PhD Programme

The Doctoral Programme on Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology Applied to Health Sciences (BiotechHealth) is jointly organized by:

  • Two schools of University of Porto (UPorto) - the Institute for Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (ICBAS) and the Faculty of Pharmacy (FFUP);
  • Two Research Units – Instituto de Investigação e Inovação da Universidade do Porto (i3S) and the Network of Chemistry and Technology (REQUIMTE)
  • One Hospital - the Hospital Centre of Porto (CHP).

The programme provides training in cellular and molecular biotechnology applied to health sciences within a truly interdisciplinary and international environment. BiotechHealth will accept up to 15 students per year, based on stringent evaluation. As minimum condition to apply, national or international candidates must have an MSc degree in a relevant scientific field. Some of these students will be eligible for a grant under the FCT PhD Programme.

BiotechHealth has been approved for funding in 2013 by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.


BiotechHealth aims to provide excellence in doctoral training in Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology applied to Health Sciences, in an interdisciplinary and international environment, fostering collaboration with internationally recognized research groups, hospitals and industrial companies, both from Portugal and other countries.

The programme combines cellular and molecular biotechnologies that are crucial for clinical and industrial application. Molecular Biotechnology (or Molecular Bioengineering) is a new interdisciplinary field, encompassing a new combination of several disciplines, including (Micro)Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Materials Science, Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bioinformatics and Nanotechnology.

An essential component of BiotechHealth concerns the collaboration with international reference institutions (research centers, hospitals or industries), where students should spend a minimum of 6 months.

Research Areas

The programme will have a special focus on the scientific areas:

  • Regenerative Medicine and Cellular Therapies
  • Nanodiagnostics and Nanotherapeutics
  • Molecular and Cellular Biophysics and Computational Design of Biomolecules
  • Microbial Biotechnology

Students will be integrated in one of the above scientific areas, but interdisciplinary projects, involving two or more areas will be strongly encouraged. See the list of institutions.

Training - Plan of studies




I. Transferable skills


Workshops, seminars and advanced short courses to train students in entrepreneurship, research management, grant writing, intellectual property, communication and other transferable skills.

II. Scientfic meetings


Activities include: a) Seminars; b) Journal Clubs; c) Annual symposium.

III. Short advanced courses


Short courses on Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology, with invited national and foreing speakers, open to other PhD students.

IV. Advanced Experimental techniques


Students will learn at least one advanced technique relevant for their PhD project in at least one lab other than the host (21 contact hours, total time 81 hours). They will be encouraged to do part of their experimental work in a national reference research group outside the University of Porto.

V. Thesis project


Students are expected to go deeply into the state-of-the-art in the area of their thesis, to write a literature survey and to draft a research plan. They may also start experimental work leading to the PhD thesis.


The provisional list of supervisors for the 2018/2019 edition is given below. Those interested in becoming supervisors of BiotechHealth students should send an email to addressed to the programme’s Director, including a motivation letter and a brief CV. Deadline 31th March 2019.


The core supervisors should comply with minimum criteria set out below, irrespective of their age, gender, career position or type of contract/agreement with the host institutes. This means that a researcher hired by a research laboratory will have the right to supervise a PhD thesis if he/she meets the following criteria:

a) Have published a minimum of 5 scientific papers in journals of the first quartile (Q1) of their scientific area in the last 5 years;

b) Have supervised or co-supervised at least two successfully completed PhD theses in the last 5 years;

c) Have had funding for the last 5 years, through projects secured by competitive funding;

d) Have had an active participation in the organization of advanced international training activities in the last 5 years.

4) Co-supervisors will have to meet the above criteria, in case they obtained their doctoral degree more than 10 years ago. Younger investigators will be allowed to co-supervise students if they meet the above criteria, except criterium b).

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