The XXXIX cycle of the Ph.D. Programme has been established for academic year 2023/2024 at the University of Bari Aldo Moro with the present call regulating admission to the following three-year Ph.D. programmes:

Biodiversity is an essential part of Nature and is even more attracting attention by research and public opinion on the future of the Earth. Biodiversity can be investigated through basic and applied research (genetics, agronomy, economics, crop protection against harmful organisms, environmental sciences, etc.). This PhD is characterized by a strong interdisciplinary approach overall these themes in four curricula: Plant genetics and biotechnology; Environmental sciences; Sustainable Mediterranean agriculture; Crop protection.

The goal of the PhD is to provide skills in the research themes with a holistic viewpoint, and educates researchers for public and private research activity, and in private enterprises involved in healthcare, agriculture and management of the environment.


Scientific Area CUN: 07 – Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences; 05 – Biological Sciences

Scientific Subject Code: AGR/01, AGR/02, AGR/03, AGR/04, AGR/05, AGR/07, AGR/11, AGR/12, AGR/17, AGR/19, BIO/03, BIO/04, BIO/05, BIO/07, CHIM/12 and ICAR/03

Coordinator: Prof. Enrico de Lillo

Administrative office: Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e degli Alimenti


Duration: 3 years


1) Genetics and Plant Biotechnology (Scientific Subject Code: AGR/07);

2) Environmental Sciences (Scientific Subject Codes: BIO/03, BIO/04, BIO/05, BIO/07, CHIM/12 and ICAR/03);

3) Mediterranean Sustainable Agriculture (Scientific Subject Codes: AGR/01, AGR/02, AGR/03, AGR/04, AGR/05, AGR/17 and AGR/19);

4) Crop Protection (Scientific Subject Codes: AGR/11 and AGR/12).

Total number of positions with scholarship: 23, as follows:

• n. 8 positions with a scholarship funded by D.M. n. 117/2023 – innovative doctorates with industrial address: 1 position for curriculum 2); 5 position for curriculum 3); 2 position for curriculum 4);

• n. 5 positions with a scholarship funded by D.M. n. 118/2023 – doctorates for the Public Administration 4.1: 2 position for curriculum 1); 1 position for curriculum 2); 1 position for curriculum 3); 1 position for curriculum 4);

• n. 4 positions with a scholarship funded by D.M. n. 118/2023 – PNRR doctorates 4.1: 1 position for curriculum 1); 1 position for curriculum 2); 1 position for curriculum 3); 1 position for curriculum 4);

• n. 1 position with a scholarship funded by D.M. n. 118/2023 – doctorates for digital and environmental transitions 3.4: 1 position for curriculum 3);

• n. 2 positions with a scholarship funded by ENEA for curriculum 1);

• n. 1 position with a scholarship funded by CNR-ISPA for curriculum 3);

• n. 1 position with a scholarship funded by project MARV.E.L. reserved to graduates at foreign Universities curriculum 4);

• n. 1 position with a scholarship funded by the University of Bari for curriculum 2);

Total number of positions without scholarship: 1, as follows:

• n. 1 position without a scholarship for curriculum 3.

Short descriptions for the projects funded by D.M. n. 117/2023 – innovative doctorates with industrial address position for curriculum 2 co-funded by Befreest s.r.l. – Development of innovative, sensor-based methodological approaches for indoor-outdoor pollution assessment and health risk assessment in areas of high industrial density

The project must develop innovative methodological approaches for health risk assessment that, through the intelligent use of new technologies and the development of innovative citizen science approaches (e.g., smart devices connected in 5G for “near field” ecosystem monitoring), allow for the improvement of citizens’ quality of life.

Such a project idea must, moreover, be linked to the safeguard and welfare objectives considered in the Horizon 2021-2027 Program and be framed within the social priorities and challenges envisaged by the Smart Specialization Strategies of the Apulian Region (Smart Puglia 2030).

2) position for curriculum 3 co-funded by Oliveti d’Italia s.c.p.a. – Study of agronomic and environmental sustainability of new olive cultivation systems, including in areas infected with Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca – The project should address the design and management of sustainable development of the olive supply chain, improving farm performance and competitiveness of the olive farm, including in reference to areas infected with Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca. The main innovation need to be met is to define olive cultivation systems with very high efficiency from a climatic-environmental and agronomic performance point of view.

3) position for curriculum 3 co-funded by Donnapaola Società Agricola s.r.l. – Enhancement of officinal species specific to Apulian biodiversity through environmentally sustainable process technologies – The project should concern the study of new models of production chains that can be traced back to the traditional use of medicinal plants albeit with an innovative approach resulting from the adoption of biotechnologies for field management of crops and processing technologies characterized by simplified, sustainable and high-performance management processes.

This is in order to revalorize the biodiversity of the territory, select species for the production of bioactive molecules for cosmetics, functional foods and crop protection as a viable opportunity for the rehabilitation of marginal areas through the development of low-impact supply chains integrated in the territories and connected with bioeconomy infrastructures.

4) position for curriculum 3 co-funded by Fattoria Gallo Rosso S.s.a. – Use of organic fertilizers to increase the yield and quality of vegetables in protected environment and in the open field, as a substitute for mineral fertilizers, in the context of sustainable agriculture – The project should evaluate the use of organic fertilizers derived from animal and plant wastes as a substitute for mineral fertilizers in the vegetable cultivation both under protected cultivation, on soil and soilless, and in the open air.

The effects of the addition of biostabilized organic fertilizers, to soil or crop substrates, in order to counteract biological degradation, loss of biodiversity, avert the triggering of desertification phenomena, improve the sustainability of production systems, as well as stimulate vegetable growth and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, will have to be evaluated. In addition, the effects on the quality of vegetable products should be evaluated.

5) position for curriculum 3 co-funded by Gemanco S.p.a. – Review of nutrient requirements of durum wheat under irrigation – The project has to study the new nutrient requirements of durum wheat under irrigation and the definition of appropriate determination methodologies that would allow a suitable professional qualification for the introduction of innovation resulting from the rational use of irrigation on durum wheat with sustainable fertilization management plans and positive spin-offs for farmers and quality durum wheat production.

6) position for curriculum 3 co-funded by ENI S.p.a. – Field studies to quantify the impact of photovoltaic systems on “food/no food”- crops – The project should address the implementation of hybrid agriculture-energy production systems that contribute to environmental and economic sustainability on the farm. Data should be collected on both the photovoltaic systems and the crops grown below the panels. In particular, the research has to focus on the microclimatic conditions, water savings, soil fertility recovery, climate change resilience, and agricultural productivity/quality for different types of crops (food and non-food).

7) position for curriculum 4 co-funded by A. Costantino & C. S.p.a. – Applications of plant-derived biostimulants to improve the stress response of plants and/or their products – The project should be aimed at responding to the growing needs for safe and quality food for the consumer, as well as to the increasing attention to environmental protection, which has made the search for effective, safe and eco-friendly treatments to reduce losses of plant products both during the field stage and after harvesting increasingly pressing.

This could include the use of plant-derived biostimulants that by enhancing the metabolism of the host plant increase its response to biotic and abiotic stresses. The latter (e.g., drought) are increasingly relevant from a climate change perspective and contribute to food insecurity.

8) position for curriculum 4 co-funded by Progresso Agricolo Fasano s.c.p.a. – Improving sustainable protection strategies for vegetable crops in the Apulian range – The project should be aimed at defining effective and innovative strategies for the sustainable protection of the main vegetable crops in the Apulian area from plant pathogens.

Technological innovation has to be mainly focused on rapid systems for diagnosis and field detection of pathogens and on disease management with alternative and environmental-friendly approaches, based on natural substances, new synthetic plant protection products, physical tools and beneficial microorganisms, aimed at improving crop yield as well as postharvest storage, quality and food safety.

Short descriptions for the projects funded by D.M. n. 118/2023 – doctorates for the Public Administration 4.1

1) position for curriculum 1 – Plant resilience to environmental and climate changes: candidate genes and metaomic approaches – The project should address the mapping and characterization, using a genetic/molecular approach, of the existing Gramineae plant biodiversity and genetic variability in different protected areas of the Apulia Region, in order to identify factors related to resilience to environmental and climate change with particular attention to high temperature stress and drought, as well as the improvement of water and mineral resource use efficiency, and to further this knowledge in species of agricultural interest.

