The importance of Agriculture in Aragon, focused to attain a competitive and sustainable agricultural production, and the rich Natural heritage of this autonomous community, one of the most biodiverse areas in Europe, justify the proposed objectives of the PhD program. These consist in reaching an innovative position in these fields through the training of quality researchers, and the development of a suitable doctorate training program for them. The program is adapted to the strategic planning of the University of Zaragoza, since it provides a doctorate training offer in relation to the needs at both the local and the international levels. This doctoral training has boosted the relationship of the University with companies and institutions in the agricultural and environmental sectors, contributing to the development of the country and the projection of the University of Zaragoza and collaborating research centers in the European common areas as advanced scientific institutions and committed to social welfare. This doctoral program is the culmination of the academic training of graduates of the Masters in Agronomic Engineering and Veterinary in the University of Zaragoza.
This PhD program also draws a high number of graduates from postgraduate masters in Plant Breeding, Integrated Planning for Rural Development and Environmental Management, and Agrifood Marketing, organized by the IAMZ and homologated to the Spanish University Masters, taken by students from Mediterranean and Latin American countries in Zaragoza. The University of Zaragoza is the only Public University of the Autonomous Community of Aragon. It integrates the High Polytechnic School (EPS), located in the city of Huesca, and the only center where the degrees in Environmental Sciences and Agriculture (extended to Agri-Food Science and Technology) are taught, as well as the professional Master in Agronomic Engineering, which are the university degrees most directly related to Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Similarly, the Department in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is the only Department of the University of Zaragoza with teaching in these fundamental areas. For this reason, the EPS and the Department are the entities of the University of Zaragoza capable to develop a Doctoral Program with a research interest in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Since the 2003-04 academic year until the start of the new doctoral programs (2013-14), the Department offered a doctoral program on "Advances in Agricultural and Natural Sciences", with students only enrolled in research activities. It was noteworthy the presence in this doctoral program of numerous foreign students. Thus, the existence of a Doctoral Program in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences constitutes an interesting offer for the training of researchers from other countries. Additionally, the existence of the Aula Dei Campus in Zaragoza contributes to increasing the demand for the doctoral program in the field. In the Research Institutes that collaborate with this program (EEAD-CSIC, IPE-CSIC, CITA-Gob. Aragón), numerous research projects are developed that normally involve the supervision of PhD students in their doctoral theses. Similarly, in the Technological Park of Aula Dei, researchers and managers develop the interaction with the sector and the transfer of the results of the research carried out in the laboratories of our Department and of the collaborating research institutes to the users. The Park can offer the PhD students relevant scientific and technological projects for their thesis, practical training in companies and work opportunities.
The relevance of the research carried out by the faculty and research members that supervise the doctoral theses of the doctoral program is evidenced in various parameters of quality in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: 1) the researchers belong to 12 consolidated research groups of Aragon; 2) their teams are among the top 20% of their area nationwide; 3) they show a high internationalization level, having participated in European or transcontinental projects and maintain collaborations with other foreign centers; 4) they lead some international research teams.
The objective of the PhD program is to train researchers in:
-Improvement of the quality of fruit, horticultural and cereal species through the diagnosis and prevention of physiopathies. ·
-Obtaining new fruit, horticultural and cereal varieties adapted to different growing conditions. ·
-Selection and improvement of germplasm, especially lines related to tolerance to water stress and salinity.
-Knowledge of physiological and biological processes that affect plants, using new -omic methodologies.
-Basic aspects of the structure and function of the photosynthetic apparatus and the role of antioxidants in the responses to abiotic and oxidative stresses. ·
-Symbiotic interactions of plants with nitrogen fixing bacteria. ·
- Development of computational methods for the study of gene regulation and the structure and function of biological macromolecules of the plant.
-Analysis of pastoral agro-silvo systems, their sustainability, their relations with the physical and socioeconomic environment, the evaluation of ecosystem services, and the design of tools to support decision making. ·
-Analysis of agri-food markets, consumer behavior, agricultural policy and foreign trade.
-Agronomy, with emphasis on fertilization, weedness and mechanization. ·
-Edaphology, with emphasis on soil fertility, water content, morphology, genesis, interface with the natural environment and salinity ·
-Watering systems, with emphasis on irrigation, agricultural pollution and remote sensing.
-Taxonomic, genetic and evolutionary diversity of plants, and their adaptive, demographic-reproductive, phenotypic plasticity and genetic variation characteristics at different spatio-temporal scales.
-Comparative genomics and phylogenomic studies of wild and cultivated plants. -Ecological niche modeling and associated studies to assess the effects of climate change and anthropic use on the variation of diversity and ecosystems through the study of spatial patterns.
-Methodologies for the evaluation of ecosystem environmental services.
-Ecological restoration for aquatic and terrestrial systems in Mediterranean-continental environments.
- Evaluation and prevention of the impact of products derived from human activities (pesticides, heavy metals and nanomaterials) on the organisms.
Secretariat of the Department of Agricultural and Natural Sciences
High Polytechnic School
Cuarte road, s / n. 22071 Huesca
Telephone: 974232465 - Ext .: 851465
Telephone: 974761666 - Ext .: 851666
The students of the program acquire the basic competences indicated in article 5 of Royal Decree 99/2011 on doctorate. They are the following:
The RD 99/2011 highlights the high professional training of doctors in various fields, especially those that require creativity and innovation. Therefore, the doctors of the program will have acquired, at least, personal skills and abilities to:
The requirements for access to doctorate studies are set in RD 99/2011 and can be consulted in the corresponding Instruction of the Doctorate School (pdf). In general, an official Spanish Bachelor's and Master's degrees or equivalent are required, with a minimum global extension of 300 ECTS credits.
Candidates with university degrees issued by a country of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) may request admission directly (info). If the degree is issued by a country outside the EHEA, the application for access with a non-homologated foreign degree must be submitted (info).
Those interested can expand their information in the administrative section of the Doctoral School (web) or the administration of the program (see contact data in the program general information section).
Oferta de plazas: 30
Maximum number of newly recruited PhD students (per academic year): 30
The recommended access profiles for the PhD program in Agricultural and Natural Sciences are those of students who have completed a Master in Agronomy, Biology, Environmental Sciences or similar fields, taught by the University of Zaragoza or other national universities, or any of the research masters that, in this area, are taught in these universities and in the IAMZ (Plant breeding, Integrated planning for rural development and environmental management, Agrifood Marketing), by virtue of the collaboration agreement between our PhD program and this institution within the CEI Iberus.
Recommended access profiles will be also considered for those of students who have completed equivalent research masters in other European Universities, within the ESSS or who have completed postgraduate programs or equivalent research masters in non-European universities in the areas of research of the program (Plant breeding and Biotechnology, Physiology and Functional Biology of Plants, Sustainable Pastoral and Agro-Silvo systems and Agrifood Economy, Agronomy, soil and water, and Biodiversity, conservation of organisms and ecosystems and ecological restoration).
The languages of use and the required level will be English B1 (minimum) or English B2 (desirable).
The criteria for admission and selection of students, and the percentage weight thereof, will be the following:
-Degree titles (M Sc in direct access degrees or homologous master degrees, or with training complements) (40%)
- Academic record (45%)
- Previous research curriculum (specialized training courses, work experience in the area, other merits) (5%)
Profile: Students who have completed a university Master's degree other than the Master in Agronomy, Biology, Environmental Sciences, Degree in Veterinary Medicine, Plant breeding, Integrated Planning for Rural Development and Environmental Management or Agrifood Marketing, but with some similar contents.
Complements to be taken: Requirement to take training complements of up to a maximum of 20 ECTS could be established.
Doctoral students, as researchers in training and students of the University of Zaragoza, have to formalize every year the enrollment with the corresponding rights to the academic tutorship while continuing their doctoral training. The enrollment period will be set in the academiccalendar approved each year by the Doctoral School.
As a general rule, enrollment will be done online through the Secretaría Virtual ofthe University of Zaragoza. Previously a personal identification number (NIP) and password will have been obtained in the identity management service. Face-to-face registration will be allowed to those who cannot do it online, by going to the doctoral school during public service hours. PhD students must submit every year in which they enroll, documentation about their previous studies, depending on whether they have been taken in countries of the European Education Area or outside that space.
Full and up-to-date information on the enrollment procedure, including key points, is provided on the website of the Doctoral School, as well as prices, discounts and insurance, legalization and translation of documents and some others practical details.
The procedures for the supervision of doctoral students are set in article 11 of Royal Decree 99/2011, which regulates doctoral studies and the rules about Thesis (Reglamento sobre Tesis Doctorales de la Universidad de Zaragoza). The doctoral student admitted to the program has to enrol each academic year in academic tutelage at the University of Zaragoza. The Academic Committee of the program will assign a Thesis Director and a tutor, who may or may not be the same. The Thesis Director will be the person in charge of the overall management of the doctoral student's research tasks, of the coherence and adequacy of the training activities, of the impact and novelty in his/her field of the subject of the doctoral thesis and of the guide in other projects and activities where the doctoral student is involved. The tutor is responsible for the adaptation of the training and the research activity to the principles of the program and the Doctoral School and will ensure the interaction of the doctoral student with the Academic Committee of the program, the body responsible for supervising the progress of the research and training and the authorization of the thesis presentation of each doctoral student of the program.
The supervisory functions of the doctoral students will be documented in the Doctorate Letter which, once the registration is made, will be signed by the doctoral student, its tutor and its director, the program coordinator and the director of the Doctoral School. Those interested can expand the information on the thesis supervision in the administrative headquarters of the program (see contact information in the general information of the program) or by consulting the program coordinator.
The follow-up of the training process leading to the presentation of the doctoral thesis is carried out through the research plan and the doctoral student's document of activities. The research plan is presented before the end of the first year of enrolment and includes, at least, the methodology to be used and the objectives to be achieved, as well as the means and the temporal planning to achieve it. The plan may be improved and detailed later and must be endorsed by the Director and the tutor. The document of activities is the register of all the activities -research stays, courses, attendance to congresses, or others- that the doctorate carries out from his enrolment until the presentation of the doctoral thesis. Annually, the Academic Committee of the program will evaluate the follow-up of the research plan together with the document of activities. The positive evaluation will be an essential requirement to continue in the program. In the case of a negative evaluation, the doctoral student must be evaluated again within a maximum period of six months. Those interested can expand this information in the administrative headquarters of the program (see contact information in the general information of the program) or by consulting the program coordinator.
Once the thesis is concluded, the doctoral student must proceed to deposit and defend it according to the dispositions included in the thesis regulation of the University of Zaragoza and its procedure (info).
The doctoral students will be informed about possibilities of access to scholarships for the development of their thesis, financed by national, regional and international organizations, and for mobility stays in foreign centers or other centers, financed by institutions or companies. Regarding the procedures for orientation and reception of new PhD students, the Doctoral School of the University of Zaragoza will organize an annual session for new doctoral students where information on the most relevant aspects of the doctoral training process will be explained. The academic doctoral commission of the PhD program in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, together with representatives of the collaborating scientific organizations (EEAD-CSIC, IPE-CSIC, CITA-Gob. Aragón, IAMZ-CIHEAM) will organize an annual welcome day to the new doctorates enrolled in doctoral studies in the program, in order to guide them on the specific relevant aspects of the different lines of research of the program. This meeting for freshmen/women students will be held jointly with the follow-up meeting of evaluation of PhD students enrolled in previous years so that the new PhD students will know from the beginning the process of tutoring and monitoring that their future theses will have.
The Doctoral School offers an annual series of voluntary activities for all doctoral students. This formation has a transversal and interdisciplinary nature. The offer is dynamic and covers the following formative aspects: communication (oral and written), access and information management, and skills for a future social and professional performance. Information about the activities, admission and enrolment can be found in the website of the Doctoral School (info).
Additionally, other formative activities of interest for a wide range of our doctoral students are disseminated through our web (info).
Title: Research seminars
Duration: 48 hours (minimum)Control procedures: All students of the PhD program may attend the seminars of their respective research teams; special attendance will be monitored for the first and second year students (or up to the fourth year if they are part time students). The students must participate by presenting their PhD thesis results in at least four of these seminars. Their participation will be collected in the Activity Book. This activity will be evaluated by the director and the tutor of the PhD student by qualifying the quality of their seminars and their active participation in other seminars.
Title: Participation and attendance at Congresses.
Duration: 80 hours (minimum)Control procedures: All students of the PhD program, and especially those in the second part of their doctoral period, during years 2 and 3, and exceptionally the fourth (for part-time students would be the second to fifth), they must present the results of the research in at least two conferences. Their entries will be collected in the Activity Book. This activity will be evaluated by the director and the tutor of the doctoral student by qualifying the oral communications or the posters presented or elaborated by the PhD student.
Title: Preparation of manuscripts and publication of results.
Duration: 200 hours (minimum)Control procedures: All students of the PhD program, and especially those in the second part of their doctoral period, during years 2 and 3, and exceptionally the fourth (for part-time students would be the second to fifth) must publish at least 1 publication with the results of their doctoral theses. Those who opt for the modality of PhD thesis defense by compendium of publications must publish at least 4 papers. These activities will be collected in the Activity Book and will be evaluated by the director and the tutor of the doctoral student. The evaluation will be based on a qualification according to the quality of the research, the journal and the contribution of the doctoral student to the work. Additionally, once half of their doctoral period has elapsed, these activities will be evaluated by an Evaluation Commission of 3 doctor members of the PhD program and of the collaborating institutes, constituted by doctors from the same area or related areas that will be appointed by the Academic Commission every year. The evaluation will be based on the PhD student’s presentation of the progress made in her/his research work since the beginning of the thesis until the evaluation day.
Title: Research stays in other research centers.
Duration: 80 hoursControl procedures: PhD students of the doctoral program who participate in coordinated projects and / or who obtain mobility grants must develop research stays in other centers than those they are affiliated to. The research stays will be developed in the second part of their doctoral period, during years 2 and 3, and exceptionally the fourth (for part-time students they would be the second to fifth years, making shorter stays or adapting the periods of stay so that they can achieve the same skills). Research stay in foreign centers or institutions of high scientific level, will be promoted. The research stays may have different duration, depending on the objectives of the research work, ranging between 2 weeks short stays, for learning specific analytical techniques or methods, up to 6 months long stays, for development of research and the writing of research papers. An average duration of 40 hours per week of research stay is estimated. These activities will be collected in the Activity Book and will be evaluated by the director and the tutor of the doctoral student. The performance of the PhD student during the stay will be evaluated by exposing the results of her/his work and the number and quality of the resulting publications, which will be graded. Once half of their doctoral period has elapsed, these activities will be evaluated by an Evaluation Commission of 3 doctor members of the PhD program and of the collaborating institutes, constituted by doctors from the same area or related areas that will be appointed by the Academic Commission every year. The evaluation will be based on the PhD student presentation of the progress made in her/his research work since the beginning of the thesis until the evaluation day.
Doctoral students enrolled in doctoral programs benefit from mobility aids established in various national and international calls. The calls for the Erasmus + program stand out.
In the Erasmus + Studies mode, doctoral students can choose a wide range of destinations, since most of the agreements signed by the University of Zaragoza with other universities include places for PhD students of all branches.
In the Erasmus + Stays / Practices in companies modality, PhD students access two calls: the one from the University of Zaragoza and the one carried out by the Iberus International Campus of Excellence for the universities that comprise it, the one from Zaragoza among them.
