5 Five PhD Full Scholarships in Agrobiosciences at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna University in Pisa, Italy; Call for applications for the admission to the Ph.D. Programmes 39th cycle – Academic Year 2023/2024:

The PhD Programme in Agrobiodiversity is a four-year residential Course. It aims at the enhancement of human resource capacities in the utilization and management of genetic variation in agricultural and natural systems, in order to improve the sustainability of agricultural systems and the conservation of genetic resources for the well-being of present and future generations.

The Programme is structured into two curricula: – Plant genetic resources; – Functional biodiversity in agroecosystems.

Number of positions available; n. 5 positions with Scholarship funded by the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Scholarship amount: Euro 16,243.00 gross beneficiary paid in deferred monthly instalments. The amount is inclusive of social security charges.

Curricula A: Plant genetic resources B: Functional biodiversity in agroecosystems

Research Areas:

  1. Genetic variation in single genes and entire genomes of agricultural and forestry plants and their wild relatives;
  2. Mechanisms that control the variability in genes and/or groups of genes, as those involved in resistance to pathogens and/or pests and tolerance to environmental stresses;
  3. Role of functional biodiversity, including interactions between pests/pathogens/weeds and domesticated/volunteer/wild plants, to support agro ecosystem resistance, resilience and stability;
  4. Role of functional biodiversity at genes/species/habitat levels to support agro ecosystem services, (e.g., crop yield, produce quality, crop protection, soil quality) and multifunctional land use.
  5. Data-driven approaches to support breeding decisions via genomics, climate science, and participatory research Positions

n. 5 positions with scholarship funded by Scuola Sant’Anna

Scholarship: Euro 16,243.00 gross beneficiary paid in deferred monthly instalments. The amount is inclusive of social security charges.In addition, students can take advantage of:

• 26 free monthly meals at the school canteen excluding academic holiday periods;

• An increase of € 4.060 gross beneficiary for the period of study and research abroad, subject to the authorization of the Faculty Board;

• A budget of € 4.873 to be allocated to cover expenses related to research activity;

• An additional contribution of € 2,200/year as reimbursement for accommodation costs to be paid based on the Equivalent Economic Status Index (ISEE).

Application deadline: Candidates are requested to apply online by May 31st, 2023 h. 12.00 p.m. (Noon – Italian Time)

Documents required to be attached to the online application

Applicants should attach to their application:

a. copy of a valid identity document;

b. Curriculum Vitae et Studiorum;

c. Detailed list of classes/exams successfully attended/passed (written in one of the following languages: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish or Portuguese). This list should contain information regarding credits (or equivalent units) and marks for each course taken and should also be provided by candidates who have not yet obtained their MSc degree by the deadline.

d. a copy of the M.Sc. thesis; candidates who have not yet obtained the qualification should attach a copy of the thesis as a final draft or an abstract of the same;

e. only for candidates who obtained their qualification outside Italy: copy of the M.Sc. Degree Certificate or equivalent qualification translated into Italian or English.

Students who have not yet defended their MSc thesis by the application deadline should submit the documents above except the Master degree and the final score. If selected for a scholarship, they are required to submit this information as soon as possible and, in any case, no later than September 30th 2023. In case of failure to deliver these documents, the scholarship will be awarded to the next eligible candidate in the ranking list.

For degrees obtained in Italy, please submit a signed self-declaration (autocertificazione);

f. a Research Project, about 3,500 words (in English).

The Research Project should include:

  1. title;
  2. scientific background and the relevant bibliography;
  3. aim and objectives of the research;
  4. experimental methods which will or could be used.

The submitted research project is meant for evaluation purposes and should preferably address one of the following subjects:

  • Improved weed/pest management in agroecosystems through increased diversity at genetic, species and/or habitat level.
    • Cover crops and intercropping as functional biodiversity components in arable and vegetable agroecosystems.
    • Optimisation of climate resilience and other agroecosystem services in diversified arable, vegetable, mixed and agroforestry systems.
    • (Agro)ecosystem services provided by genetic, species and habitat diversity and their management in agroecosystems.
    • Exploring the role of functional biodiversity in agroecosystems through modelling.
    • Plant biodiversity and its role in flooding/submergence tolerance.
    • Crop tolerance to submergence: genetic, molecular and physiological basis of differences among species.
    • Plant and crop fortification with iodine: identification of the molecular/physiological basis for differences between plant species.
    • Physiology of the synthesis of anthocyanins in plants: identification of the molecular/physiological basis for differences between plant species.
    • Environmental, metabolic, and hormonal regulation of plant growth.
    • Analysis and valorisation of genetic resources in crops, also including their wild relatives, and forest tree species.
    • Genetic mapping of complex traits in crops and their wild relatives.
    • Mechanisms of gene regulation, including those mediated by non-coding RNAs in crop and/or model species.
    • Addressing socio-economic issues concerning maintenance and exploitation of plant genetic resources in Emerging Countries in a climate change scenario.
    • Postharvest stress physiology in perishable horticultural crops.
    • Genotype x Environment interactions in the regulation of fruit ripening and composition.
    • Soil fertility and plant-soil-water interactions.
    • Plant-microbe interactions to improve environmental stress tolerance.
    • Microbial biostimulants for sustainable agriculture
    • Climatic change mitigation through agricultural management practices improving soil carbon storage.

Other documents, if any

  • Publications (e.g. articles on scientific journals, conference proceedings, etc);
    • Other Master and/or specialization degrees in subjects consistent with the research topics of this PhD programme;
    • Teaching experience at university level
    • Research and working experience
    • Internships
    • Language certificates (e.g. the Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE), or TOEFL (at least 220 points computer-based or 500 points paper-based). The level of equivalence of English language certificates is assessed by the Selection Committee.
    • Mobility experience abroad (e.g. Erasmus programs or similar)
    • Any other document certifying the applicant’s excellence (prizes, fellowships and grants)

Selection of candidates

The selection will be based on the assessment of the submitted documentation. Scores will be expressed in points out of a maximum of 100. The Examination Committee will assign a score based on the CV and the submitted publications, as well as the Research Project (in terms of quality and relevance for the Ph.D. programme).

Applicants should obtain at least 70/100 points in order to be included in the ranking list of eligible candidates.

Information: info-phdlifesciences@santannapisa.it

tel. +39 050882604

Article 2 (Application requirements):

 Candidates with the academic qualifications set forth below may apply for the above Ph.D. positions, regardless of their citizenship: – “Laurea Specialistica/Magistrale” (Italian University degree 3+2 years or combined degrees); – “Laurea Vecchio Ordinamento” (Italian University degree, obtained before 1999, with a legal course of at least 4 years); – Non-Italian Second Cycle Degree (Master’s Degree or Single Cycle Degree) awarded by an academic institution equivalent to the above-mentioned degrees.

The foreign degree must have been awarded by an officially recognized academic institution, that fulfils the requirements for admission to Ph.D. studies in the country it was awarded, and that is equivalent in length, level and subject to the required Italian title. The eligibility of the foreign degree is verified by the Selection Committee according to the laws and regulations in force in Italy and in the country where the degree was awarded, as well as to the treaties and international agreements concerning the mutual recognition of titles for pursuing doctoral studies.

Applicants who will obtain their academic qualification by 30th September 2023 may also be admitted to the selection process. Nevertheless, those, who will not obtain their academic qualification by the aforementioned date, will not be admitted to the Ph.D. Programs. Candidates holding a qualification obtained in Italy

All candidates holding an academic qualification obtained at an Italian University, regardless of their citizenship, are required to self-certify their qualification and are eligible for the selection process subject to verification of the self-certified declarations. Candidates holding a qualification obtained abroad (EU and NON-EU Countries) By the date of enrolment, all applicants with foreign degrees (EU and NON-EU countries) are required to submit to Ph.D. Office a copy of the original diploma with translation if it is in a language other than English/French/Spanish/German.

If the foreign title was obtained in an EU country the Diploma Supplement will suffice. Candidates with a foreign qualification obtained in a NON-EU country must deliver to the Ph.D. Office the documentation relating to the foreign degree duly translated and legalized along with a Declaration of Value, issued by the competent Italian Consulate/Embassy in the Country where the qualification was obtained. Alternatively, the candidate can submit the Statement of Comparability of the foreign title issued by ENIC_NARIC in Italy (CIMEA). The statement must contain all the necessary information to allow a proper evaluation of the title.