2) position for curriculum 1 – Enhancement of cereal production and typical Apulian products – Durum wheat provides the raw material for the pasta industry and is of primary interest in our country. In order to enhance Apulian cereal productions, the project must study genetic efficiency and its interaction with new modulations of nitrogen fertilization in order to identify the minimum doses to be used in cereal crops widespread in the regional territory. The research activity may involve a physiological and genetic approach for the evaluation of nitrogen use efficiency in different wheat varieties that could allow the identification of well-adapted varieties with good production performance and high nutritional quality.

3) position for curriculum 2 – Innovative municipal wastewater treatment technologies for the containment of energy consumption and climate-altering gas emissions: monitoring of effluent discharge and best management practices – The project should contribute to the design and simplification of organizational models, as well as processes for the selection and adoption of innovative technologies and solutions for the treatment and monitoring of municipal wastewater using innovative techniques in order to achieve better environmental performance by reducing electricity consumption and climate-altering gas emissions. The research activity should also be oriented toward establishing a risk management approach for the purpose of verifying the quality of purified and refined water for reuse and to minimize the impact on human health.

4) position for curriculum 3 – Conservation varieties for resilient and sustainable Apulian vegetable crops – The project should cover the activity of registration in the National Register of Conservation Varieties (conditions for admission; admission procedures; variety denomination; area of origin), seed production (seed of which may be “certified” or “standard”), and marketing of seed and seed potatoes (marketing conditions; quantitative restrictions in relation to the area cultivated for each variety; crop control; packaging and labeling) consistent with Legislative Decree No. 20 of February 2, 2021.

5) position for curriculum 4 – Regional phytosanitary standards for plant protection – The project must reconstruct and interpret the national and supranational legal framework of reference, including regulations of a technical/application cogent nature with regard to emerging pests on crops of major importance or more recent spread in the regional/national territory, as well as on the rationalization of protection strategies in order to integrate the regional regulatory framework also with operational proposals in the specific guidelines. In this way, it will be possible to identify aspects that require in-depth investigation, with the implementation and evaluation of specific experimental activities.

Short descriptions for the projects funded by D.M. n. 118/2023 – PNRR doctorates 4.1

1) position for curriculum 1 – Development of new durum wheat varieties rich in bioactive components adapted to climate change – The project must address the recovery of biodiversity. In particular, it should focus on the study of the genetic pathway of bioactive components such as carotenoids and anthocyanins in durum wheat populations and the identification of candidate genes for the increase of these components and lines with high nutritional quality. Increasing the efficiency of resource use, the technical means used in the production process, and the development of new varieties that are more productive and of higher quality are alternatives for improving the sustainability of the cereal sector.

2) position for curriculum 2 – Development of non-destructive technologies for mapping, protection, and restoration of vulnerable marine habitats – The project must develop and use innovative and non-destructive technologies for the mapping and study of marine habitats vulnerable to harvesting activities (deep-sea fisheries).

In particular, it must deal with the study of marine habitats of particular biological and conservation importance, such as the biological communities present on the seamounts of the Italian coasts, which play a fundamental role in maintaining the biodiversity of the deep seabed of the Mediterranean Sea and constitute important spawning, development (nursery), refuge and feeding areas for a large number of fish species, ensuring the repopulation of the adjacent seabed through the spillover effect phenomenon.

3) position for curriculum 3 – Development and preservation of local breeds and enhancement of production – The project should address the maintenance of biodiversity in livestock species of interest, oestrus control technologies and fecundity of livestock animals of interest for production purposes, sustainability of low-input livestock production processes, resilience of animal populations to climate change and valorization of products.

4) position for curriculum 4 – Multi-omics approaches for the study of plant pathogens and other plant-associated microorganisms – The project has to deal with the identification of key genes, metabolites and metabolic processes associated with the infectious process, biosynthesis of mycotoxins and activity of beneficial microorganisms. Research has to be aimed at advancing knowledge of the biology and ecology of plant-associated pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms at different levels (soil and rhizosphere, phyllosphere, carposphere, as well as endophytes), and of their complex interactions with plants and other microorganisms, also considering the changing of climatic conditions.

