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PhD in Complex Systems for Physical, Socio-economic and Life Sciences

The Department of Physics and Astronomy selects  a number of Italian and foreign students who hold  a Master's Degree for admission to the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Complex Systems for Physical, Socio-economical and Life Sciences.


2nd call 39° ciclo First evaluation and admission to the interview (19/10/2023/




Description and objectives of the course


The objective of this PhD program is to train students in quantitative analysis techniques and mathematical modelling for Complex Systems that are critical to address contemporary real-world problems in physics,

biomedicine, health, and social sciences. The program will provide the student with a solid scientific background and will give them the possibility to work in a highly interdisciplinary environment and to be supervised by internationally recognized scientists in the field.  



The program addresses in particular  these  specific areas :


  • Advanced statistical mechanics and modelling of complex systems
  • Theory of complex networks and applications
  • Bioinformatics and quantitative biomedical research
  • Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence applications
  • Economic and financial systems in the field of Econophysics
  • Smart cities and human mobility
  • Climate change, green transition and sustainability


The program includes advanced courses. Given the wide range of disciplines involved, courses with specific training profiles, but with a common mathematical and computational basis, are  activated.



The PhD Coordinator is   prof. Andrea Rapisarda please contact him for more information 


Board of Professors

  • Dirk Helbing -  ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Stefan Thurner - Medical University of Vienna and Complexity Science Hub Vienna, Austria 
  • Santo Fortunato -  Indiana University, USA
  • Constantino Tsallis - Centro Brasileiro de Pequisas Fisicas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  and Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico, USA, CSH Vienna, Austria
  • Alessandro Pluchino - Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia "Ettore Majorana",  Università di Catania 
  • Vito Latora - Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia "Ettore Majorana",  Università di Catania,  CSH Vienna, Austria and School of Mathematical Science, QMUL, London 
  • Rosario N. Mantegna - Dipartimento di Fisica e Chimica,  Università di Palermo, CSH Vienna, Austria 
  • Agatino Musumarra - Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia "Ettore Majorana",  Università di Catania 
  • Salvatore Tudisco - INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Sud
  • Alfredo Pulvirenti - Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Università di Catania  
  • Davide Bennato - Dipartimento di Scienze Umanistiche, Università di Catania 
  • Alessio Emanuele Biondo - Dipartimento di Economia e Impresa, Università di Catania 
  • Francesco Martinico - Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Architettura, Università di Catania 
  • Sergio Fichera - Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Architettura, Università di Catania 
  • Salvatore Cannella - Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Architettura, Università di Catania 
  • Cinzia Di Pietro - Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Biotecnologiche, Università di Catania
  • Rita Barone - Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Università di Catania 
  • Marco Ragusa - Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Biotecnologiche, Università di Catania


Advanced courses

This PhD program  provides a training offer of advanced lectures for the first two years, for a total of 18 credits, which includes six courses of your choice (from 2 credits, taught by professors of the board) and from specialized courses organized by universities and / or Italian (and foreign) research institutions plus a course (6 credits) taken from the Master's Degree courses of the departments of the doctoral school professors. The courses organized by the University of Catania and by the Italian and foreign institutions replace the training courses provided and are assessed by 2 or more credits depending on the duration and / or the order requested from the student. The student can replace three of the two-credit courses with a second course borrowed from the ordinary courses included in the Master's Degree courses. Typically the recommended courses for doctoral students concern very innovative bioinformatics topics, complex systems, complex networks, big data statistical analysis, computational social sciences, smart cities, econophysics and sociophysics. Participation to international schools is an integrated part of the training, including those of the Lipari summer schools on social and complex computational systems and computational life sciences are held annually in Lipari (see the link These schools host every year (both Italian and foreign) of the highest international standing (sometimes even Nobel laureates) and both students can participate in contact with frontier research topics and start important scientific collaborations with documents of very high level that can follow up periods of stay abroad for the development of its research project in the three years of the doctorate.


Ministerial PhD programme

More information can be found at this official page of  the Catania university.