PhD in Radiation Biology and Biophysics


PhD in Radiation Biology and Biophysics

Started in March 2014. The programme requires a minimum of 240 ECTS (4 years) reading for a PhD degree.



The current societal need for advanced research in radiation biology and biophysics, is getting extremely relevant when modern societies are facing several clinical pathologies related to aging, oxidative stress and cancer.

Probably the best example is that in 2008 an estimated 12.7M new cases of cancer were diagnosed worldwide, i.e., today, cancer accounts for one in every eight deaths worldwide – more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined (Cancer Research UK and American Cancer Society).

Also, environmental and/or occupational exposure to radiation is becoming more relevant as different professional’s awareness is increasing. These have had particular attention not only from the scientific community but also from political agents at national and European level.

RaBBit was born to fulfil a gap in the current demand in the different related research areas. Moreover, as far as we are concerned, such a programme will only be successful if bringing in international expertise and partnership. RaBBit was built to be a programme that is international in nature, multidisciplinary and versatile to answer the needs for competent researchers in the topics of the proposal. The doctoral programme provides advanced training by putting together a set of different experts in their specialised fields, introducing students to cutting-edge theories and research methods, comprising an advanced and up-to-date training in radiation biology and biophysics. It is also the aim of the programme that after its completion, the PhD student will have acquired the necessary background either for a future academic career or as senior researcher in industrial and/or health care environments.

The curricular structure is design to: a) level students background; b) allow students to acquire specialized and current knowledge; c) stimulate students’ scientific capabilities; and d) encourage their attitude towards accuracy, honesty and adaptation to new working environments.

Central to the program is the provision of a unique, high quality research and skills-based training PhD programme. We aim at providing a unique team of experts who will be well versed in the development of “bottom-up” approaches on complementary fields including atomic and molecular physics, radiation biology, biochemistry and assaying effects of radiations on biological systems.




Course structure was designed to bring up a new generation of postgraduates in an area of highly interdisciplinary research by setting up the appropriate research training standards. The success of training and the career development stimulated by the proposed curricular structure, will not be just limited by this group of people, but will eventually lead to much broader impact on the career development of young researchers which will follow similar career development paths.

The curricular structure will have 240 ECTS corresponding to a four year postgraduate programme and will be divided into modules of 3, 6, 18 and 180 ECTS. For each cohort, the first semester will have three mandatory 6 ECTS modules and two to three optional modules amount a total of 12 ECTS. The second semester will include two 6 ECTS modules and a thesis preparation plan (18 ECTS) modules, all mandatory. Modules can also be taken individually with certificates awarded upon successful completion of the assessments. For the remaining three study years, a total of 180 ECTS will be involved in the PhD research work, international scientific dissemination and thesis submission.


The curricular structure will appear as follows: 

1st semester:

Historical Perspectives on Radiation Biochemistry and Physical Engineering (6ECTS)

Advanced Topics in Radiation Biology and Biophysics I (6ECTS)

Research rotation I (6ECTS)

12 ECTS from the optional modules listed below


2nd semester:

Advanced Topics in Radiation Biology and Biophysics II (6ECTS)

Research rotation II (6ECTS)

Preparation of the Thesis Plan (18ECTS)


3rd – 8th semester:

Research work, international scientific dissemination and thesis submission (180ECTS)


Optional modules:

Physical Biochemistry (3ECTS)

Cell and Membrane Biophysics (3ECTS)

Biochemistry for Engineering and Physical Sciences (6ECTS)

Radiation Sciences (3ECTS)

Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy (3ECTS)

Physics for Life Sciences (6ECTS)

NOVA doctoral school transferable skills training courses (3ECTS)


Career opportunities

It is expected that the scientific/professional training acquired by students holding a PhD degree from the current programme, may lead them to take particular relevance either by team leaders or group members in academia, research units, medical and health services, radiation protection, radiological science and pharmaceutical industries, among many others. In a broader sense training may also provide skills for use in a vast number of areas in industry and research such as tracers studies, process and materials control, among many others.

Tuition fee

Portuguese students:

2 750 Euros/ year 

Foreign students:

2 750 Euros/ year 


1st phase: 11th march to 5th april 2024

2nd phase: 3rd to 28th june 2024


Entrance requirements for the 2024/2025 academic year

Vacancies for 2024/2025:


Admission rules:

Admission is open throughout the year. A pre-application is needed. At the time of enrolment, successful applicants must hold either an MSc degree or the legal equivalent. Alternatively, candidates with especially relevant academic and/or scientific curriculum, recognised by both the directive board of the PhD programme and the scientific council of the institution awarding the PhD degree, can propose themselves for an application.

Satisfaction of minimal criteria will not guarantee admission, since the number of qualified applicants can exceed the number of students to admit in each edition of the proposed PhD programme.


Candidates to the programme must list all academic qualifications gained since completing secondary education, stating the institutions attended, the main subjects of study, and main courses started and finished. Applicants should also provide copies of all relevant academic certificates or transcripts, with accompanying translations into English if they are in another language. Evidence of English proficiency may be needed in the form of a certificate (e.g. IELTS, TOEFL, ESOL) to be presented during the enrolment. The interview process will be carried out in the English language. Candidates will be admitted into the PhD programme according to selection and ranking criteria:


a) Excellence of the student’s academic degrees and record (25);

b) Personal history statement (10);

c) Statement of purpose (15);

d) Letters of recommendation (5);

e) Preparation in the scientific areas of interest (10);

f) Relevant work experience (10);

g) Personal interview (25).


Maximum score for each criterion is indicated in brackets, with 100 being the highest ranking attainable.

Course coordinator:

Professor Pedro Tavares

Registration and Accreditation

DGES - Registration number R/A-Cr 155/2013 on 07/02/2014

A3ES - Publication date of the accreditation decision: 17/03/2023

Period of validity of the accreditation: 6 years from 31/07/2022

About the Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry is a permanent organic unity of the NOVA School of Science and Technology, devoted to teaching, to scientific research and to provide services in areas of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering. The Chemistry Department (DQ, founded in 1981, has recognized market implementation in education and employment, particularly so because of the novelty and specificity introduced by the course in Applied Chemistry with which teaching at the School of Chemistry began.

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About the Department of Physics

The Physics Department (DF), formally created in 1986, was a pioneer in Portugal in teaching Physics Engineering. Presently, the DF carries out its teaching activities (1st, 2nd and 3rd cycles), fundamental and applied research and technological development in the fields of Physics, Physical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. It is also dedicated to providing services and to scientific dissemination in these fields.

The department's scientific activity is essentially carried out in two research units, LIBPhys-UNL and CEFITEC. Research covers several areas, such as atomic and molecular physics, nuclear and plasma physics, surface and interface physics, laser and vacuum physics, instrumentation, analytical techniques applied to health and cultural heritage, medical instrumentation, medical imaging, machine learning, biosignals and tissue engineering.

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