Short descriptions for the projects funded by D.M. n. 118/2023 – doctorates for digital and environmental transitions 3.4

1) position for curriculum 3 – The possibilities of agrivoltaics – The project should deal with the use of precision agriculture’s own technologies associated with the production of renewable energy with solar panels with the aim of contributing to greater environmental sustainability in the context of climate change (recovery of marginal land, water saving, preservation of biodiversity) and helping farms economically and energetically. This is to strengthen the adoption of circular economy solutions, protect nature and biodiversity, and ensure a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system. An agri-voltaic system can ensure agricultural production even in marginal and less resource-intensive areas as well as a significant supply of sustainable energy supply of sustainable energy for either rural or urban communities.

Short descriptions for the projects funded by ENEA:

1) position for curriculum 1 – Microalgae engineering for optimization of hydrogen production – Hydrogen production through microalgae is a very promising alternative source of energy. The experimental activity of the project should focus on the molecular and functional characterization of hydrogen production mechanisms exploiting a transcriptomic, metabolomic and bioinformatic integrated approaches. After that, transgenic and mutant strains should be generated to obtain microalgae with increased hydrogen production capacity, biomass and useful bioproducts.

2) position for curriculum 1 – Isolation, expression and improvement of enzymes for the production of hydrogen derivatives – Transformation of hydrogen in hydrogen containing derivatives is one of the proposed solutions for its conservation, storage, and transportation. In this framework, the proposed research should deal with the identification of novel and/or improved enzymes for the catalysis of organic reactions that generate molecules incorporating hydrogen.

Molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatic approaches should be used to investigate the presence of enzymes of interest in selected substrates containing microorganisms able to convert, for example, CO2 to formate. Selected enzyme/s should be expressed in a heterologous system and improvement of enzyme activity will be attempted by random mutagenesis and selection.

Short descriptions for the projects funded by CNR-ISPA:

1) position for curriculum 3 – “Sensor-based” technologies for rational and sustainable fertigation management of horticultural crops in the Mediterranean environment – The project has to develop and deploy sensor-based systems for the automatic management of irrigation and fertilization in the open field and/or protected environment.

The improvement of production processes in the agricultural sector, through the application of strategies and technologies aimed at rationalizing the use of agronomic inputs, is a strategic priority for the country’s sustainable development. Reduced availability of water resources in Mediterranean environments, rising costs for energy and fertilizer supply, and uncertainty related to possible crisis scenarios, impose the need to refine and fully operationalize innovative precision agriculture approaches. Short descriptions for the projects funded by project MAR.V.E.L.

1) position for curriculum 4 – Protection of agricultural and forestry plants and their products – The project has to develop aspects related to strategies for plant protection, and management and prevention of phytosanitary emergencies with particular regard to marginal areas and in the context of climate change.

Short descriptions for the projects funded by the University of Bari:

  1. position for curriculum 2 – Ex situ conservation of taxa of conservation concern of Apulian territory – To address the current biodiversity loss, the United Nations declared 2021-2030 as the decade of Ecosystem Restoration, recognizing that healthy natural ecosystems sustain all forms of life. Achieving restoration goals has been largely recognized to be challenging if the current native plant seeds supply is not improved.
  2. Ex situ conservation is a crucial tool to preserve plant biodiversity and support in situ conservation. Specifically, seed banking offers a solution to plant conservation since seeds of most plants can be potentially maintained for decades occupying relatively little space.
  3. As many taxa of Apulian territory are subject to an increasing risk of extinction, the preservation of their different local ecotypes into seed banks plays a major role, so that genetically appropriate seeds can be supplied when needed for in situ conservation.

A specific exam for each curriculum will be made; the ranking lists of each curriculum will be merged into a final one which will be used for the candidate admission. The positions will be awarded, among the curricula, according to the final ranking list, until their exhausting.

Non-assigned positions of a curriculum, because of lack of eligible candidates, can be assigned to candidates of another curriculum based on the score of the final ranking list. The candidates must indicate their curriculum choice on the application form on penalty of exclusion from this selection procedure.

Admission mode:

The examination will be based on the evaluation of candidate qualification, proposed research project (at most 12000 characters, spaces included) on the specific selected thematic and oral interview (on submitted documentation and research project) and foreign language knowledge checking (English).

Admission tests for foreigner candidates:

Foreign candidates are allowed to be examined in English.

Admission exam dates and time:

Evaluation of the qualification: 26 July 2023, at 8, 30 am CET

Evaluation of the research project: 28 July 2023, at 8, 30 am CET

Oral interview: 2 August 2023, at 8, 30 am CET

Place: Aula X – Agricultural Building, Via Amendola, 165/A – Bari


Candidates holding one of the following qualifications are eligible regardless of their citizenship and age (with the exception of those candidates who apply for an apprenticeship who must not be over 29):

  1. degree awarded under the system “vecchio ordinamento” in place prior to the one introduced by Ministerial Decree(D.M.) no. 509 of 03 November 1999, amended by Ministerial Decree (D.M.) no. 270 of 22 October 2004;
  2. “laurea specialistica” or “laurea magistrale” (second cycle degree);
  3. second-level academic qualification (“titoli accademici di secondo livello”) awarded by Institutions belonging to the AFAM (“Alta Formazione Artistica e Musicale”) sector;
  4. Master’s degree awarded abroad, recognised as such solely for the purpose of admission to the competition.

A) Admission to the selection for the candidates with an academic degree conferred abroad:

Those in possession of a degree from a foreign university which has not yet been declared equivalent to an Italian degree will have to apply for their equivalence solely for the purposes of admission to the Ph.D. programme for which they intend to apply.

In such case, in order to allow for assessment of the qualification, application for participation must be accompanied, by the following documentation:

  • (In the case of Italian and EU citizens) Self-certification, according to D.P.R. 445/2000 and subsequent modifications, of the academic qualification obtained with details of examinations, the relative results and the legal duration of the programme.
  • (Non-EU citizens) A certificate attesting to the academic qualification obtained with details of examinations, the relative results and the legal duration of the programme together with a translation into Italian and/or english. The translation must be signed under the applicant’s own responsibility in order to allow the qualification to be recognized.

The suitability of qualifications obtained abroad will be evaluated by the Judging Commission in accordance with the regulations in force in Italy and in the country where the qualification was obtained and relative treaties and international agreements on the recognition of qualifications for the continuation of studies.

In case of admission to the Ph.D. programme, applicants must submit, within 60 days from the date of registration, the following documentation:

  1. Curricular qualifications translated into Italian and legalized by the relevant Italian diplomatic or consular representations abroad;
  2. “Certificate of equivalence of qualification” of the foreign qualification issued by the relevant diplomatic or consular representations abroad; alternatively, the Certificate of comparability of the foreign university qualification issued by the ENIC-NARIC center in Italy (CIMEA) can be presented, which contains all the information necessary for the evaluation of the qualification.

In order to enter Italy, citizens of non-EU countries residing abroad must register on the Universitaly portal and apply for an entry visa (postgraduate visa type D) at the competent Italian Embassy or Consulate.

In case of doubts about the qualification validity, the University also reserve the right to request the “Certificate of equivalence of qualification” to those who have obtained a qualification in a European Union country.

B) Admission to the selection for candidates who have not yet received the degree.

Candidates who are going to obtain the qualification necessary for entry to the Ph.D. programme may also apply if they are to obtain their qualification by and no later than 30 September 2023. Failure to gain the relevant qualifications by this date will result in exclusion from the call.

These candidates will be admitted sub condicione and no later than 30 September 2023 must send by PEC ( ) and email to  the self-certification (or certification in the case of qualifications obtained abroad) with date and handwritten signature, accompanied by a copy of a valid photo identification document indicating:

  • the name of the university issuing the qualification;
  • date of completion of the qualification;
  • type of qualification (specialist/master/old cycle degree, second level academic degree issued by institutions belonging to AFAM);
  • final result.

Candidates who, for whatever reason, do not communicate the obtainment of the relevant qualification by the deadlines indicated or who send incomplete, incorrect applications, by different means or to different addresses other than those indicated above will be excluded from the call.


The application for participation in the selection must be submitted using only the appropriate procedure made available at:  no later than July 20, 2023 at 12.00 pm (Italian time) under penalty of exclusion from the selection.

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