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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

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PhD in

Sustainable Energy and Technologies

With this PhD programme we train young researchers in the field of sustainable use of resources in the production systems of energy, of buildings, in energy final utilisation, in the development of products and in manufacturing.

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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 organisations.

The 3-year programme includes training to strengthen specific skills and gain knowledge about the efficient and sustainable use of resources and energy in households and buildings, power generation, manufacturing processes, transport 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 PhD programme, such as energy production from renewable sources, thermophysics of buildings, biofuels and bioenergy, energy storage, environmental and industrial fluid mechanics, clean mobility and powertrains.

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 programme is also suitable for Architecture, Physics, Maths and Chemistry graduates.

Through these training activities, a PhD candidate can develop the skills to design, organise and manage highly innovative basic and applied research projects. At the same time, students will also develop methodological rigour, 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.

The Scientific Committee includes internationally renowned scientists from Italian and foreign Universities. The international research training and the skills developed during the doctoral programme will help PhD candidates meeting their career aspirations, both inside and outside research institutions.


At a glance

Duration of the programme: 3 years
Courses will be taught in English (occasionally, some courses will be taught in Italian and German
Places available: 8 with scholarship + 2 without scholarship
Campus: Bozen-Bolzano
Tuition fees: € 189 per year

Programme Structure

The core topics of the PhD programme are:

  1. Technical and economic Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (EES) in end uses, including buildings and industrial production processes, from the user to a regional scale
    •  Energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality in buildings, from design to control
    •  Energy efficiency in production processes
    •  Management of energy consumption at district level, optimization of district heating systems
  2. Renewable Energy and Energy Conversion Technologies (RECT)
    •  Exploitation of renewable energy sources (particularly biomass and biofuels, hydropower and others), environmental and industrial fluid mechanics and development of the related technologies
    •  Efficiency in thermal processes, energy generation, and technologies for industrial and civil cogeneration (electrical and fluid power machines)
    •  Energy storage solutions, fuel upgrading, energy recovery, energy vectors, novel mobility and powertrains in the automotive, industrial and agricultural sector
  3. Sustainable production and supply chain management
    •  Circular Economy in Production and Supply Chains

    •  Decarbonization and Life Cycle Engineering

    •  Eco-intelligent Production Processes and Factories

    •  Smart, Resilient and Human-Centric Production

    •  Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management

A specific focus is laid on the peculiar contexts of the Alpine territory of South Tyrol, but also its integration in the international context.

The admitted candidates will design a 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 specialised lectures by researchers and specialists in the chosen disciplines.

The stages of the PhD

The doctoral programme 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, the research question and the methodology. In stage 2, in the second half of the first academic year, candidates will gain all the required skills and knowledge to carry on their research project and start their investigations. In stage 3, which indicatively starts with the second year, candidates are expected to apply the approaches and the acquired methodologies and skills in order to tackle their research questions and disseminate the early results 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 a paper in an International peer-reviewed Journal and their doctoral thesis.

Course offering

Fieldwork abroad

During the three years of the PhD programme, candidates are required to commit full-time to the PhD and the programme 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 Centre abroad, for at least three months and up to a year. This is an extremely valuable opportunity for a PhD candidate to study specific aspects of their research in depth under 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 centres

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

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

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


PhD Programme Coordinator: Prof. Michele Larcher (photo)
Student Representative in the Lecturer's Committee: Lars Jakobs


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Application and Admission

You can find key information to apply and gain admission to this PhD Programme. For detailed information browse the general and specific calls below.

In order to gain admission to the PhD programme, you will need to have obtained 300 ECTS credit points (master degree) and have some relevant academic experience in the field of the programme. You will also have to demonstrate competence in the English language during the interview.

1st Call

Application deadline: by 11/07/2024 (by noon local time)
Admission interviews:  by 29/07/2024 (via MS Teams)
Publication of ranking lists: by 05/08/2024

Confirmation of the PhD position - 1st Call

Applicants with scholarship: by 20/08/2024 (by noon local time)
Applicants without scholarship: starting from 21/08/2024 until 30/08/2024.
Enrolment: Starting from 21/08/2024 until 31/10/2024 (by noon local time)


1st Call

Publication of the call: from 10/06/2024
Application deadline: by 11/07/2024 (by noon local time)


Call - FSE+

Publication of the call: from 10/06/2024
Application deadline
: by 11/07/2024 (by noon local time)


Contact us by phone at +39 0471 012800 or send us an e-mail: