Graduate Opportunities

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VIU International PhD Academy

This PhD Academy is among the Global Challenges Initiatives of VIU. It is an intensive training program for PhD candidates from the member universities of VIU. The Academy is a 7-10 day event, which includes a scientific program and a parallel program of training and workshops that provides PhD candidates with training in a range of skills that will be useful in developing their research and academic careers. Each Academy will focus  on a major societal challenge faced by humankind today, which will be addressed via multidisciplinary approaches, involving high-level speakers selected among the VIU member institutions but whose remarks will be adapted to a broad cohort of the VIU community. Financial support is available to candidates from the Member Universities, including Duke, to support international travel, and accommodation costs.

Summer 2020 Programs:


Light: Its Nature and Its Use​
MAY 11-15, 2020

Application Deadline: December 1, 2019 – January 25, 2020

This PhD Academy aims at giving a broad overview of modern optics and its applications (i.e. photonics) in various fields involving the exploration of matter, the design of original devices involving light (e.g. imaging and medical set-ups, optical communications) and their applications in analytical sciences (e.g. microscopy, spectroscopies), healthcare, manufacture and arts. The course will concentrate on the transversality of the issues addressed and emphasize how the various perspectives to use light have enhanced creativity and innovation of the design of new devices based on light-matter interaction and have contributed to a better understanding of the physical phenomena underlying these effects.

VIU_PhD_academy_Quantitative_Methods_in_Legal_Studies Flyer

Quantitative Methods in Legal Studies​
MAY 25-30, 2020

Application Deadline: December 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020

The Academy will be focused on the use of quantitative methods in legal studies. Participants will represent various countries with different legal traditions and jurisdictions, but all of them can benefit from the application of empirical methods to discover the legal reality. This Academy aims to be a first step in the matter of internalization of legal studies and development of cross-national cooperation of legal scholars, being the involvement of the law faculties in the international cooperation an important part of promoting the idea of cross-national academic transparency.


Cities and Water in a Time of Climate Change
June 1 – 5, 2020

Application Deadline: December 1, 2019 – February 15, 2020

Four thematic modules will be considered in this one-week program
- Settlements and water in a time of climate change
- Historical and geographical perspectives
- Climate migrants, water, food, urban daily life
- Urban projects-policies, water projects-policies
- Site visits to provide participants with practical examples of the issues at stake.

The program also includes a parallel program of training in a range of Transversal Skills for developing their academic careers, and poster sessions for the participants to present their PhD research projects

Contact information:
Giovanni Zanalda
Director, DUCIGS
p: 919-681-8376

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VIU Summer/Autumn/Winter Schools

Since 2012, VIU has supported the development of a series of VIU Summer/Autumn/Winter Schools, which are intensive taught programs that are offered each year. These programs focus on specific themes which are of common interest to the members involved and which have been identified as strategic for the VIU consortium, for example: sustainable development, preservation of cultural heritage, and the challenges that society faces today due to aging populations. They may be addressed to students of varying levels, depending on the program. The Schools are also open to applicants outside of the VIU membership.

Winter 2020 Program:


LIfe COurse and Vulnerabilities
March 29 – April 2, 2020

Application Deadline: January 6, 2020

This is the sixth edition of the LIVES Winter School, the first organized by the Venice International University and led by the two VIU member universities: University of Lausanne and University of Padua. 

During an intensive one-week program, doctoral students and young researchers will work on various fields of Life Course research through a multidisciplinary approach (Sociology, Psychology, Social Psychology, Life-span Psychology, Social Demography and Social Policies) lead by internationally renowned experts.

In particular, the Winter School will focus on training the participants in the drafting of research projects or journal articles as a fundamental aspect of the academic career they are approaching. With a “learning -by-doing” approach, participants will go through all stages of these drafting processes.

Summer 2020 Programs:

Contact information:
Giovanni Zanalda
Director, DUCIGS
p: 919-681-8376

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VIU Graduate Seminars

These are thematic intensive seminars given in a concentrated period on subjects of universal interest, open to a broad spectrum of disciplines. The seminars are driven by interdepartmental cooperation, and it is expected that they will give rise to medium- and long-term projects involving the participating departments.They are suited to both Master's and PhD students and are open to candidates from all the VIU member institutions. Students from the VIU member universities will pay no participation fees. Grant support is also available to support the costs of international travel and accommodation.

Summer 2020 Program:


Climate Change Mitigation: Carbon Capture and Utilization​
June 22 - 26, 2020

Application Deadline: December 1, 2019 – February 20, 2020

The aim of this graduate seminar is to provide the students with a comprehensive overview of carbon capture and utilization strategies with regard to their current stage of development and implementation, focusing on scientific and technological aspects, but also environmental, social and economic sustainability issues.
The program will examine technologies for separating CO2 from different types of sources such as flue gas, biogas and air, and for producing products such as chemicals, fuels (also bio-derived) and construction materials.

Although geological storage will not be specifically addressed during the seminar, permanent storage of CO2 by natural and accelerated weathering will be examined together with other utilization processes. As CO2 may be used in many different applications, the seminar will have a multidisciplinary approach involving professors and students from different disciplines: chemistry and biology, civil and environmental engineering, and earth science. The aim is to encourage and stimulate discussions from students from different backgrounds to allow them to individually and collectively identify synergies and possible new approaches and strategies in the developing field of CCUS.​

Contact information:
Giovanni Zanalda
Director, DUCIGS
p: 919-681-8376