Physics and Chemistry of Biological Systems

Physics and Chemistry of Biological Systems PhD Program

The International School for Advanced Studies SISSA is one of the leading scientific institutions in Italy for postgraduate training and high-level research.

SISSA welcomes applications for 4 PhD fellowships in Physics and Chemistry of Biological Systems, starting in October 2019. The PhD Course is an innovative post-graduate program. The normal duration of the Ph.D programme is four years. After an eight-month intensive training period with lectures on a wide spectrum of advanced topics (statistical mechanics, polymer physics, data analysis, physical chemistry, bioinformatics, molecular simulation techniques, etc), the students start their own research activity under the supervision of a faculty member. Research is carried out in daily contact with the supervisor and collaborators.

In addition to attending colloquia and participating in regular seminars and journal clubs within the group, PhD students can also benefit from the existing collaboration with a large number of international research institutes and from the possibility to attend Summer Schools and International Workshops thanks to dedicated travel funds.

Applicants should have a good background in Physics and/or Chemistry and/or Applied Mathematics and are expected to obtain their Laurea Specialistica or equivalent degree by October 31, 2019. Applicants are selected on a competitive basis, by a written and oral exam and taking into consideration their CVs, undergraduate transcripts, and reference letters. SISSA can cover, in full or in part, the expenses for taking part to the exam. Please contact phd@sissa.it for further information.

Current research topics include:

  • Structural bioinformatics
  • Statistical mechanics of complex molecular systems
  • Self-assembly
  • Biomolecular simulations
  • Simulations of rare events
  • Data science of complex and biomolecular systems
  • Polymer physics

Applications can be presented from 13 February onwards and candidates will be selected shortly after the deadline of 21 March. In case of vacancies, 22 August is the deadline for a second, independent selection. Non EU students can apply until April 1 in order to access to direct admission or to a short term fellowship to participate to the exam in September.

The School offers grants (currently € 1.135,00 net/month approximately), depending on the amount of funds available, to students who have made a specific request in the online application. The grant is awarded for four years. A contribution towards living expenses of the amount of € 1.200,00 gross per year will also be awarded to those who will submit a regular rental contract.

Candidates are evaluated on the basis of their CV (exams records, publications, etc.) and reference letters. Candidates that pass the 7/10 score in this evaluation are next admitted and invited to take the written exam in Trieste (travel financial support is available according to SISSA rules) which, if successfully passed in followed by an oral interview. The list of problems of past entrance examinations can be found in the entrance exams section. The written and oral exams take place in two consecutive days and the outcome of the selection procedure is made known shortly after completion of the oral exams (same day).

More information about admission can be found here:

  1. Announcement
  2. Online Application
  3. Online Application non EU
  4. Students SISSA wiki