PhD SDC - Expression of Interest

Expression of Interest in the PhD in Sustainable Development and Climate change (PhD-SDC)



All researchers and professors employed in Italian Universities are invited to express their interest in participating in the inter-university PhD programme in Sustainable Development and Climate change (PhD SDC). To express their interest, they should use this form to submit a proposal for PhD research topic (the Proposal) for the next cycle (XXXVIII).

Below, we provide links to more information on the PhD-SDC:

  • General information here
  • Information on the Research Programme of the XXXVII cycle (which began on the 1st of November 2021)
  • Information on the Educational Programme of the XXXVII cycle
  • The agreement and the PhD regulation (as in the case of the 30 universities selected to participate in the XXXVII cycle, those universities selected for participation in the XXXVIII cycle will be asked to sign the agreement).

Please note that:

  • the duration of the PhD course is 3 years;
  • the amount of each scholarship is 72.000 euro over 3 years;
  • scholarships will be either fully funded by the university or co-funded 50% by the university and 50% by the Ministry of University and Research (MUR), or fully-funded by a public or external entity.

Although we do not expect changes to either the agreement or the regulation that applies to the XXXVIII cycle, when the new law regulating the PhD course is approved by the Italian Government some changes might become necessary.

The deadline for the submission is the 20 January at noon (CET)

Selection procedure

The expressions of interest will be evaluated by a Selection Committee nominated by the PhD board (‘Comitato di Coordinamento Nazionale’), which will select and rank the Proposals considered to be the best fit with the overall PhD research programme. The available funding will be allocated based on the ranking assigned to the proposals.

The selection procedure will involve two steps:

Step 1

In Step 1, the committee will identify approporiate proposals and rank them as : eligible and fully-funded, eligible and potentially co-funded, and eligible without funding.

First, the Selection Committee will assess:

  • the scientific credentials of the Reference person using her/his scientific track record (publications, projects and research output) and the impact of her/his research in relation to the topic of the proposed scholarship;
  • the quality and originality of the proposed research topic (i.e., the proposal) and its coherence with the goals of the PhD programme in Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

The Selection Committee will pay attention to diversity and inclusion, to ensure a balanced number of participants in each curriculum, a gender balance and equitable representation of all the Italian regions through the participation of Reference persons.

Second, the eligible proposals will be grouped into one of the following three categories:

  1. Fully-funded proposals: proposals 100% funded by the Reference person’s university, which will imply automatic inclusion in the PhD research programme;
  2. Potentially co-funded proposals: proposals that potentially will be funded 50% by the Reference person’s university (which will require formal confirmation from the relevant university) and 50% funding from the Ministry of Research which will involve Step 2 of the evaluation procedure;
  3. Not funded proposals: proposals that will be put on a Waiting List for future potential funding from public and private entities.

Step 2

The Selection Committee will be responsible for circulating the list of proposals eligible for co-funding to each university involved. The universities must confirm their ability to fund the eligible proposals and, in the case that they can fund only some of them, to provide list of those for which they will provide funding. The universities involved can opt for an internal selection process that respects the criteria set out in Step 1 above, based on: (a) the scientific credentials of the Reference person, (b) the quality and originality of the proposed research topics, and (c) diversity and inclusion.

Only those proposals for which university co-funding is confirmed will be eligible for co-funding by the Ministry of University and Research and be included in the PhD programme. The other eligible proposals will be put on the Waiting List (see above).

SECTION 1 - Information about the Reference Person

The Reference person is the professor or researcher who proposed the research topic and will take responsibility for ensuring scientific quality of the research and the PhD candidates work. S/he will either supervise the PhD candidate directly or identify an appropriate PhD research supervisor .

Insert the last name of the Reference person for the scholarship

Insert Reference person forename

Full name of the university where the PhD student will conduct the research

Full name of the Reference department or institution


The Reference person must provide evidence of experience in in the proposed research topic– in terms of research quality, impact, originality and any other elements that may be relevant to assess her/his excellence in the field. The Reference person should list up to 5 of her/his most relevant publications/outputs/projects/impactful activities. Relevance refers to relevance in the context of the proposed research topic:

List up to 5 scientific publications (published in the last 10 years) relevant to and/or related to the proposed research topic.

List up 5 other research outputs (completed in the last 10 years) relevant to or related to the proposed research topic (e.g., patents, open access datasets, artworks, etc.). For each output, the Reference person should specify the year.

List up to 5 funded research projects relevant to and/or related to with the proposed research topic, conducted in the last 10 years. Include project title, funding source, number of years and role of the Reference person in the project (i.e., PI - Principal Investigator or TM - team member

Please indicate up to 5 impactful activities led by or involving the Reference person. By ‘impactful activities’ we mean any initiatives, collaborative projects, stakeholder engagement activities, etc. that generated/are generating a positive local, national or global socio-environmental impact (e.g., involvement of the Reference person in writing the IPCC panel report; membership in regional or national committees addressing climate change problems; participation in EC expert groups or UN delegations working on promoting a sustainable path to development in Italy or worldwide, etc.)

SECTION 2 - Information about the Research Topic

Please insert the research topic title (maximum 10 words).

Please provide a description of the research (i.e., the research topic) (maximum 500 words).

Please select the PhD curriculum relevant to the research scholarship

Please provide 1 keyword or 1 key concept related to the research topic.

Please provide 1 keyword or 1 key concept related to the research topic.

Please provide 1 keyword or 1 key concept related to the research topic.

Please describe the research team and the research environment for the research activity (maximum 250 words).

Please indicate the research topic reference ERC sector (the full list of ERC sectors is available here)

Please indicate the research topic reference ERC sector (the full list of ERC sectors is available here)

Please indicate the research topic reference ERC sector (the full list of ERC sectors is available here)

Please indicate the skills the candidate will need for successful conduct of the proposed research.

Please indicate any similarities between the proposed PhD research topic and the PNR (Programma Nazionale per la Ricerca 2021-2027, national research programme 2021–2027 available here and identify the related PNR Scope, Area and Sub-areas.

For example, provide a brief description of how the proposed research topic addresses the core issues in the PNR related to climate change and sustainable development, ecosystem conservation, biodiversity, climate change impacts and their mitigation and the promotion of sustainable development.

Any reference to the PNR must be made explicit in terms of:

  1. Scope (Grande Ambito)
  2. Area (Area di intervento)
  3. Sub-area (Articolazione)

Please indicate a maximum of 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals relevant to the proposed research.

You may upload an image that is representative of the research topic (e.g., a scheme, a picture, a graph,etc.).


SEZIONE 3 - Finanziamento

Sezione in Italiano per scopi amministrativi

Indicare il livello di finanziamento eventualmente disponibile per la borsa associata al tema di ricerca.

Nel caso di finanziamento al 50%, i fondi che si prevede di utilizzare per la copertura del cofinanziamento della borsa di dottorato nazionale (50% di 72.000 euro = 36.000 euro a meno di modifiche da parte della normativa ministeriale) sono: