
Theory Symplectic geometry, sub-riemannian geometry Geometry of quantum fields and strings Seminar on Hodge theory The students of the Geometry and Mathematical Physics sector organize a series of seminars on topics of Hodge Theory. The most recent placements after PHD at SISSA: Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Berkeley - USA, Harvard University, Cambridge - USA , Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford - UK, DAMTP, University of Cambridge - UK, Max Planck Institute, Bonn - Germany , École Polytechnique, Palaiseau - France General Rules The PhD programme consists in three/four years of study and research. The main selection procedure consists in an entrance examination. This is divided into two parts: in the written part applicants are asked to solve problems from a list... [-]

PhD in Mathematical Analysis, Modelling and Application

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years August 2017 Italy Trieste

The aim of the PhD Course in Mathematical Analysis, Modelling, and Applications is to educate graduate students in the fields of mathematical analysis and mathematical modelling, and in the applications of mathematical and numerical analysis to science and technology. [+]

Purpose of the PhD Course The aim of the PhD Course in Mathematical Analysis, Modelling, and Applications is to educate graduate students in the fields of mathematical analysis and mathematical modelling, and in the applications of mathematical and numerical analysis to science and technology. The goal is to enable PhDs to work as high level researchers in these fields in universities, research institutes, and private companies. Research Topics The activity in Mathematical Analysis is mainly focused on ordinary and partial differential equations, on dynamical systems, on the calculus of variations, and on control theory. Connections of these topics with differential geometry and reduced order modeling are also developed. The activity in Mathematical Modelling is oriented to subjects for which the main technical tools come from mathematical analysis. The present themes are multiscale analysis, mechanics of materials, micromagnetics, modelling of biological systems, computational fluid and solid dynamics and problems related to control theory. The Applications of Mathematics developed in this course are related to the numerical analysis of partial differential equations and of control problems. This activity is developed in collaboration with MathLab for the study of problems coming from the real world, from industrial and medical applications, and from complex systems. Main research lines: Calculus of Variations and Multiscale Analysis Conservation Laws and Transport Problems Geometric Control Theory and Sub-Riemannian Geometry Mechanics of Materials and of Biological Systems Nonlinear Analysis Numerical Analysis Systems Biology The most recent placements after PhD at SISSA: Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France), University of Oxford (Oxford,... [-]

PhD in Neurobiology

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

The aim of the Lectures of the PhD program in Neurobiology is to provide students with a common framework starting from different backgrounds. [+]

The aim of the Lectures of the PhD program in Neurobiology is to provide students with a common framework starting from different backgrounds. Lectures will take place at the beginning of the PhD Program, so to have more time to focus on the scientific research project that will be carried out during the PhD. There will be two main scientific modules complemented by a module dedicated to specific experimental methodologies and safety procedures. All the lectures will be in English and will be held by an expert in the field. Module 1 will be devoted to fundamental aspects of Neurophysiology and Neurobiology: we will review basic notions about neurons, synapses and sensory systems. We will also cover properties of neuronal networks underlying perception in the cortex and locomotion in the spinal cord. Module 2 will be dedicated to emerging tools and experimental methodologies from Nanotechnology, which can be used to investigate molecular properties of neurons, synapses and sensory cells. Properties of the interactions between neurons and new materials, such carbon nanotubes and grapheme, will be covered as well as basic properties of Atomic Force Microscopy and advanced Photonics. Module 3 will focus on methods to study receptors and channels function at molecular level, to understand signaling mechanisms involved in neuronal plasticity and adaptive responses. This module will be complemented by practical courses and lectures on specific molecular biology methods, like site-directed mutagenesis, protein analysis as well as on the use of conventional microscopy and cell biology techniques. This module will... [-]

PhD in Physics and Chemistry of Biological Systems

Campus Full time 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

Understanding the working principles of living organisms and soft matter systems from the basic equations ruling the dynamics of atoms and molecules was considered science fiction until a few years ago, and biophysics was almost unanimously considered a battlefield for phenomenologists. [+]

Understanding the working principles of living organisms and soft matter systems from the basic equations ruling the dynamics of atoms and molecules was considered science fiction until a few years ago, and biophysics was almost unanimously considered a battlefield for phenomenologists. Nowadays, applying rigorous physics to biological processes is no longer a dream. What’s more, it is becoming clear that the next few decades will be the golden age for the “theory of life”, which is expected to undergo the same accelerating growth experienced by other physics disciplines in the past century. Young scientists attracted by the opportunity to develop and apply concepts, models and methods to explore the still uncharted territory of quantitative biology can take up this challenge in our PhD programme in Physics and Chemistry of Biological Systems. This PhD programme has a highly interdisciplinary character and offers advanced, research- oriented training in theoretical and computational topics at the interface of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The faculty includes members from the SISSA Physics and Mathematics areas, the CNR-IOM Democritos centre and ICTP, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics. Students are typically admitted to the PhD programme after taking a written and oral exam, though non-EU applicants may be pre-selected based exclusively on academic qualifications. During the November-April period of the first year, students attend a set of advanced courses, which include: Statistical Mechanics, Numerical Methods in Computational Physics System Biology, Statistics and Probability Introduction to Biochemistry, Computational Biochemistry Advanced Sampling Techniques Molecular Dynamics Statistical Mechanics of Polymers... [-]

PhD in Statistical Physics

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

Statistical Physics, together with Quantum Mechanics, is the pillar of our understanding of many physical phenomena, from the simplest to the most sophisticated. The field has recently witnessed a significant and impressive outpouring of experimental and theoretical results, [+]

