Doctoral Program in Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency 2021–2022


The Ph.D. Program in Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency, in the University of Zaragoza, is taught since course 2003/2004. The PhD. program was awarded the 'Quality Seal' from the Education Ministery (Ref. MCD2003-00435) since the course 2003/2004 and was renewed uninterruptedly in all published calls. Later on, the PhD. program was distinguished with the "Excellence Mention" by the Education Ministery  (MEE-2011-0262), valid for courses from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014.

The current Ph.D. Program in Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency obtained the positive verification from the Universities Council dated September 25, 2013, and its official character and registration in the Register of Universities, University Centers and Degrees were established by means of the Council of Ministers Agreement, published in BOE on February 7, 2017. The program comes from the previous doctoral program in “renewable energy and energy efficiency”, regulated by RD 1393/2007, whose registration was published in the Official Gazette of February 10, 2010, which in turn came from the grouping of previous programs regulated by RD 778/1998 "Renewable energy and energy efficiency" (interdepartmental between the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering) and "Electrical Engineering", both of the University of Zaragoza.

With the creation, at the beginning of 2009, of the Mixed Research Institute, CIRCE, where most of the teachers involved in the PhD. program took part, the new version of the PhD. was assigned to that Research Institute.

Program Objectives

  • To provide students with the needed skills in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency that allow them to carry out high-quality research and disseminate them among the academic and other public.
  • To train Ph.D. researchers with high scientific and technological capacities to apply and transfer their knowledge to practical problems demanded by society.
  • To facilitate the insertion of Ph.D. researchers in relevant research and innovation positions in Companies, Technology Centers, and Public Research Organisations

Outgoing Student Profile

This Ph.D. program has as main professional opportunities (among others):

  • Innovation and research in the professional field of Renewable Energies.
  • Innovation and research in the professional field of grid integration of renewable sources.
  • Innovation and research in the professional field of Energy Efficiency.
  • Innovation and research in the professional field of Building Efficiency.
  • Training of higher-level professionals.
  • University teaching.


Administrative support:
IUI Mixto Centro de Investigación de Recursos y Consumos Energéticos (CIRCE)
Edificio CIRCE / Campus Río Ebro. Mariano Esquillor Gómez, 15, 50018 Zaragoza

Academic Information:
Teléfono: 976762402

Administrative Information:
Teléfono: 976762145 - Ext.: 842145

Adaptation for students with specific disability needs:
Students with special education needs derived from specific disabilities will follow the same admission procedure as the others.

The Academic Committee of the Doctoral Program will evaluate case by case and will put the student in touch with the University Office of Disability Care where qualified technicians will be in charge of providing the student with specific tools for her specific educational needs.

Basic Skills

The students of the program acquire the basic competences indicated in article 5 of Royal Decree 99/2011 on doctorate. They are the following:

  1. Systematic understanding of their field of study and mastery of research skills and methods related to that field.
  2. Ability to conceive, design or create, implement and adopt a substantial process of research or creation.
  3. Ability to contribute to the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge through original research.
  4. Ability to perform a critical analysis and evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas.
  5. Ability to communicate with the academic and scientific community and with society in general about their fields of knowledge in the modes and languages commonly used in their international scientific community.
  6. Ability to promote, in academic and professional contexts, scientific, technological, social, artistic or cultural advancement within a society based on knowledge.

Personal Abilities and Skills

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:

  1. Develop in contexts in which there is little specific information.
  2. Find the key questions that must be answered to solve a complex problem.
  3. Design, create, develop and undertake innovative and innovative projects in their field of knowledge.
  4. Work both as a team and independently in an international or multidisciplinary context.
  5. Integrate knowledge, face complexity and formulate judgements with limited information.
  6. The criticism and intellectual defence of solutions.

Other Specific Program Competences

  • CE01 – In the student specialization field, contribute with innovative options to the solution of the problem of the energy demand of a process, taking into account how natural resources are used in that option.
  • CE02 – To be able of improving the energetic transformations of the processes in order to make them more energy-efficient either by enhancing the efficiency or using alternative energy resources. 

General Information

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).

Program Specific Information

Oferta de plazas: 15

Preferred profiles:

The specific training program of the doctorate is the university master's degree in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

Nevertheless, other university master's degrees may also be suitable, preferably in Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency or any other from the Energy field. Energy engineering is a multidisciplinary field, and students trained in masters of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, materials engineering, etc. from an educational institution of the European Higher Education Area have room in the doctoral studies. Moreover, those similar candidates coming from third countries will also be accepted whenever the title they hold grants access to doctoral studies in their own country.

The access profile is defined as the level of master studies with engineering knowledge in the fields of electrical engineering (circuit theory, electrical machines, power systems) or thermal engineering (thermodynamics, heat transfer, thermo-technology, thermal engines) or with a sufficient basis allowing their acquisition autonomously.

Students with this profile will have direct access to the doctorate.

Selection criteria:

Candidates to the doctoral studies shall be admitted by the academic committee. 

To obtain such admission, the candidate must request it to the academic committee of the program within the established period in the annual academic calendar.

To apply for admission, the candidate must submit the following documentation:

  • Accreditation of the access qualification (title and detailed academic record).

  • Curriculum vitae.

  • Motivation letter, including specific research interests.

  • Justified request, if applicable, for part-time admission, indicating the type of activity with which the completion of the doctoral thesis will be made compatible.

  • Request to adapt the admission requirements or the curricular trajectory when there are specific needs derived from disability.

Whenever there are more applications than places, the weighting of the admission criteria will be as follows:

  • Adaptation to the doctorate admission profile: 50%

  • Academic record: 30%

  • Personal interview: 20%

In the personal interview, the candidate's motivation will be assessed. Moreover, any needed clarification related to the curriculum vitae and/or the rest of the documentation will be requested.

Specific Training Activities

In addition to the profiles mentioned in the previous section, candidates from a master of architecture and from the field of business administration and law could also be acepted. In all these cases, the admission is made contemplating training complements.

Those profiles must complete their training in the following subjects:

  • Fundamentos de ingeniería eléctrica y energética (4-6 ECTS) 
  • Introducción a las energías renovables (4-6 ECTS) 
  • Introducción a la eficiencia energética (4-6 ECTS) 

The offer of specific subjects for these training complements is not foreseen, but it will be recommended to take subjects of other degrees. Precisely the proposed range (4-6 ECTS) is to adapt to the current offer. For example, the following subjects of the master's degree in renewable energies and energy efficiency:

  • Fundamentos de ingeniería eléctrica y energética (5 ECTS)
  • Sostenibilidad energética (5 ECTS) 

And the introductory course "Renewable Energies" (6 ECTS) currently in the degree of Industrial Technologies would cover such complements.

Enrolment Dates, Deadlines and Procedure

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.

Thesis Supervision

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.

Student's Follow-up and Evaluation

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).

Transversal Training Activities

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).

Specific Training Activities

The profiles of the students in the doctoral program are very variable. Its multidisciplinary character can include students with a broad income profile in terms of previous specific acquired skills. Moreover, their situation can also be different. Regarding this last, the students can be classified into the next groups:

1.    Students who have just graduated from the master's degree and having financing that allows them to dedicate exclusively to the completion of their doctorate (FPI, PFU or similar scholarships or foreign students who have received scholarships in their country of origin). Fortunately or unfortunately, the reality is that students from engineering have lower average grades compared to other degrees and in this Ph.D. program the students of this profile have always been the minority.

2.    Researchers who do NOT have funds allowing them to dedicate exclusively to the completion of the doctorate. The typical profile is that of a student with a research vocation that has not obtained one of the aforementioned scholarships but has a researcher contract in a research Institute or University Research Center, Technological Center or OPI or, University Teacher. These students must attend their paid work in the first place, but they have the advantage over other part-time students, that their doctoral training is interesting for their work and that part of their research can be developed as part of the objectives to fulfill in his remunerated work. In this case, they will be part-time students, but they probably will have a flexible schedule or a license or similar plan to, for example, carry out mobility activities. These students are also acquiring in their own work some of the competencies needed also in the doctorate program, specifically:

·      CB15 Ability to communicate with the academic and scientific community and with society in general about their fields of knowledge in the modes and languages commonly used in their international scientific community.      

·      CA01 Develop in contexts in which there is little specific information.

·      CA03 Design, create, develop and undertake innovative  projects in their field of knowledge.

·      CA04 Work both as a team and independently in an international or multidisciplinary context.

3.    Engineers of R & D departments of companies and administrations that collaborate with doctoral program researchers This type of students have a late doctoral vocation, and usually take advantage of being involved in a research project at their company/administration of a certain entity. In this case, they are part-time students, with very limited availability for mobility actions, but because of their professional career, they know other work areas and, therefore, mobility is less necessary.

Given that in this doctoral program the most usual profile is type 2, a design case by case of the training plan is proposed. It will be designed by the tutor in agreement with the student and approved by the academic committee. This training plan will be an important part of the research plan, whose preparation and monitoring constitute one of the compulsory activities of the doctorate. In general, this work plan must comply with the following guidelines:

1.    The initial working plan, presented with the first version of the research plan, will establish the training activities for the first three years of the doctorate. For the following years, it will be updated in the case that the student has not yet completed his doctoral thesis.

2.    Activities related to transversal training will be achieved in the first two years.

3.    Mobility will be started by the second year.

Specific training activities are:

Title: Preparation and monitoring of the research plan. Obligatory (Yearly updated while enrolled in the program)

Duration: 20
Control procedures: Reports will be approved by the academic committee and will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.

Title: Attendance at conferences and preparation and presentation of papers. Obligatory (At least one conference presentation)
Duration: 20
Control procedures: With the attendance report prepared by the student and justified with corresponding documents (attendance certificate, poster or paper presentation evidence, presentation certificate). The report will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.

Title: Preparation of research papers. Obligatory (Publication of, at least, two international conference papers or one paper in an indexed journal, all in the English language)
Duration: 150
Control procedures: With the letter of acceptance of the journal or conference.

Title: Preparation of the final thesis report and defense of the doctoral thesis. Obligatory
Duration: 999
Control procedures: Defence act with a committee.

Title: Presentation of papers in internal seminars. Obligatory
Duration: 10
Control procedures: Certificate from the responsible of the seminars. The report will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.

Title: Organization of internal seminars. Optional
Duration: 10
Control procedures: Certificate from the doctoral program coordinator or from the delegate of the academic committee.

Title: Mobility. Optional
Duration: 80
Control procedures: The secondment will be authorized by the academic committee. When finished, the secondment responsible will issue a report (or the thesis supervisor) covering the details of the secondment (dates, group, activities, ..) The report will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.

Title: “Software libre para investigadores”. Optional
Duration: 25
Control procedures: Evaluation and attendance control. Both will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.

Title: Técnicas de “data mining”. Optional
Duration: 45
Control procedures: Evaluation and attendance control. Both will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.

Title: Eco-innovación empresarial para el ahorro de recursos y energía y la mejora de la competividad. Optional
Duration: 20
Control procedures: Attendance control and final work. Both will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.

Title: El Análisis de Ciclo de Vida como herramienta de Eficiencia Energética: Ecoeficiencia. Optional
Duration: 25
Control procedures: Attendance control and final work. Both will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.

Title: Instrumentación y análisis de señales para monitorización y control de sistemas térmicos. Optional
Duration: 25
Control procedures: Attendance control and final work. Both will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.

Title: Técnicas de medida en laboratorio. Optional
Duration: 20
Control procedures: Attendance control and final work. Both will be included in the Activities Document of the Doctoral Student.



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.

Research Lines

    Research Teams

    Academic Regulations

    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).

    PhD Duration and Their Management Rules

    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).

    Academic Calendar

    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).

    Learning Resources

    For the realization of the doctoral thesis, the University, the involved departments and research institutes, the research groups and the involved teachers in the doctoral program, offer appropriate resources and services.

    Regarding laboratories and equipment, the below described are available:



    ·      Photovoltaic panels of different types for their mounting connections and measurements.

    ·      Auxiliary tools, solar tracker, regulator, inverter, electrical charges, batteries, VI curves tracer for photovoltaics, sun radiation sensor.

    ·      Electrophoresis system

    ·      6 kW wind turbine for teaching (13 meters height).

    ·      Thermal solar panels (vacuum pipes and conventional) with auxiliary systems: supports, regulator, accumulator, expansion deposit, etc.

    ·      Thermography camera.


    The laboratory fulfills the specifications of the standard ISO 17025. In 1997 it acquired the ENAC accreditation as Electricity Calibration Laboratory for DC current and low frequency. Later on, in 2007, a new ENAC accreditation was obtained for Wind Turbines and Distribution Electrical Grids Tests.


    ·      Electrical calibrations in the laboratory and “in-situ”:

    ·      Multimeters.

    ·      Amperimetric clamps (direct measurement up to 800 A a.c.)

    ·      Insulation resistance testers.

    ·      Ohmmeters.

    ·      Shunt and reference resistances

    ·      Vattmeters and power factor/phase angle meters.

    ·      Oscilloscopes.

    ·      Voltage dividers.

    ·      Current and voltage sources up to 5000 V.

