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The Agricultural, Forest and Food sciences (AFF) PhD program aims to train young scientists committed to innovation and development in agricultural and environmental sectors and managers able to govern innovation and change.

The three-year PhD program consists of:
• conducting a supervised research and writing a final dissertation (thesis);
• training and study activities (up to 15 % of the time) which include attendance to courses, seminars and conferences and participation to professional visits.

The student should learn to:
• develop scientific questions and conduct original scientific research;
• write scientific papers to be published in peer-reviewed journals and chapters/books with leading publishers;
• place scientific results in a social context and develop knowledge useful to mankind and society at large.


The PhD program strongly supports international networking, according to the Doctoral Principles declared by the European University Association and the directions of the European Conference of University Rectors. PhD students are invited to comply the criteria for a European Doctorate (ED), and apply for the ED certificate (Doctor Europaeus) at the conclusion of their PhD program. To accomplish this goal, the final dissertation: i) must describe the main results of a research period - of at least six months - spent in outstanding institutes abroad, during the second or third year of the course; and ii) has to be written in English.

Scientific research concerns agricultural sciences and emphasizes the environmental sustainability of agricultural, forest and food systems. Main topics are: agricultural systems; sustainable forestry; safe and healthy food and food engineering; climate change; nature and biodiversity, biotic and abiotic stresses; environmental pollution; bioremediation; rural development; landscape planning and green economy.

Interdisciplinary research is encouraged as well, in a contest of complex systems, the ability to link adjacent layers: investigated phenomenon should seek explanation in finer-scale phenomena as well as in broader-scale, since a phenomenon not linked downscale could be merely descriptive, and an observation not linked upscale might be trivial. Research and training agreements with private companies are strongly recommended and encouraged.