Statistical Physics, together with Quantum Mechanics, is the pillar of our understanding of many physical phenomena, from the simplest to the most sophisticated. The field has recently witnessed a significant and impressive outpouring of experimental and theoretical results, which have created an ideal physicist’s playground. Statistical Physics addresses, for instance, crucial questions about the nature of phase transitions and predicts the possibility to forge new states of matter, such as Bose-Einstein condensation in ultra-cold gases. At the same time, it provides a vital source of fresh ideas and inspiration for those who work in more theoretical directions. Its attraction lies in its ability to produce an array of sophisticated analytical and conceptual tools with far-reaching applications. The remarkable blend of mathematical and physical ideas is at the root of the outstanding scientific elegance and extraordinary efficiency characterizing this scientific area. Thanks to an intense activity of postgraduate courses, weekly seminars, colloquia and journal club meetings, the PhD programme aims at providing students with aims at training students to a complete mastery of the scientific methods of Statistical Physics and exposing them to research topics which are currently at the frontier of this field, such as: Quantum Field Theory Exactly Solvable Models Ultra-cold atomic gases Quantum spin chains Physics out of equilibrium and thermalization properties Quantum quench and entanglement AdS/CFT correspondence Conformal Field Theory Stochastic methods Casimir effect Random matrices The most recent placements after PhD at SISSA: Rockfeller Foundation, New York, USA Rutgers University, Rutgers, USA Nordita, Stockholm, Sweden Max... [-]

PhD in Structural and Functional Genomics

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

The PhD Course in Structural and Functional Genomics main mission is the training of enthusiastic young scientists focusing their interests in a broad spectrum of biological research disciplines. [+]

Our Mission The PhD Course in Structural and Functional Genomics main mission is the training of enthusiastic young scientists focusing their interests in a broad spectrum of biological research disciplines. Projects within the PhD Course Program span from genomics, transcriptomics and developmental genetics to structural biology, molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration and developmental neurobiology. Crossing over research such as system biology may have a prominent role within the PhD Course Program. Students are continuously exposed to cutting edge research through year around classes, seminars and workshops. Average ratio between supervisor and students is about 1 to 5. Main research lines are: Functional Genomics of the Brain Developmental Genomics Systems Biology Nanotechnology for Biological Sciences Structural Biology of Prion Protein Structural Biology of DNA Replication Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration: Synthetic Prions Molecular Physiology Drug Discovery The most recent placements after PhD at SISSA: Northwestern University (Chicago, USA), UCSF Medical Center (San Francisco, USA), VIB Center for the Biology of Disease (KU Leuven, Belgium), Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Madrid, Spain), National Institute of Chemistry (Ljubljana, Slovenia) Admissions The admissions to the Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) Course in Functional and Structural Genomics take place through a selection based on academic and scientific qualifications and a written and oral examination, according to the Statute of the School. Exceptionally qualified non EU-students can be admitted to the course only through evaluation of their academic and scientific qualifications. For the admissions, candidates must hold an Italian Laurea (Laurea Specialistica, Laurea Magistralis or the old Laurea Quadriennale) in a... [-]

PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

The PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics has always been part of the postgraduate programmes on offer at SISSA. More than a hundred students have obtained a PhD qualification in Theoretical Particle Physics since SISSA started offering the course. [+]

The PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics has always been part of the postgraduate programmes on offer at SISSA. More than a hundred students have obtained a PhD qualification in Theoretical Particle Physics since SISSA started offering the course. Every year, five students are selected to attend this 3-year programme (plus an extra year, if needed) of study and research. During the first year students attend about 450 hours of postgraduate courses covering a wide spectrum of topics, ranging from phenomenology to the more formal aspects of theoretical particle physics. Each student has to select a subset of them and pass the relevant exams within the first year. The main research lines are: Physics at the LHC, Physics Beyond the Standard Model, Neutrino Physics, String Theory, the AdS/CFT correspondence and alternative Quantum Theories of Gravity. Students benefit from the rich environment of scientific institutions of the Trieste area, such as the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the Physics Department of the University of Trieste and the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN). By the beginning of the second year, students undertake a research project under the supervision of a SISSA staff member or a scientist working at a partner research institution (such as ICTP and INFN). The PhD degree is typically obtained 3 to 4 years after the beginning of the programme. During their stay in Trieste, students have the opportunity to interact with about 20 other students from the same PhD curriculum plus hundreds of other international students from... [-]

PhD in Theory and Numerical Simulation of Condensed Matter

Campus Full time 3 - 4 years October 2017 Italy Trieste

The PhD curriculum in Theory and Simulation of Condensed Matter is suited to highly motivated students interested in learning how the microscopic constituents of matters self- assemble to bring about the whole complexity of the states of matter, from molecules to complex solids, [+]

The PhD curriculum in Theory and Simulation of Condensed Matter is suited to highly motivated students interested in learning how the microscopic constituents of matters self- assemble to bring about the whole complexity of the states of matter, from molecules to complex solids, and in learning how to model fascinating macroscopic phenomena, from friction to superconductivity and superfluidity, emerging from the collective behaviour of those microscopic agents. During the first year of their PhD course, students acquire the most advanced tools for modelling and studying states of matter, from ab-initio simulation of real materials and molecules to quantum simulation of lattice models, from the classical statistical theory of many-body systems to its quantum counterpart, and acquaint themselves with the broad research activity carried out at SISSA through more focused and topical courses. This preliminary stage provides students with a common background and all the information they need to decide on the research topic they intend to pursue in their PhD thesis. The following 2 or 3 years of the PhD programme are devoted to individual research under the guidance of supervisors. Annual progress reports will ensure the timely detection and solution of possible difficulties. The DEMOCRITOS Simulation Centre belonging to the Istituto Officina dei Materiali (IOM) part of the National Council for Research (CNR), and hosted by SISSA, is fully integrated in the research activity of the Condensed Matter group. Strong links are also maintained with scientists of the nearby Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and Elettra... [-]

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