Dear PhD Candidates to the Doctoral Programs of the Department of Bioengineering of Instituto Superior Técnico,

The Department of Bioengineering (DBE, Página Inicial · Departamento de Bioengenharia ( of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST, Técnico Lisboa – Ensino, Investigação e Inovação ( welcomes you to its Doctoral Programs in Bioengineering, Biotechnology, and Biomedical Engineering.

The Doctoral Program in Bioengineering is offered in collaboration with two other Portuguese Universities (Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Universidade do Minho) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the framework of the MIT-Portugal Program. Embracing the theme of developing future leaders and innovators in Bioengineering, the main foci of the collaboration are on Innovation in Bio-Engineering, Cell and Tissue Engineering, Nanobiotechnology and Bioprocess, and Computational Biosystems Engineering. The Bioengineering doctoral program consists of an Advanced Studies one-year Course Program and a PhD research project with extensive training periods at MIT and co-supervised by IST and MIT faculty. 

The Doctoral Programs in Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering have three main components: the doctoral Course, the seminar and the PhD thesis. The organizational structure of these Doctoral Programs is described in the next paragraphs. The doctoral program in Biomedical Engineering is offered jointly by several departments of IST (Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Informatics, Civil Engineering, Engineering and Management, Physics, and Mathematics) and the Medical School of the University of Lisbon.

The latter of these components, and actually the most important one, is the research work leading towards the elaboration of the PhD Thesis. This research usually takes from 3 to 4 years of work, under the supervision of the PhD advisor. This research prepares the PhD student to do independent scientific and technological research which is internationally competitive, as demonstrated by the publication of scientific articles in high quality international scientific journals, and by the participation and presentation of his/her research work in international conferences. The preparation of the PhD thesis is completed by the writing of a thesis and its public defence in front of a jury.

Another component of the doctoral programs of the DBE is the Doctoral Course. Each program has different requirements which can be found in the respective homepages. The Doctoral Course should preferably be completed during the first year of Doctoral studies.

The doctoral programs of the DBE include also the Doctoral Seminar. This Doctoral Seminar is normally presented at the end of the 2nd year of Doctoral studies. The presentation is public and the CAT (see later) will issue a report on it. The continuation of the PhD studies depends on a positive report from the CAT. The aim of this presentation is to demonstrate that the research leading to the writing of the doctoral thesis is on-going, proceeding at a satisfactory pace, and that completion of the requirements by the end of the 3-4 years of the Doctoral studies can be expected.

To apply to our Doctoral Programs ((Study at Técnico – Técnico Lisboa ( you must refer to the appropriate office at IST (Núcleo de Pós-Graduação e Formação Contínua). At this stage you may, or may not, have already chosen a supervisor and you may, or may not, have a grant to support your PhD work. Note that, if accepted, the Candidate will be responsible to cover the tuition fees and guarantee his/her living expenses, although it is possible to obtain grants to cover these expenses.

At this moment, the DBE does not offer its own PhD Fellowships.  At present, most of the Candidates who seek to register in our Doctoral Programs have already been granted a PhD Fellowship, namely by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT - ). The Fellowship grant from FCT covers both the IST tuition fee and a living expenses allowance for the Fellow. FCT issues periodic calls for application to these Fellowships, which are highly competitive, and the application requires the prior choice of an advisor and the presentation of a workplan. Frequently our candidates contact potential advisors to prepare for a grant application prior to applying to IST. The doctoral course coordination may assist in the search for the appropriate advisor, according to the scientific interests of the candidates. Please note that DBE is interested in having in its doctoral programs only excellent candidates, as demonstrated by their undergraduate performance and professional experience.

After the PhD candidates apply to the appropriate office at IST (Núcleo de Pós-Graduação e Formação Contínua), the DBE office for the Doctoral studies and the coordinator of the Doctoral Program will evaluate the application and decide on acceptance of the Candidate. If the Candidate is accepted, a Doctoral Course that the PhD student will have to fulfil will be defined. This will be done by the Coordinator of the Doctoral Program, together with the student (and the advisor, if the student already has one). In addition, a CAT will also be chosen, in consultation with the PhD advisor. The CAT is a 3-person commission (3 faculty members, one of which is the advisor or the co-advisor) which will follow the progress of the PhD studies. The CAT will issue a report after the Doctoral Seminar, and the members of the CAT will preferentially be part of the jury that will examine the Doctoral Thesis. If the student starts his/her studies without an advisor, he/she is expected to find one by the end of the first semester of studies, and the CAT will be chosen at that point. The doctoral course coordination will assist the student with their advisor search.

During the research leading to the PhD thesis, the main contact of the PhD student will be his/her thesis advisor. During the fulfilment of the Doctoral Course, the student will interact mainly with the faculty teaching the courses. The DBE office for the Doctoral studies, and the Coordinators of the Doctoral Programs, will guarantee the quality of the administrative and scientific aspects of the PhD work.

Thank you for considering the Doctoral programs offered by the DBE!

With best wishes for your PhD studies, 


DBE office for the Doctoral studies - Secretariate: Rosa Maria das Neves Santos (

Coordinator of the Doctoral program in Bioengineering - Prof. Joaquim M.S. Cabral (

Coordinator of the Doctoral program in Biotechnology - Prof. Isabel Sá-Correia (

Coordinator of the Doctoral program in Biomedical Engineering – Prof. João Pedro Conde (