PhD in Biology of Plants - Plants for Life

Education objectives

Current climate changes combined with the reduction of per capita agricultural land area and other natural resources pose major limitations for securing food, feed, and energy demands of the escalating world population. Overcoming these limitations through the generation of better food, feed and energy crops, while ensuring sustainability and environmental health, is one of the contemporary challenges for plant scientists.

The international PhD Program Plants for Life aims to train a prominent body of future world-class researchers in plant sciences able to address key biological questions related to plant growth and development, to plant responses to environmental stress and to the improvement of crop varieties and plant products.

The innovative training provided by Plants for Life PhD Program is unique in the country, representing an opportune and highly valuable input to increase the competitiveness and innovation ability in an area of crucial importance for the sustainable development and future of human society.

General characterization

DGES code



PhD (3rd Cycle)



Access to other programs

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Nelson Saibo

Opening date

April 2020


Up to 6


Registration fee: 51,00 euros
Maximum annual fee: 2750,00 euros
Minimum annual fee: 630,50

Both annual fees can be paid in four installments.


From 09:00 am until 05:00 pm

Teaching language

Available soon

Degree pre-requisites

The graduation record of the applicants should be strong and meet one of the following requirements:

a) hold a Masters degree or legal equivalent;
b) hold a Bachelor’s degree with a total number of academic credits equal or above 240 (pre-Bologna degrees);
c) exceptionally, hold a Bachelor’s degree with a total number of academic credits below 240 (post-Bologna degrees) and an academic or scientific curriculum vitae of outstanding quality recognized by the Directive Board of the PhD Program.

d) If you have not completed your Masters degree, but will do so until the 31st of January 2015 you can still apply.

Conditions of admittance

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Evaluation rules

The PhD Program Plants for Life has a total of 240 credits (ECTS) and is mainly composed by the individual research project (210 ECTS) leading to thesis dissertation. The course component (30 ECTs) corresponds to a total of 20 weeks and focuses on training in core competences in plant sciences and in transversal skills. Supported by their supervisors, students are encouraged to develop their own path within the Program, by writing their own project and selecting additional courses.

The program initial training deals with fundamental subjects, such as Plant Cell and Developmental Biology, Plant Metabolic Regulation, and Eco-Physiology and Plant Interactions. This training aims to provide an overview of general aspects in Plant Sciences and the required conceptual framework to tackle the subsequent, more applied subjects: Molecular Strategies in Crop Breeding and Plant Biotechnology for Sustainability and Global Economy. Most of the curricular units take one or two weeks (1.5 or 3 ECTS).

Students have a four week period to build up, write and discuss their thesis project, under close supervision of the thesis adviser (Research Project, 6 ECTS) before starting their thesis, which comprises most (210 ECTS) of the PhD Program. One year after starting their research work, the student’s progress will be monitored (Research Training, 3 ECTS).

Students may choose advanced courses taking place at other institutions, according to their personal interests and the relevance to their thesis (Free Option, 4.5 ECTS). Emphasis is also given to the development of soft skills (oral and written communication to peer and public audiences), entrepreneurship and networking. Students will profit from an outstanding research environment, which entails interactions between research groups across the participating national and international institutions, promoting interdisciplinary high-level training.



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