Other mobility calls are specifically designed for Latin American students and for international stays of students with predoctoral contracts. The mobility of doctoral students of the University of Zaragoza is also encouraged with cotutela agreements signed with foreign universities.
The Doctoral School of the University of Zaragoza has rules and procedures to achieve its various goals, which have been written with the agreement of the different levels of the Doctoral School, and are published on its website.
The regulations section of the Doctoral School website contains other important regulations, both national and of the University of Zaragoza, such as RD 99/2011 por el que se regulan las enseñanzas oficiales de doctorado, el Reglamento de los Estudios de Doctorado (2012) y el Reglamento sobre tesis doctorales (2014).
Rules of duration and permanence in the doctorate are established in Instrucción de23 de mayo de 2018 de la Escuela de Doctorado relativa al acceso, admisión,dedicación y permanencia en los estudios de doctorado de la Universidad deZaragoza (R.D. 99/2011).
Full-time thesis should be complete in three years, from the date of admission to the doctoral program, although the Academic Committee of the program may authorize the extension of this period for one more year. Part-time doctoral students will have five years from their admission to the presentation of the thesis, and the Academic Committee may authorize an extension for two more years. Exceptionally, an additional year of extension can be added.
PhD candidates may request a change in dedication (full-time / part-time) as well as the temporary withdrawal for justified reasons of the Academic Committee. They can cause a definitive withdrawal and see their file closed in these cases: if the available time to deposit the thesis is exceeded or if they receive two consecutive negative evaluations of the research plan.
These processes are explained in detail on our website (info) and the doctoral students are told how to proceed in cases of temporary withdrawal (info).
The academic year is governed by the deadlines established in the specific Doctoral School´s academic calendar.
This calendar sets the periods of request for entry, admission to the programs, enrollment at the University of Zaragoza, as well as how the students must present every year the research plan and the activities document, deadlines for defending doctoral theses, etc.
The Doctoral School website publishes the calendar of the current course as well as the two previous courses (info).
The High Polytechnic School and the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the University of Zaragoza, the collaborating institutes (EEAD-CSIC, IPE-CSIC, CITA, IAMZ-CIHEAM), and research groups and faculty members involved in the PhD program offer the appropriate resources and services for its correct execution.These resources include the advanced technology platforms in Agricultural Sciences of the Campues of Aula Dei and its Scientific Park, with its network of laboratories of the Cereal and Oilseed Scientific Service (SCCO) and the Molecular Biology Service (SBM) (CITA), as well as the specialized laboratories of Unizar and the associated institutes in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Among them are the laboratories of Genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics of the EEAD, of molecular Biology and evolution of plants of the EPS-Unizar, of plant materials and chemical analysis of the IPE, of Soil and water analysis of the EEAD, the IPE and the EPS-Unizar, of TIG (Remote Sensing and Geographic Information) systems of the IPE and the EEAD, and of agri-food economy analysis and management of agro-silvo-pastoral systems of Unizar and the CITA.
These centers (EEAD, APPOINTMENT, IPE, EPS-Unizar) also have advanced facilities for studies of the development and stress conditions of wild and cultivated plants, such as greenhouses and phytotrons, experimental fields and land plots for agronomic trials. The IPE has the JACA herbarium, the third national herbarium in terms of number of specimens, specialized in Pyrenean and steppe flora.
The University of Zaragoza has been sensitive to aspects related to equal opportunities, taking as a priority objective to make university buildings and their environment accessible by eliminating architectural barriers. It should be noted that present and future university infrastructures have among their design standards the considerations prescribed by Law 51/2003.
Library and Documentation Service
The libraries of the University of Zaragoza and the associated institutes have access to international publications through different network systems.
The Unizar central documentation service (SOD) allows the application for any published document to students enrolled in the PhD program of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and to faculty members and researchers of the University. The libraries of the EPS, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have ample hours and easy access. These libraries offer the university community a wide range of additional services, such as access and consultation of bibliographic databases (ISI Web of Knowledge, ISI Current Contents, Biological Abstracts, CAB Direct), the request for documents, the loan of books, access to printed collections of their bibliographic collections, and access to computer spaces for individual work and group work.