The Declaration of Value should contain the following information: 1. Legal status and nature of the issuing institution; 2. Entry requirements for the course of study completed with that degree; 3. Legal duration of the course of study and/or overall commitment required in credits (if available); 4. Value of the degree in the issuing system/country for academic and/or professional purposes. In any case, candidates with foreign degrees must present all the documents deemed useful for the verification of the qualification; the absence of such documents may prevent the evaluation of the foreign qualification as an admission requirement in the event that the Selection Committee is unable to deliberate on the necessary and aforementioned equivalence.

Applicants having already awarded a doctoral degree issued by an Italian University, or having benefitted from a scholarship for the attendance of a Ph.D. course in Italy (even though for a single instalment) cannot apply for the above Ph.D. positions.

Article 3 (Application submission): The application, one for each Ph.D. Programme which candidates wish to apply for, must be submitted electronically by using the specific procedure before the deadline indicated in each Ph.D. Programme information sheets annexed to this Call.

The application procedure consists of the following steps: 1. Registration by entering the required data; 2. Saving login and password provided, which need to be changed at the next log in; 3. Re-entering the system and selection of the Ph.D. Programme of interest; 4. Completing the online application as indicated in the different pages. Candidates are required to fill in the application and state under their own responsibility:

a) Surname, name, place and date of birth, nationality; b) To hold a secondary school qualification c) To hold the academic qualification set forth in article 2 above, specifying the degree programme, its duration and the issuing University or Institution of Higher Education; d) The final mark obtained in the MSc degree, specifying the maximum possible mark and the degree award date; e) The expected MSc degree award date, for those not yet graduated; f) The selected curriculum, if the Programme includes more than one; g) E-mail address, mandatory for communications related to this Call. Documents indicated in the individual Ph.D. Programme information sheets should be attached to the application form (in PDF format).

Where mandatory, the absence of the required documents may prevent admission to the selection or evaluation of the application. The following may use the self-certification process: – Italian and EU citizens; – Citizens of Non-European Union Countries who are legal residents in Italy, only as to personal qualities and facts which can be certified or attested by Italian public bodies. The School may perform checks on the truthfulness of the declarations and documents submitted, at any time during the procedure, including after the start of the Programmes, and may request that the original documents be produced.

In the event of false declarations, the School may order the exclusion of candidates from the selection procedure or from the Programme at any time, by the substantiated decision of the Rector, without prejudice to the criminal liability deriving from the same.

People with disabilities should attach a note to the application for taking part in the competition, applying for the assistance they require throughout the competition in relation to their disability, as well as for any extra time needed. According to art. 7, par. 4, of the School’s Code of Ethics, should a candidate taking part in a selection procedure be up to a 4th degree relative or 2nd degree relative-in-law of a member of the teaching, technical-administrative or research staff, they must give written notice of their kinship prior to the beginning of the selection procedures. The competent office will then inform the Board of Ethics, which will monitor the selection procedure.

Article 4 (Selection Committees and Test Examinations):

 The Selection Committees for the admission to the Ph.D. Programmes are appointed by decree of the Rector and its composition will be available on the School’s website. Each Committee may appoint one or more sub-Committees. Selection Committees and sub-Committees may carry out their duties via online meetings, while still guaranteeing safe and trackable communications, as required by law. The candidate selection and assessment methods and criteria for drawing up the ranking lists are specified in the individual Ph.D. Programme information sheets attached to this Call.

Article 5 (Admission to the Ph.D. Programme and Student Enrollment):

 Successful candidates are admitted to the Ph.D. Programme according to the ranking list and subject to availability of the available positions subject to the competition. In case of equal ranking, preference will be given to the younger candidate. The ranking lists, approved by Rector’s decree, are published on the School website. Publication constitutes an official communication. The School reserves the right to assign any positions which become available as a result of candidates renouncing or withdrawing, to suitable candidates on the ranking list. It is possible to go

down the ranking list on two occasions: − First: before the beginning of the courses; − Second: after the beginning of the courses, in any case by the 1st December; in such case, it is possible to go down the ranking list exclusively with the favorable pronouncement of the Faculty Board of the relevant course. The effectiveness of the selection is subject to confirmation of accreditation for Academic Year 2023/24 by the competent Ministry of University and Research (MUR) as provided for by art. 5 of Ministerial Decree, nr. 226/2021.

The start date of the Ph.D. Programmes is 1st October 2023. NON-EU citizen students should apply for a specific study visa to enter Italy, which is issued by the Italian embassies or consulates in the Country of origin. Students are required to apply for a residence permit for study purposes within eight (8) days of arriving in Italy. In special and justified cases related to the procedures for obtaining a Visa to enter Italy, the arrival of students may be postponed, as a rule, for no more than 30 days from the official start of the Programme.

On the Programme start date, students should present the following documents at the offices of the School: − Valid identity document; − Duly filled enrolment form (provided by offices);

− Only for students with a qualification obtained in a NON-EU and EU country: Declaration of Value (or a copy of the application for the same made to the competent authorities), the Statement of Comparability of the foreign title issued by ENIC_NARIC in Italy (CIMEA) or the Diploma Supplement (only for EU qualifications); in case of failure to submit these documents, the administrative offices will proceed to verify the title contacting the issuing institution; − Receipt of payment of the regional tax for Right to University Study (DSU) of €140.00 or receipt of the application to the DSU for exemption from payment.

The following categories of individuals are not required to pay the regional tax for the right to University Study: a. those who have applied for the scholarship to the Regional Board for the Right to University Study (DSU Toscana) for the academic year 2023/2024 and have not subsequently been successful/eligible in the scholarship ranking list must pay the regional tax for the right to study after the publication of the definitive ranking list by DSU Toscana; b. students with certified disabilities, (art. 3, paragraph 1, of Law n. 104/1992) or with a disability equal to or greater than 66%; c. students whose parents are the beneficiaries of a disability pension (art. 30 of Law n.118/1971);

Article 6 (Scholarship and other grants):

 Scholarships have the duration of the Ph.D. Programme of interest and are confirmed on a yearly basis; admission to the subsequent year is subject to the decision of the Faculty Board of each Programme. Scholarships are awarded according to the ranking lists, without prejudice to the scholarships reserved for specific research topics which may be awarded to the first suitable candidate identified by the Selection Board based on the profile/CV.

The yearly scholarship amount is shown for each Ph.D. Programme in the individual information sheets annexed hereto and is paid in deferred monthly instalments. Scholarships may not be cumulated with other scholarships awarded for any reason, except for those granted by national or foreign institutions to enhance the student’s research activity with periods abroad.

Those who have taken advantage, even partly, of a Ph.D. scholarship in the past, may not benefit from the scholarship again, even in case said benefit refers to one sole instalment. Students can access the library and the laboratories of the School in the ways provided for by the respective regulations; students may also make use of the canteen for the entire duration of the Programme (26 free meals per month, except for holiday periods as per the academic calendar).

Scholarship may be increased as provided for by the Training Activity Regulations for periods of stay abroad authorised by the Faculty Board. According to art. 9 of D.M. n. 226/2021, the School will also make a budget equal to 10% of the scholarship available to all Ph.D. students to cover research activity-related expenses. Also, students may apply for an additional contribution of €2,200/year as reimbursement for housing expenses to be disbursed based on the Equivalent Economic Status Indicator (ISEE).

Scholarship and grants referred to in this article are subject to the current legislation applicable to scholarships paid by Universities and the Regions for tax and social security purposes. The School provides students with insurance against accidents and third-party insurance for the entire duration of the Programme and undertakes to meet the safety conditions with respect to premises, instruments and equipment used within the programme.

Article 7 (Obligations of the Ph.D. student) Students are required to attend the teaching and research activities provided by the School as part of the Ph.D. Programmes and to fulfil the obligations provided for in the Training Activity Regulations

– Book III. Students also undertake to comply with the rules in the Statute, in the Regulations and Codes of Conduct of the School. For the protection of health and safety purposes, students shall also: − fill in the intended research activity form; − undergo health checks as part of the health monitoring carried out by the Medical Officer of the School; − take part in scheduled educational and training courses. Penalties shall be applied in case of failure to fulfil these obligations. These may include prohibition of access to the School premises.

Submission deadline for the online application is extended to: May, 31th 2023 at 12.00 p.m. (noon – Italian time)


Coordinator; Prof. Mario Enrico Pè; marienrico.pe@santannapisa.it

E-mail: info-phdlifesciences@sssup.it

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