We are opening up to 11 new PhD positions this year. The formal call for applications is published on the University of Florence website.
Prospective students are also encouraged to send their expressions of interest directly to the contact person for the topics of their interest, enclosing a CV and a brief letter of motivation. Note that the expression of interest is not sufficient and to apply you need to fill in the application forms at the above address. For general questions please contact the Head of the program, Prof. Paolo Frasconi.
A subset of the available positions will be reserved to specific research topics. To be considered for one of these positions, you will have to specify the elected positions in your formal application. Since we strive to fill as many of these positions as possible, by applying for one or more reserved positions you may significantly increase your chances of being accepted in the program. You may apply for as many reserved positions as you wish. During the interview, there will be one additional test for each reserved positions you have applied for. Passing the test is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for obtaining the corresponding reserved position. Failing one or more of these tests will not affect the overall score nor will reduce your chances of being accepted for the remaining (non-reserved) positions.
You will have to attach to your application a research proposal describing a three years project having a high potential for a novel scientific contribution in any topic related to smart computing. The research proposal needs not to be directly related to one of the reserved research topics for which you may want to apply. In facts, this proposal will not be even used to bound you to do research in any particular area, it just serves the purpose of assessing your technical writing skills, your ability to envision sensible long-term research goals, and your ability to plan and evaluate research activities.
There are additional thematic positions (not reserved) listed below. These positions do not require a specific test.
To be eligible you must hold a MSc degree or equivalent (at least 5 years of university studies). You may apply before graduation but you must obtain your degree before the beginning of the PhD Program. Specific requirements and documents to be submitted will be described in the call for application.
Normally we ask that you write a research proposal describing a three years project having a high potential for a novel scientific contribution in one of the topics for which we open the call.
Specific topics for which we seek candidates will be listed in the call for applications.
A shortlist of candidates will be formed based on the submitted documents. They will be invited to interview.
A link to the application form will be available when the call for applications is posted.
It consists of the faculty members.
The doctoral committee appoints a supervisory committee for every PhD student at least three months before the first progress report. The supervisory committee must include the supervisor(s) and at least two other assessors belonging to different research groups or external to the consortium. The composition can be changed during the doctoral program.
The supervisory committee is responsible for monitoring the progress of the doctoral research by reviewing the annual progress reports at the end of the first year and at the end of the second year. Normally the candidate illustrates each progress report with an oral presentation that can be attended in person or via telco by the supervisory committee.
The doctoral committee appoints an evaluation committee for every PhD candidate, at least two months before the deadline for the submission of the PhD thesis. The evaluation committee must include at least two external assessors who are not affiliated with any institution involved in the consortium1. Any scholar eligible to supervise a PhD student in the research area of the candidate is eligible to be a member of the evaluation committee. At least one member of this committee must be affiliated with a foreign institution.
The evaluation committee is responsible for running the private defense and evaluating the PhD thesis.
The jury is appointed by the Chancellor of the University of Florence and is responsible for running the public defense and approving the thesis. It must consist of three members and three deputy members. It can include members of the evaluation committee but cannot include scholars affiliated with any institution involved in the consortium.
You are required to obtain 24 ECTS credits (or equivalent), of which:
You are expected to acquire at least 9 credits by the end of the first year and at least 18 by the end of the second year as a prerequisite to continue in the program. Exceptions to this schedule must be motivated and approved by the supervisory committee.
Additional credits can be obtained by attending conference tutorials, summer/winter schools, seminars etc. (1 credit every four hours, max 5 credits for a single summer school). In order to get credits recognized you must email the PhD secretary (cc your supervisory committee) with the following details:
If you take courses from external PhD programs (not in the above list) then to get credits you must email the PhD secretary (cc your supervisory committee and course instructor) with the following details:
It is also acceptable to take for credits courses that are programmed for a MSc degree in Computer Engineering (use the above procedure for recognition). In these cases, however, you will get the floor of the half the ECTS credits assigned for the MSc program. You are strongly advised to discuss with your supervisor(s) and/or the head of the PhD program before you enroll for one of these courses.
You must submit a progress report at the end of each year. Reports should include:
Your progress report must also be presented orally to your supervisory committee, in a meeting or via telco. Your are responsible for scheduling the meeting.
The third year report should be submitted two months before the thesis submission deadline. At the end of the third year, you are strongly encouraged to schedule a meeting with your supervisory committee before the private defense, in order to receive helpful feedback on your private defense presentation.
The supervisory committee makes a recommendation to the doctoral committee in order to allow the candidate to continue the PhD program. The recommendation must be written and signed and the outcome can be either positive or negative. The final decision on the continuation of the PhD program will be made by the doctoral committee based on the received recommendation. The supervisory committee also prepare, on behalf of the doctoral committee, a letter of presentation for candidates that have completed the program that will be sent to the jury before the public defense.
The thesis should be written in English and must contain original research material. It is acceptable to incorporate verbatim material from papers authored by the candidate provided that they have contributed significantly to the writing of such material. The thesis must be submitted by email before the end of the third year of the PhD program to all members of the Evaluation Committee, to the head of the program, and to the secretary of the program. Also, a printed copy, signed by the supervisor(s) and by the head of the PhD program must be handed in to the secretary.
There is a preliminary (private) defense before the candidate's evaluation committee, and a public defense before a jury appointed by the University of Florence. External members are allowed to participate in the preliminary defense via videoconference. The private defense should be typically scheduled in December and in any case early enough so that evaluation reports can be received before the jury for the public defense is appointed by the Chancellor of the University of Florence (which typically happens in January). Members of the supervisory committee and the head of the PhD program (or a delegate) can attend the private defense and participate in the discussion but cannot vote in favor or against the thesis. The public defense must be scheduled no later than 90 days after the jury has been appointed.
Based on the private defense, the evaluation committee is in charge of making a recommendation to the doctoral committee in order to admit the student to the public defense. The recommendation must be written and signed and the outcome can be either:
PhD students can spend periods of study and research at foreign institutions upon authorization by the doctoral committee. Pegaso fellows are required to spend six months at a foreign institution. Participation in conferences, workshops, summer schools, or other similar events does not count in this respect. For other fellows, visits are optional. Scholarships are increased by 50% during the time spent abroad (this does not apply to PhD students supported by other research assistantship contracts).
Starting from the second year, PhD students with a fellowship are entitled a small grant (ten percent of the fellowship) as a contribution towards travel expenses and registration fees for attending high quality scientific conferences or workshops. Requests should be sent (at least 30 days before the trip) to the head of the PhD program or one of their delegates for approval. The grant is in the form of reimbursement and expense receipts need to be handed in to the appropriate administrative office.
Travel authorizations must be requested to the head of the PhD program or one of their delegates: