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Academic Year 2018-19

For the 2018-19 Academic Year, the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca offers two PhD Programs: Cognitive and Cultural Systems and Systems Science. The Programs, and their affiliated specialized Tracks, are described in the following paragraphs.

The Cognitive and Cultural Systems PhD Program is comprised of two Tracks that both examine the methodologies applicable to the study of the brain, the mind, behaviors, human activities and productions as well as their material and symbolic functions and representations. The two Tracks

look at this shared field through diverse but complementary methodological, analytical and technical lenses. The principal educational goal of the Cognitive and Cultural Systems Program is that of providing students with a mastery of methodological tools and advanced techniques for neurosciences and for the analysis and the management of cultural heritage, of cultural phenomena and their multiple impacts. This Program is characterized by its interdisciplinary nature and its innovative approach that, beyond training students in the specific areas of neuroscience and cultural heritage, deals with the study of the relation between historical-contextual analyses and neuroscientific analyses and the study of the complex system made up by behaviors, activities and human productions from perspectives and with instruments that are both complementary and integrated.

The PhD Program in Systems Science relies on proficiencies in the development of predictive quantitative models for the analysis of economic, technological and social systems. It deals with increasingly relevant problems that regard, for example, smart grids, social networks, smart communities, smart cities, the management of immigration flows and international exchanges, risk analysis in global financial systems, intelligent and sustainable industrial production systems, health systems, logistics systems and cyber-physical systems, namely systems consisting of the interaction between digital systems and physical units, prominent in automotive, aerospace, chemical, infrastructure, energy, biomedicine and manufacturing industries. The principal educational objective of the Systems Science PhD Program is to help students master and effectively employ basic methodological tools and potentially develop new ones, within the specific domains of its two Tracks:

The Programs share in part a common scientific background (as made evident by the number of  courses that students from different Tracks may choose to attend) and are directly linked to the School’s four scientific and research macro-areas. Furthermore, despite their formal division into distinct paths, the Programs in “Systems Science” and “Cognitive and Cultural Systems” highlight, in the description of their educational trajectories, their clear multidisciplinary structure, a trait that has always characterized the IMT School. The transversal disciplinary contamination occurs between the individual Tracks and between the two Programs. To this end, the two Programs have two nearly identical Scientific Boards. This choice responds to the necessity and the desire to guarantee – both in terms of education and research – the multidisciplinary nature and transdisciplinary integration.

Courses are led by world-renowned researchers and provide students with all the theoretical skills and advanced tools required for rigorously tackling a multitude of analysis, design and management problems within the broad framework of systems analysis in economic, social, biological and technological domains. Specialized faculty and staff create a network that provides key guidance and support throughout the PhD Program. Working closely with faculty, both in the classroom and in the development of research, students reach the highest levels of scholarly achievement. IMT School PhD graduates will be able to use the skills they acquired during their studies to recognize and resolve complex problems, to choose the most appropriate method or instrument to utilize when approaching these problems, even in disciplines outside of their primary field of research. 

Each student will construct a personal study plan with his/her Advisor, drawing from the entire range of course offerings, long seminars and laboratories, to best suit his or her background and research interests.

Moreover, every doctoral student will be affiliated with one of the School's research areas.

Candidates from a multitude of scientific backgrounds may apply including, but not limited to, economics, engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, statistics, neurosciences, psychology, humanities, art history and museology, as the programs are designed to train a new international professional elite on a meritocratic basis for careers both in academia and in businesses and institutions.

All students will be based in the recently restored San Francesco complex, a fully integrated Campus in the historical center of the beautiful Tuscan city of Lucca. The Campus includes renewed, fully-equipped residential facilities, an on-site canteen, study and living rooms, a state-of-the-art library and outdoor recreational spaces, which foster a unique cultural, professional and social environment for the doctoral programs. All admitted students will also receive a research scholarship. Additional funding for research stages also will be provided.

The PhD programs at the IMT School attract students from around the world, providing a truly international environment. English is the official language of the School. Moreover, all students will have the opportunity to spend periods abroad at research institutes, laboratories or universities, both within the Erasmus+ program and through ad hoc mobility agreements.

Most IMT School PhD Graduates have reached prominent roles in academics, governmental institutions, public and private companies or professions across the globe. With the knowledge that the labor market will be characterized more and more by mobility across types of careers that had traditionally been considered separate, the IMT School aims to equip its graduate students with the most appropriate tools for facing a variety of diverse real-world problems.