Target Population

PhD Programme in Medicines and Pharmaceutical Innovation (i3DU) will select the best students, national and international, projects and supervisors. A Mentorship Advisory Committee will tailor the best Career Development Plan for the candidate, with the help of the supervisors. The Programme will invite applications from highly motivated and outstanding students, mostly with a background in one of the following areas: Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Engineering, as well as other Life and Health Sciences. Nevertheless, students with different background training, such as Psychology, Physics or Computer Sciences are also welcome to apply.

The i3DU Programme will also target the best supervisors that provide excellent training in cutting edge projects, likely to go well beyond the state-of-the-art. The extensive interdisciplinary network of the i3DU promoters will identify and directly invite potential supervisors to propose PhD research projects to be developed under the i3DU framework.

Of note, students supervised by team members in the host institutions have 100% employability, with successful international careers mainly in academia (ca. 75%). Recently, the pharma industry and biotech companies have employed an increasing number of postgraduates.

Admission Criteria

The i3DU Programme offers admission to applicants who appear to have the highest potential for postgraduate studies and who, with the benefit of a graduate education, are the most likely to contribute substantially to their academic or professional fields through teaching, research, or professional practice.

Admission to the i3DU Programme requires a documented Master’s degree from an accredited university in Portugal or from abroad. Good to fluent written and spoken English is mandatory.

Very exceptionally, a talented BSc graduate may also be admitted in the Programme if supported by remarkable scientific background or extended professional experience.

The admission to the i3DU Programme will only become effective when the Scientific Councils of the host institutions (FF/ULisboa or FF/U.Porto) certify the proposal for admission prepared by the Executive Board of the i3DU Programme. Post-graduate training offices at each institution provide administrative support and facilitate interaction between students and staff.

Criteria and procedures for admission will be transparently and explicitly detailed on the i3DU Programme website. The online application will be handled through a web-based platform.

Satisfying minimal standards, however, does not guarantee admission, since the number of qualified applicants is expected to far exceed the number of fellowships available from FCT. As a result, many well-qualified applicants may not be accommodated.

Selection and Ranking Criteria

The Recruitment Committee, after receiving all the applications, will score them by means of a two-stage evaluation process. Only the eligible applications will be considered.

During the first phase, the Recruitment Committee will analyze the applications based on an objective evaluation of the following specific criteria and weights:

  • Academic achievements (final classification and main scientific area of previous degree(s) – 70%;
  • Relevant scientific activities (participation in research projects, authorship and co-authorship of scientific papers, abstracts in conferences, patents) and relevant professional experience – 20%;
  • Motivation (based on the letter of motivation and reference letters) – 10%.

In the second phase, a shortlist of the 10 highest ranked candidates in the first phase will be individually interviewed by a minimum of five of the members of the Recruitment Committee (live or via video conference). Candidates will be informed via e-mail about the date and place of the interview. This interview will be carried out in order to assess candidate’s knowledge, motivation, communication skills in English and specific technical skills, motivation, and communication skills in English, as well as their initiative and working capacity to successfully fulfill the work plan. The interviewed candidates will be re-ranked taking into account their mark in the first phase (75%) and the interview classification (25%).

Finally, the Executive Board will decide which students to accept based on the final scores of the overall selection procedure.

In addition to merit, consideration may be given to cross-cutting issues, such as gender balance and disadvantaged conditions, so that the student background and life experience will contribute significantly to an educationally beneficial mix of students.

For selection of projects, the Executive Board will take into consideration projects in i3DU, or directly related areas, which fulfill the criteria previously defined for supervision of PhD students. Supervisors will be asked to formally commit to the rules of the i3DU Programme.

After selection, and following identification of supervisors, both students and supervisors will discuss formal procedures and requirements through a checklist, which also comprises a complete agreement on expectations and roles. This allows establishing a good communication and a balanced relationship from the beginning, avoiding later tensions and conflicts, as well as Programme drop out. A memorandum of understanding, signed by both parts, should also include a plan for regular meetings, work summaries, feedback and progression. A checklist for co-supervision issues should be also included.

Before You Apply

Over the years, we have found that successful applicants have outstanding academic records and have strong interests in our filed of studies.

Before applying to a field of study, take the time to research the field and its faculty. Learn about similar fields and their faculty at other institutions.

Dates and Requirements

i3DU application deadlines and requirements are well defined. Questions and inquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Programme Offices. Plan to submit all required materials well in advance of the published deadline to ensure it would be received in time. Please do not send unsolicited additional material.
Individual fellowships attributed through the Programme are for one year, renewed for a maximum of four years, and will comply with Estatuto do Bolseiro de Investigação Científica (Law No. 40/2004, August 18) and Regulamento de Bolsas de Investigação da FCT. Applicants should comply with current legislation (No. 1, Article 30º, Decree-Law No. 74/2006, March 24, Decree-Law No. 107/2008, June 25, and Decree-Law 230/2009, September 14).

i3DU 2018/2019 Call

Deadline: January 14, 2019, 5:00 pm (Lisbon time)

Tuition and Costs

Tuition fee at the i3DU program is 2.750,00 €/year.


  • Application form;
  • Copy of ID document / passport, for personal data validation;
  • Curriculum Vitae;
  • Copy of certified transcripts showing all academic degrees awarded, with final grade (in English or Portuguese);
  • Motivation letter;
  • Two reference letters;
  • Other pertinent documents to evaluate the candidate’s merit and motivation.

Candidates must have obtained their academic degree by the closing date of the call to be eligible. The candidate must supply a document providing that he/she has been granted the degree. Simply demonstrating completion of the course without having been issued proof of the degree will not be accepted.

Applicants with foreign academic degrees are required to submit the records of acknowledgment of such degrees and conversion of the respective final grades to the Portuguese grading scale (whenever a final grade was awarded to the foreign degree), issued by the Directorate General for Higher Education or by a Portuguese public higher education establishment (regime governed by Decree-Law No. 341/2007, of October 12th) or, alternatively, submit the document of acknowledgment/equivalence of the foreign qualifications to the corresponding Portuguese qualifications, issued by a Portuguese public higher education establishment (process governed by Decree-Law No. 283/83, of June 21st).

The records of acknowledgment of such degrees must be completed by the date of submission of the application.

Documents that do not comply with this requirement will not be considered for evaluation or studentship granting.