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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

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PhD in

Experimental Research through Design, Art and Technologies

The PhD programme aims to train a new generation of researchers capable of embracing the opportunities offered by the convergence of design, art, social sciences, humanities and technology, integrating complex knowledge to address multiple global challenges from a post-disciplinary perspective

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Programme description

The three-year programme brings together professors from different faculties of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Design and Art, Engineering, Education and Economics and Management) and nationally and internationally renowned professors to propose a research model based on dialogue and collaboration across disciplines.

The programme provides a space for speculative, critical and pragmatic reflection on problems, potential solutions and new conceptual perspectives inspired by design culture and artistic production. It integrates complex design, scientific and social knowledge and requires the establishment of collaborative relationships with human, non-human and more than human actors through intercultural methods, learning from others, embracing cultural relativism and experimenting with new research tools and practices.

The PhD addresses multiple global challenges by inviting PhD candidates to investigate environmental, social, political and cultural issues through inter/transdisciplinary research and the development of alternative, experimental, critical and exploratory models to generate new knowledge, promote eco-social transformation, social and environmental justice, sustainability, diversity, question the potentials and limitations of technological developments and implementations through the intercultural approach of design and art.

Design and art practices can respond to the rapid advances in artificial intelligence, intelligent manufacturing, data-driven technologies, and human-computer interaction through a shared reflection on social models and cultural practices in the light of ethical, inclusive, culturally sensitive and sustainable principles.

At a glance

Duration of the programme: 3 years
Courses will be taught in English
Places available: 7 with scholarship + 2 without scholarship
Campus: Bozen-Bolzano
Tuition fees: € 189 per year

Programme structure

PhD candidates are required to:

  • Develop and implement an individual research plan over the three-year period under the supervision of a supervisor and co-supervisor. 
  • Present the results of their research at one or more international conferences as an oral or poster presentation. These results must be published as conference proceedings, an article or an essay.
  • Carry out research activities abroad for at least three months.
  • Attend compulsory courses, seminars and/or summer/winter/spring schools and practice-based transdisciplinary workshops that broaden their knowledge and improve their skills on topics related to the doctoral thesis.

The stages of the PhD

In the first year, in addition to acquiring knowledge of human-centred, design- and art-driven research methods, students will be involved in seminar activities to understand academic research, including ethical, gender and privacy issues, as well as bibliometric and non-bibliometric evaluation systems. An essential aspect of the training activity will be the acquisition of technical-operational skills through laboratory and field research, in a practical and hands-on learning approach, in addition to basic theoretical knowledge.

From the second year, students will spend a period abroad (minimum 3 months up to a maximum of 12 months) at another university and/or research laboratory, company, cultural institution, and will participate/co-organise transdisciplinary research workshops.

The third year is dedicated to finalising the research project, design and artistic activities, prototypes in the case of practical and technological projects, or the theoretical-critical framework in the case of more speculative projects, as well as writing the thesis and completing dissemination activities.

At the end of each year, the students must present their activities, projects and results to the Scientific Committee, which examines and evaluates the individual work, makes recommendations and approves progression to the following year.

Research centers, Labs and Workshops

PhD students have access to the university’s infrastructure and facilities to develop their experimental research projects, including:


PhD Programme Coordinator: Prof. Antonella de Angeli (photo)
Student Representative in the Lecturer's Committee: ---


Application and Admission

You can find key information to apply and gain admission to this PhD Programme. For detailed information browse the general and specific calls below.

In order to gain admission to the PhD programme, you will need to have obtained 300 ECTS credit points (master degree). You will also have to demonstrate competence in the English language (see call below).

Subject to accreditation of the Ministry.

1st Call

Application deadline: by 11/07/2024 (by noon local time)
Admission interviews: 24-25/07/2024 (via MS Teams)
Publication of ranking lists: by 05/08/2024

Confirmation of the PhD position - 1st Call

Applicants with scholarship: by 20/08/2024
Applicants without scholarship: starting from 21/08/2024 until 30/08/2024
Enrolment: from 21/08/2024 until 31/10/2024 (by noon local time)

1st Call

Publication of the call: from 10/06/2024
Application deadline: by 11/07/2024 (by noon local time)



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