Call New PhD Programmes

Call 2017 - 2018

Call for 12 positions for Ph.D. courses at the Scuola Normale Superiore for the academic year 2018-2019 (34th cycle).

1. Number of scholarships, subject areas, educational objectives.

1.1 For the academic year 2018-2019 the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS,) jointly with the University of Naples Federico II and the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa hereby announces a call for 12 positions for Ph.D. courses in the following fields and sites. The selection is based on candidates’ qualifications and interviews.

Pisa site

Astrochemistry 4 positions Joint-degree  with the University of Naples Federico II
Global History and Governance 4 positions Joint-degree  with the University of Naples Federico II

Florence site

Transnational Governance 4 positions Joint-degree with the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa

1.2. Further positions in collaboration with other institutions could be available before the deadline set for the applications.

1.3. The selection process will consist of one session.

1.4. All successful candidates will receive scholarships and further funding for their study and research activities in accordance with the article 6 of this call; course enrolment and attendance are tax-exempt.

1.5. One position for every Ph.D. course is reserved to candidates who attained their MA/MS (or equivalent) degree in a non-Italian university.

1.6. Additional Ph.D. positions may be available later, in accordance with specific agreements financed by international Institutions; admission to these positions will be based on the rules decided in each agreement, and will have no bearing on this call.

1.7. The Ph.D. courses last four years and will start on 1 November 2018.

1.8. The teaching activities of the courses in “Astrochemistry” and “Transnational Governance” will be mainly in English; the course in “Global history and governance” will be held in Italian and in English.

1.9. Candidates’ level of competence, talent, motivations and aptitudes to scientific research will be assessed on the basis of their qualifications and their research project and an interview.

1.10. Candidates are admitted to the interview on the basis of an evaluation of their qualifications and of a research project written in Italian or in English (of no more than around 20,000 characters, spaces included). The research project must reveal candidates’ scientific interests and their cohesion with the scientific lines upheld by the partner institutions, although this project will not be a determining factor in their subsequent choice of the thesis. The project must show candidates’ full awareness of the state of the art in the selected scientific field and competence in the research methods within the discipline, and must include an adequate bibliography.

1.11. The Ph.D. courses involve teaching, seminars and research activities: the educational programs, adjusted for each individual student, are designed to broaden their cultural base and to prepare them for research with the aim of obtaining a particularly high level of specialization in the scientific area. Students of the Ph.D. courses follow their studies in accordance with annually approved plans, and they can obtain authorization and funding to spend periods of study and research in other highly qualified universities or scientific institutions in Italy or abroad.
At the end of the course, providing all due obligations have been fulfilled, the student will attain the title of Philosophiæ Doctor (Ph.D.) according with art. 4, law no. 210/1998 in:

  • “Astrochemistry”, jointly awarded by the Director of the SNS and the Rector of the University of Naples Federico II;
  • “Global history and governance”, jointly awarded by the Director of the SNS and the Rector of the University of Naples Federico II;
  • “Transnational governance”, jointly awarded by the Director of the SNS and the Rector of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa.

1.12. In accordance with the Italian regulations (Ministerial Decree no. 45 of 8 February 2013) the Ph.D. courses can be activated by the Universities every year only on approval of the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), and if the required standards are respected and maintained. Therefore, after the publication of the final ranking list, the successful candidates will be enrolled only if approval has been received for the 34th cycle.

2. Requisites for admission

2.1. Applications for admission are invited from candidates who, irrespective of their citizenship, have an Italian laurea magistrale (MA/MS degree) or an equivalent degree from outside Italy, or who expect to obtain the degree required for admission by 31 October 2018: failure to obtain the degree by this date will disqualify the candidate for admission.
Degrees from outside Italy will be checked, merely for the purposes of the selection process, by the selection committee, in accordance with the prevailing legislation in Italy and in the country where the degree was issued and with any international treaties or agreements for the recognition of degrees for the continuation of studies.

2.2. Admission to the call is restricted to candidates who:

  • were born after 31 October 1988;
  • have no past criminal charges resulting in a prison term of more than three years;
  • have not been subject to the disciplinary measure of “expulsion” as specified in the didactic regulations of the SNS;
  • are not in possession of a research doctorate issued by an Italian university, and in any case have never benefitted from a scholarship for attending a research doctorate course in Italy.

2.3. Admission interviews will be conducted in English. The candidate’s level of competence in the Italian and English language must be stated in the application, with reference to the EUROPASS language grid (
Candidates holding an internationally recognized certification of the English language are invited to upload it in the application procedure, in the section “Other documents”.