The CSIC institutes (EEAD, IPE), the CITA and the IAMZ have direct access to any publication through the CSIC Library Network (CIRBIC) system or its internal systems. The libraries of these centers have important specialized bibliographic funds and also have consultation and work spaces for users.
The library of the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology is the result of the merging, in 1984, of the libraries of the Institute of Pyrenean Studies and the Pyrenean Center for Experimental Biology. The bibliographic collection contains titles of topics preferably linked to ecology, biology, botany, zoology and natural sciences in general, including geology. It also has collections of climatology, geography, ethnography and history. Although the scientific objectives of the Institute have an international projection, the IPE Library has important funds related to the ecology of the mountains and the Pyrenees in particular and is the custodian of its journal Pirineos: A Journal on Mountain Ecology. Its purpose is the publication of works related to the dynamics of mountain ecosystems. Pirineos began to be published in 1945 and since then more than 160 issues have been published. At present it has annual periodicity.The bibliographic collection consists of about 9,000 monographic volumes and more than 2,000 publications (journal titles) of which approximately a quarter are still received today.
The Library of the Experimental Station of Aula Dei (UTBD-EEAD) dates from 1944. The existing documentary collections in the EEAD, together with those of other Information Services existing in the Aula Dei Campus, make up one of the most complete information funds in Agriculture, Biology and Agronomic Sciences of the country. Especially noteworthy are the collections of existing books and journals on Plant Genetics and Breeding, Pomology, Edaphology and Plant Biology. Among its specialized funds are a series of unique documentary collections: Collection of old collections (books prior to 1900), doctoral thesis collection, reference works collection, CD / DVD format collection. In addition, the Library has been a traditional custodian of all serial publications published in the Institute: Annals, Notebooks and Newsletters. The EEAD published from 1948 to 1998 the journal Anales de la Estacion Experimental de Aula Dei, which was intended to publish original articles on agricultural research and related biological problems. Currently, an editorial team of researchers from CITA and EEAD publish the journal ITEA, specialized in Agriculture. This journal is one of the two Spanish Agricultural Sciences journals currently reviewed in the Science Citation Index. The UTBD-EEAD is an institutional member of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) and the Spanish Society of Scientific Documentation (SEDIC).
Provision for obtaining external resources and travel grants dedicated to attending conferences and stays abroad that support PhD students in their training.
Mobility grants will be requested for doctoral students in the following calls:
- FPI Scholarships, FPI Fellowship mobility grants funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
- Government of Aragón Scholarships, mobility grants for PhD students financed by this organization
- Estancias Europa XXI, mobility grants for Aragonese PhD students and visiting researchers sponsored by the Ibercaja-CAI Bank Foundation (social action)
- University of Zaragoza, mobility grants for PhD students participating in conferences.
The program will support applications for mobility grants of PhD students with Mention towards Excellence.
The program will estimulate the signing of agreements with high education institutions that support student mobility in the framework of the Lifelong Learning Program (Erasmus), practicals within the Leonardo program, in accordance with the rules of the Programs, and following the guidelines given from the Vice-Rectorate for International Relationships and Cooperation Development.
Previsions of PhD students that get the mentioned grants
The previsions for obtaining mobility grants by PhD students of the program in the different calls are as follows:
-FPI Scholarships, FPI Fellowship mobility grants funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (35% of the doctoral students of the program)
- Government of Aragon Scholarships, mobility grants for doctoral students of the Government of Aragon financed by this agency (25% of the doctoral students of the program)
-Estancias Europa XXI, mobility grants for Aragonese PhD students sponsored by the Ibercaja-CAI Bank Foundation (20% of the doctoral students of the program)
-Universidad de Zaragoza,
mobility grant to participate in conferences (20% of the doctoral students of