    ·      High voltage probes.

    ·      Power quality analyzers, including harmonics, interharmonics, dips, overvoltages and flicker.



    ·      Wind Energy and power quality field tests

    ·      Data acquisition for wind resource evaluation

    ·      Power performance of wind turbines following IEC 61400-12-1:2005 and Measnet procedure

    ·      Power quality field tests with Class A analyzers following UNE-EN 61000-4-30:2005 and UNE-EN 50160:2001.



    This laboratory has two 22kW test rigs for developing control systems for variable speed renewable energy generation. There is also another test rig with a power of 90 kW. The lab is constantly improved incorporating technical novelties.

    The research lines that can be developed in the lab are:

    ·      Analysis of the grid impact of renewable energies.

    ·      Development of power electronic systems for grid connection.

    ·      Improvement of the efficiency of wind and hydraulic sources using variable speed generators.

    ·      Improvement of power factor control.

    ·      Development of integrated systems including variable generation and storage.

    ·      Distributed generation systems.

    ·      Electrical mobility.




    ·      Cyclonic combustor with 800 kW nominal power.

    ·      Rotation combustor with 500 kW nominal power.

    ·      Biomass dryer, rotating type, 50kg/h wet biomass.

    ·      Biomass grinder (impact and cut types) with classificators.

    ·      Auxiliary equipements: heat sink, feeding hopper, volumetric feeders, gas filters, security equipment and storage spaces.

    Advanced instruments:

    ·      Gas analyzer in a chimney.

    ·      Flame measurements: fluctuations, radiation, temperature and velocity.

    ·      Load cells for gravimetric calibration of the feeders.

    ·      Wireless thermometry in the dryer. Temperature recording with mobile probes.



    ·      Engineering equation solver, for thermal systems simulations

    ·      PV-syst for photovoltaics simulations.

    ·      HOGA for renewable energy integration.

    Wind energy simulations:

    ·      Wasp from RISO National Laboratory, Denmark

    ·      Windpro from EMD

    ·      Windsim from Windsim

    ·      Windfarmer from Garrad Hassan

    ·      Homer from NREL



    For the development of the doctorate, it is important the collaboration of the CIRCE Foundation, which until now has been helping in the management and organization of studies in the field and putting their means at the disposal of doctoral students.

    There is a general collaboration agreement between the CIRCE foundation and the University of Zaragoza since the foundation of CIRCE (1993) and this collaboration has intensified with the creation of the CIRCE research institute, a mixed research institute between both entities.

    The CIRCE Institute has its own building that can also be used as a laboratory, since it is a unique building, "Zero Emissions", that has modern air conditioning systems based on bioclimatic architecture and renewable energy and is profusely instrumented with R & D purposes.

    Maintenance and updating of materials and services:

    At the University of Zaragoza: through the teaching budget of the centre and the departments involved in teaching and through annual calls for extraordinary budget for the improvement of teaching equipment, as well as public calls for infrastructure and equipment and patronage activities.

    In the CIRCE foundation: through own funds of projects, public announcements of infrastructures and equipment and patronage activities.

    The University of Zaragoza has been sensitive to aspects related to equal opportunities, taking as a priority objective to make university buildings and their surroundings accessible through the elimination of architectural barriers. It should be noted that current and future university infrastructures have among their design standards the considerations prescribed by Law 51/2003.

    Library and Documentation Service

    The University has university libraries with extensive and easily accessible schedules. The libraries offer to the University Community a wide range of services such as the loan of books, access to collections in paper and electronic format, spaces with computers and individual workspaces and group work. In particular, the following libraries will facilitate access to documentary collections, bibliographic databases and scientific publications related to the Doctoral Program: Hypatia de Alejandria Library and Library of the Faculty of Sciences. Moreover, the involved departments also have their own specialized libraries in some cases.

    Doctorate School and third cycle section

    The Doctorate School is in charge of all the doctoral programs and the administrative rules for the thesis elaboration. The third cycle section is the unit in charge of the administrative support for doctoral studies. Its main services are:

    ·      Providing information relative to doctoral studies.

    ·      Support to the government and academic committees.

    ·      Student enrollment and student records management.

    ·      Support for the verification of the doctoral programs

    International Relations Service

    Through the reception offices of international students, the International Relations Service promotes mobility welcomes international students of Doctorate and facilitates their integration in the University. International Doctorate students are provided with support and information about the city, accommodation, Spanish and other language courses, medical assistance, grants and scholarships, etc.