3. Admission to the selection process

3.1. Applications for admission to the selection process must be registered online by 23:59 CET of 24 August 2018.
The online procedure will be activated at the section dedicated to the call on the SNS web site at the link
All applications received and registered online after the aforementioned deadline will be rejected whatever the cause of delay. Applicants are strongly advised to check that they have received notification via email of the registration of their application; the SNS is not responsible for application procedures not correctly submitted.
Candidates are advised not to wait until the last few days before the deadline to present their application; the SNS cannot accept responsibility for any malfunctioning due to technical problems, overloading of the communication line and/or the application systems, for communications that go astray due to incorrect indications in the application or errors ascribed to third parties, accidental circumstances or force majeure.

3.2. Candidates must also indicate the names and email addresses of at least two academics, to whom the SNS will apply for a reference in support of their candidature. Failure to include any references will not exclude a candidate from the competition.

3.3. Candidates must enclose with their application the following documents in PDF format:

3.4 Candidates must attach to their application the following documents in PDF format:

  • a valid copy of a document of identity (citizens of non-EU countries should preferably enclose a copy of a valid passport, including the pages bearing a photograph, personal details, passport number and place and date of issue);
  • a curriculum vitae et studiorum in the Europass-CV format, available at the following web site:
  • their thesis for the laurea magistrale (MA/MS degree) or overseas equivalent, accompanied by an English abstract; candidates who do not submit their laurea magistrale certificate by the application deadline for admission must present an extended abstract in Italian or English (about 25,000 characters, spaces included); the extended abstract is also compulsory when the thesis is printed in a language other than Italian or English;
  • a diploma supplement or equivalent document reporting the achievement examinations sustained and the final degree grade obtained; citizens of non-EU countries without a regular resident permit valid in Italy must enclose a certificate attesting the possession of the degree, the date it was attained, the issuing university and the final grade; candidates who have obtained an equivalent degree in a non-EU country must enclose a certificate of attainment of the degree translated into English, if the original is in another language;
  • a copy of any publications;
  • the research project as described in article 1.10 of this call (about 20,000 characters, spaces included) together with an English abstract (about 3000 characters, spaces included). Candidates must submit a different research project for each position they are applying for.

All enclosed documents must be in English or Italian; any documents in other languages must be accompanied, under the candidate’s responsibility, by a translation in Italian or English.

3.4. Candidates are admitted under condition; those not in possession of the appropriate requisites may be excluded by the person in charge of procedure at any time during the selection. Those excluded will be notified of the decision and the reason for exclusion.

4. Evaluation of qualifications and interviews

4.1. For the evaluation of candidates’ aptitude for scientific research and their skills to tackle the course program, each selection committee will have a hundred points at its disposal for each candidate: sixty for the evaluation of their qualifications and forty for the interview. Candidates will be admitted to the interview if they receive at least forty points in the evaluation of their qualifications. To pass the interview, candidates must attain at least thirty points. Suitability for the Ph.D. course is subject to passing the interview.

4.2. Qualifications will be evaluated as a whole.

4.3. The outcome of the evaluation and the notice of admission to the interview will be published by Tuesday, 11 September 2018.

4.4. The interviews will take position at the SNS sites starting on Tuesday, 18 September 2018.

4.5. The committees must conclude the process by Friday, 28 September 2018.

4.6. Candidates must bring to the interview a valid document of identification. Failure to attend the interviews, for whatever reason, will entail exclusion from the selection.

4.7. Candidates who do not reside in Italy can sit the interview online, using procedures guaranteeing their identification and the public nature of the interview. The interview online is also allowed to the candidates who are working or studying abroad. The committees can also authorize the online interview for other specific circumstances. The interviews must be conducted in English.

4.8. The list of the candidates admitted to the interview and the score obtained in the evaluation of their qualifications will be published, with the date and time of the interview, on the web site and on the official SNS online noticeboard. Inclusion in the list of those admitted has notification status for those involved, who should attend for interview on the day and time indicated without the necessity for further notification.

4.9. On the basis of the evaluation of qualifications and research programme and the results of the interview, the selection committee will judge candidates’ suitability and position them in descending order in a classification list.

4.10. At the conclusion of the interviews, should two or more candidates obtain the same score, priority will be given to the youngest candidate. The results will be published on the web site and on the official SNS online noticeboard.

