Calls :: 2016 Announcement

Download PDF: 2016_Call_PhD-SPACE


Doctoral Network in Space Sciences

2016 Call for 5 PhD Fellowships


The call for up to 5 PhD Fellowships is open in the context of the PhD::SPACE programme, hosted by IA (U.Porto and U.Lisboa). The positions are to be appointed for projects in the fields of research the research institute.

The 2016 call is open from February 1st to March 31st, 2016.


The Doctoral Network in Space Sciences (PhD::SPACE) is run by Universidade do Porto and Universidade de Lisboa, and supported by the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA). More information on this programme is available at the website.

The programme has been selected for funding through a national call by the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia IP (FCT), and has available for each edition a total of 5 PhD Fellowships for up to four years each. The selection of applicants is entrusted to the Selection Committee of each call, including elements of the Scientific Committee of the Programme and external experts, appointed by the Scientific Committee.

The selected applicants will sign a PhD Fellowship contract directly with FCT. These contracts are drawn in accordance of the Regulations for Fellowships of FCT (including values for allowance and eligible components) and the Regulations for Research Fellows(Law 40/2004).

PhD degrees:

The network PhD::SPACE opens its first call (for the 2016-2017 edition), for PhD students enrolling in any of the following PhD programmes:

-         PhD Programme in Astronomy, Departamento de Física e Astronomia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto;

-         PhD Programme in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Departamento de Física, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa.

These are PhD degrees including a curricular and a research component, to be supervised by senior researchers from any of the host institutes (CAUP and CAAUL). Joint supervisions with external researchers from other universities or international organizations, like ESO or ESA, are also encouraged.


In order to apply, candidates must comply with the following conditions:

1. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree or a master degree in Astronomy, Physics, Engineering Physics, or related field.

2. A Masters Degree or a minimum of a full year of postgraduate studies is preferred. Previous research experience is an advantage.

3. To qualify for FCT Fellowships, one of the following is required:

a) Citizenship of any country of the European Union;

b) Citizenship of any country with which Portugal has a reciprocity agreement;

c) Long term residency title as defined if Law no. 23/2007 of July 4, as altered by law no. 29/2012 of August 9.

4. Citizens of other countries, not satisfying item 3, may apply, but they will be subject to an individual interview, before a grant can be awarded.

5. In the case of work plans partially carried out outside Portugal (mixed fellowships), applicants must have permanent residency in Portugal.


Applications must be submitted according to the specifications described in this website and sent by email (PDF files) to the Director of the Programme. These include (please see the evaluation criteria when preparing your application):

1)     Presentation letter (up to 2 pages) indicating the motivation and expectations of the candidate as well as the acceptance of the procedures of the program.

2)     Academic and scientific curriculum (up to 4 pages).

3)     Copies of the degree certificates and complete list of curricular units and marks obtained in these (a description of the marking scale is required as well as the percentile of the global classification, if available).

4)     A minimum of two reference letters (these may be open or closed, using the contact below), together with the contact details for up to 3 referees (to be contacted by email and/or phone; referees may include the writers of the letters), that will be available to provide additional information on request.


The evaluation of the candidates is done based on the following criteria (a minimum mark of 25 points in each criteria is expected for final selection):

i)       50 points – curricular evaluation of the candidate: (1) degrees, including marks and contents of curricular units completed and the relevance for the topics in PhD::SPACE; (2) complementary training, participation in mobility/exchange programs and other curricular activities; (3) reference letters other relevant items.

ii)     50 points – motivation and demonstrated competencies for pursuing a PhD project: (1) presentation letter and research work as part of the academic curricula, namely graduation projects, dissertation and academic internships; (2) participation in research activities, including meetings, research internships, participation in research teams, computational and/or astronomical observation experience, etc; (3) scientific results, with explicit identification of the candidate’s contribution, including publications in journals and proceedings, oral and poster communications, research reports, and other relevant items.

The evaluation will include an interview, for short-listed candidates, focussing on complementing and confirming the information provided in items (i) and (ii), and also on evaluating the communication and social interaction skills as well as the English language proficiency.

Research topics:

The decision on the PhD Project by the successful applicants is done, following the ordered list of selected applicants, from a list of proposals validated by PhD::SPACE and made available to the candidates. The list of topics and scientific priorities, as well as the research expertise at the host institute is provided at the website of the programme.

All fellows will be integrated in the ongoing research programs and teams of the host institutes. PhD::SPACE will also organize research schools and regular meetings, while the host institutes will provide support for the students to participate in international meetings and visits to other cooperating institutes and organizations. For mixed Fellowships (with up to one year mobility) the fellow will spend extended periods in other institutions under the agreement for joint supervisions and double degrees (if relevant). Joint supervisions can be organized with ESO, ESA or other research institutes in Europe or elsewhere.


The PhD Fellowships are annual, renewable up to three times (total of 4 years maximum) and cannot be offered for periods below six months (please, see the relevant fellowship regulations). These cover:

  • A monthly stipend of 980 € (tax free). An additional amount may be added for stays abroad, in the case of mixed fellowships.
  • The tuition fees for the doctoral degree of the participating universities.
  • Social security (voluntary registration), with basic health coverage.

The amount of the stipend for PhD Fellowships is over twice the minimum wage in Portugal and corresponds to a good standard of living for any of the two cities of the network.

Additional costs associated with submission of the request for registration at the Universities, registration fee, students insurance, thesis submission fee, etc, are not included in the fellowship.


PhD::SPACE (including monitoring and complementary activities) and the annual calls for PhD Fellowships are described in the website.

For contacts, inquires and to submit the application please use:

Programme Director: Prof. Mário J. P. F. G. Monteiro


Phone: +351 226 089 856

Publication date: 2016/12/17