The mission of the PhD Programme in Medicines and Pharmaceutical Innovation (i3DU) is to translate research and innovation into tangible benefits for society. Focusing on translational research in target discovery, drug design, pre-clinical development, and drug safety, the i3DU Programme will deliver accomplished professionals in high demand by the pharmaceutical companies and healthcare systems, in their bid to rationalize the development and use of innovative products and services. This truly interdisciplinary and multi-institutional program is unique in its scope and unparalleled in its capabilities. Supported by the most qualified researchers and educators in ULisboa and U.Porto, and by the pharma industry, the Programme will bridge the translational gap from discoveries on disease targets and mechanisms into novel diagnostic and therapeutic agents. The initiative takes advantage of a robust cooperation among the participants, while fostering the highest quality standard levels and state-of-the-art principles.


In line with European policies in scientific postgraduate training, the i3DU Programme envisions research excellence, attractive institutional environment, interdisciplinary research options, exposure to pharmaceutical industry and the biotechnology sector, international networking, transferable skills training, and quality assurance. Although medicines have undoubtedly contributed to cure and prevent diseases, and improve quality-of-life, many diseases still lack efficacious drugs, while others are (re)-emerging.

The drug innovation focus of i3DU is supported by groundbreaking, exploratory research in disease targets, bioactive molecules, targeting, action and evaluation. This will ultimately lead to new molecules, methods, concepts and approaches, eagerly needed for the successful outcome of drug development by the pharmaceutical industry and, ultimately, of medicines for patients.

We expect within the i3DU Programme a close and intense collaboration between the molecular-oriented sciences, pharmaceutical design and development, with disease focus on neurobiology, cancer and metabolism, infection and immunity, and drug epidemiology. The emphasis on innovation will bridge molecular sciences with pre-clinical based research in therapeutics, and regulatory sciences, paving the way to a strong translation into clinically-oriented pharmacology. For Europe to stay ahead in the development of innovative medicines, a well-networked community, including academia, industry, regulators and manufacturers, should work together in the pursuit of common objectives, with a strong emphasis on postgraduate education.


The i3DU Programme is student-centred. A full training i3DU Programme consists of elective advanced core courses, laboratory rotations and seminars, in parallel with research activities, during the first year, followed by a 3-year interdisciplinary research project leading to an original doctoral thesis. Students must acquire knowledge and skills that will endure. We want our students to become innovative professionals, able to generate and translate knowledge into influential outcomes, such as innovative medicines.

Each PhD student will have dedicated supervisors and a PhD Thesis Committee. Particular attention will be given to each Personal Career Development Plan. Standardized grading, independent evaluation and quality assurance systems are aligned with the European guidelines. Further, all educational and training activities fall within the scope of A3ES-accredited doctoral fields of studies from the Faculties of Pharmacy, both at ULisboa and U.Porto.