4.11. Candidates whose qualifications are judged suitable and who subsequently attend an interview will be reimbursed for any documented travelling expenses over 50 euros and up to a maximum of 350 euros for candidates coming from Italian destinations and 700 euros for those coming from other countries. As for the original position is considered the position of residence or, if more convenient for the SNS, the one of the actual origin. Applications for reimbursement, accompanied by the original travel receipts including boarding passes, must be submitted by 15 November 2018. Reimbursement will be given, over and above the first 50 euros, exclusively for journeys by train (2nd class), bus services, navigational services or plane (in economy class and if the distance between Pisa and the position of residence is over 600 km). For candidates residing in Sardinia air travel is always reimbursed.

5. Nomination of successful candidates, forfeiture and renouncement

5.1. The Director of the SNS will approve the final ranking list drawn up by the committees and will appoint the successful candidates in accordance with the number of positions specified in the call.

5.2. All successful candidates failing to notify the SNS of their acceptance by the specified deadline will forfeit their position.

5.3. All successful candidates failing to submit their laurea magistrale (MS/MA degree) certificate or the equivalent degree from outside Italy qualifying them for admission to the Ph.D. course by 31 October 2018 will forfeit their position.

5.4. The successful candidates must submit to the SNS, by the deadline to be indicated in due course, the following documents

  • a declaration of acceptance of statutory rules and regulations of the SNS, exonerating the SNS from any responsibility whatsoever for the consequences of any non-compliance;
  • a digital passport-size photo;
  • the certification relating to the data declared in the application form, where stipulated by Italian law.

5.5 Successful candidates in possession of a non-Italian degree must submit upon enrolment a Dichiarazione di Valore (Statement of Validity) issued by the Italian diplomatic authorities (

5.6. In accordance with article 71 of the Italian Presidential Decree no. 445 of 28 December 2000, (Testo unico delle disposizioni legislative e regolamentari in materia di documentazione amministrativa) and subsequent modifications and integrations thereof, the SNS in any case reserves the right to verify the veracity of the data contained in the application. Successful candidates found not to have the requisites for admission will forfeit their right to the position.

5.7. For the purposes of national insurance and in accordance with article 2, paragraph 26, of Law no. 335 of 8 August 1995, and subsequent modifications and integrations thereof, successful candidates shallenrol in the “Gestione Separata”, the insurance fund managed by INPS, the Italian National Insurance and Pensions Office, for those who are self-employed.

5.8. The successful candidates must present to the SNS by the starting date of the course, the receipt of the payment of the “tassa regionale” (DSU Regional right-to-study fee). The SNS will refund the fee, if due and paid.

5.9. Successful candidates who are citizens of countries not belonging to the European Union are obliged to observe the Italian and European Union rules on immigration and the regularization of their status in Italy; for this purpose they can apply to the relevant office of the SNS, and will receive the information they need for this in due course.

5.10. Successful candidates must be present at the SNS for the start of the course from the date indicated in the notification of the nomination. Otherwise, in the absence of a request made beforehand and without a reason considered as valid by the SNS, they will forfeit their position.

5.11. In the case of renouncement or forfeiture of a successful candidate, the SNS has the right to proceed to a new assignation of the position available within thirty days of the start of the course, following the order of the final ranking list of suitable candidates (both of the overall positions and of the positions with a specific research topic).

6. Scholarship for the PhD course and contributions

6.1. The scholarship for the Ph.D. courses has the same amount of the other Ph.D. scholarships provided by the SNS, according with the article 9 of the Regulation for the Ph.D. courses at SNS. The scholarship is paid in twelve deferred equal monthly instalments, subject to the fulfilment of students’ academic duties.

6.2. For the academic year 2018-2019, the Ph.D. scholarship is equal to 17,000.00 euros including a lodging allowance. Students also have the right to free meals at the SNS facilities, or at those facilities with active agreements with the SNS, for the whole duration of the course, excluding the periods of academic holidays.

6.3. Successful candidates can apply to utilize their lodging allowance at the SNS residences subject to availability.

6.4. Ph.D. students can also carry out study and research activities outside the SNS sites; for activities that are formally authorized, they will be assigned additional funds for the purpose.

6.5. Successful candidates who are citizens of countries not belonging to the European Union will be reimbursed for the travelling expenses incurred for the start of the course up to a maximum of 1,000.00 euros and on presentation of original and fiscally valid expense receipts, including boarding passes. They can also present a justified request for an advance on the first instalment of the scholarship grant.

6.6. Ph.D. students from countries not belonging to the European Union can request, within a year from the end of the course, reimbursement of expenses incurred for their return to their country of provenance, again up to a maximum of 1,000.00 euros and on presentation of original and fiscally valid expense receipts, including boarding passes. Those not completing the course because of forfeiture of the position can also apply for reimbursement providing at least a year has passed since the start of the course.

7. Obligations and rights of students, incompatibilities

7.1. The status of students, and their obligations and rights, are disciplined by the Statute and by the regulations of the SNS, in particular by the regulations of the Ph.D. courses.

7.2. As described in the article 11 of the Ph.D. Regulation, the admission to the course involves a full-time exclusive commitment not compatible with other activities of self-employed or employee status, or with the practising of professional activities. The Ph.D. board can authorize though the Ph.D. students to pursue other activities, even rewarded, if they are considered relevant to the Ph.D. training activities, such as a) cooperation with journals, magazines, encyclopedias and so on; b) making profit as author of original inventions or industrial creations; c) participation to conferences and seminars. Under proposal of the Ph.D. board, the Ph.D. students can be authorized to accept remunerated job activities if considered relevant to acquire competences related to the Ph.D. training.

7.3. Successful candidates for the Ph.D. course at the SNS who are public employees will be subject to prevailing regulations regarding entitlement to time off work or special leave.

7.4. Attendance at the Ph.D. course of the SNS is incompatible with concomitant enrolment in other degree or specialization courses, Ph.D. courses, master’s degrees or other doctorate courses in Italy or abroad, unless under specific international agreements. Upon nomination, successful candidates enrolled in any of the above mentioned courses must rectify the situation within fifteen days on pain of forfeiture of the position.

8. Processing of personal data

8.1. The processing of candidates’ personal data is subject to the Regulation (EU) 2016/679.

8.2. The data controller is the Scuola Normale Superiore (hereinafter, “SNS”), which is a public university with headquarter in Piazza dei Cavalieri, 7 – 56126 Pisa, represented by its Director and legal representative.

8.3. The Data Protection Officer (DPO) is Dr. Massimo Asaro (tel. 050509039 – e-mail: The person in charge of the DPO role may change at any time. Its variation will be reported on the on-line notice board of the SNS.

8.4. Personal data are collected by the SNS for the purpose of processing applications in the context of the selection procedures for the admission to its courses. For applicants that will be admitted to the courses offered by SNS, personal data will be processed for the administration of the student career and any other activity related to it.

8.5. Therefore, personal data are collected for the performance of tasks carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority, including archiving purposes, historical research purposes or statistical purposes. Personal data are processed by automated means too (software and databases managed by SNS and hosted by contractor entities such as SERSE and CINECA), in respect of accountability, lawfulness, fairness, minimization, transparency, integrity, accuracy, confidentiality and proportionality.

8.6. Personal data collected by the SNS will be disclosed or transferred to third parties (public authorities or private bodies) in the context of institutional collaborations, discharge of obligations laid down by law or by rules or by agreements, in the context of services offered by the SNS (such as placement, tutoring, access to SNS facilities, etc.).

8.7. Personal data collected by the SNS may be disclosed or transferred to entities established in third countries, following verification of the existence of an adequacy decision by the Commission, or appropriate data protection safeguards.

8.8. Personal data will be published on the on-line notice board and on the website of the SNS in the cases provided by law and by the rules of the SNS.

8.9. Personal data collected by the SNS will be processed and stored no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed, without prejudice to the enforcement of legislation for the documentation storage by public authorities.

8.10. The data subject may exercise at any time the following rights:

  • to acces personal data concerning him or her, in the cases and under the conditions referred to Article 15 of the Regulation;
  • to obtain the rectification or erasure (“right to be forgotten”) or restriction of processing of personal data concerning him or her, in the cases and under the conditions referred to Articles 15 to 18 of the Regulation; the erasure is not allowed for those data which have to be compulsory stored by the SNS;
  • to obtain data portability of personal data concerning him or her, in the cases and under the conditions referred to Article 20 of the Regulation;
  • to object to processing of personal data concerning him or her in the cases and under the conditions referred to Article 21 of the Regulation;
  • to lodge a complaint with the Italian Data Protection supervisory Authority (Garante Privacy).

8.11. The data subject may exercise his or her rights sending a request via e-mail to or via certified e-mail (PEC) to

9. Person in charge of the procedure, deferments, information

9.1. The head of the academic and student office of the SNS is also the person in charge of the selection procedure.

9.2. For any relevant matters not mentioned in the call, the rules of the Statute and of the SNS regulations will apply.

9.3. This call will be published on the web site, on the European web site Euraxess, and on the web site of MIUR, the Italian Ministry of Education.

9.4. For information, please visit the webpage or apply to the personnel of the Segreteria Studenti (Student Office):, Silvia Carresi, +39 050 509663, Mario Landucci, +39 050 509237, Silvia Zappulla, +39 050 509685.