i3S upholds a commitment to a new generation of scientists based on comprehensive training offered in association with six PhD programs, strategic to secure a lasting structure of collaborations with international institutions. i3S has approximately 300 ongoing PhD dissertations, with a turnover of up to 50 students a year. At the same time, i3S receives around 100 MSc students every year.
For more than 20 years now, the Graduate Program in Basic and Applied Biology (GABBA) has been among the top national PhD programs, maintaining collaborations with some of the most renowned international laboratories along the way. During their first year, GABBA students undertake a series of highly intensive courses taught by i3S researchers and invited speakers. For the thesis project, students are supervised or co-supervised by i3S researchers, albeit free to engage in a project of their own design. Moreover, research leading to the thesis may be carried out in an extramural laboratory for a period up to two years. What is more, some of the GABBA students who have completed their thesis and performed highly successful postdoctoral work have reached significant positions in Portugal or abroad and are now leaders in their fields. In fact, five of our research groups’ leaders at i3S are GABBA alumni. Hence, GABBA has been making meaningful contributions to both the national and international scientific landscape.
The program provides PhD training in Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology Applied to Health Sciences in an interdisciplinary and international environment, reinforcing collaborations with internationally recognized research groups, hospitals and industrial companies. This program was approved in 2013 and it is jointly organized by two schools of the University of Porto (FFUP and ICBAS), two research units (i3S and REQUIMTE), and one hospital (Centro Hospitalar do Porto) and is open to participation of academic staff from other Schools of the UPorto. PhD training is provided in the following areas: Regenerative Medicine and Cellular Therapies; Nanodiagnostics and Nanotherapeutics; Molecular and Cellular Biophysics and Computational Design of Biomolecules; Microbial Biotechnology.
Throughout the last five years, 30 candidates enrolled in the doctoral program in Molecular and Cell Biology (MCbiology), who are now working in research groups framed in the institute’s three integrative programs. MCbiology provides advanced training in the Life Sciences with a focus on fundamental aspects of biological systems, including cancer, neurobiology and immunology. The first seven graduates of the program are set to submit their theses in 2018. A joint effort of two schools of UPorto (ICBAS and FCUP) together with i3S, MCbiology addresses the development of creativity, scientific independence and rigorous research skills to help students thrive in the competitive scientific landscape. To that end, each candidate is given the opportunity to define their own path by choosing the research topic and specific courses that best match their ambitions. Overall, the goal is to provide students with an integrated view of biological systems from molecules to organisms in the context of health and disease. Additional competencies in science communication, entrepreneurship and ethics are an integral part of the program.
Neurosciences education at the University of Porto is assured by the International Doctoral Program in Neuroscience, created in 2007 and based at i3S. This PhD program seizes the capacity and diversity of neuroscience research at UPorto to provide high quality education in a wide range of neuroscience domains to students hailing from diverse academic backgrounds. This principle commands the two main characteristics of the program: it relies on a large network of local and external national and international laboratories that both participate in students’ first year education and/or host the preparation of their PhD theses; and it observes a tailor-made format which allows students to choose among a high variety of modules, laboratory rotations and advanced courses - those that better complement their previous education and best fit their scientific interests.
The PhD Program in Biomedical Engineering (PRODEB) is dedicated to Biomedical Engineering with particular emphasis on biomaterials, bioimaging and devices applicable to regenerative medicine or to treatment of cancer, neurologic diseases and osteoarticular problems. The program encompasses a curricular year comprising seminars and classes focused on literature surveys, experimental techniques, advanced topics in biomedical engineering, science training and communication. It also includes advanced training through short courses, many of them organized at i3S. A very international program, candidates originate from several countries (Portugal, Colombia, Brazil, Iran, Spain, Italy, Poland, Germany), and training exchanges with other international programs in the context of ERASMUS+ are common.
The PhD program in Biomedicine initiated in 2009 at the Faculty of Medicine of UPorto, which has already awarded degrees to nearly 30 students. The program’s curriculum is tailor-made with comprehensive unit domains, including cell division, oncobiology, biostatistics, neurosciences, metabolism, infection and inflammation, and public health, whose classes are mostly held at i3S and FMUP. The institute is even further involved as the program’s scientific commission comprises several members of i3S and many candidates develop their work and thesis under the supervision of i3S researchers. Our association with the PGBioMed has definitely paid off since some graduates are now researchers at i3S.