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CENSE opens a competitive call for 3 PhD scholarships


CENSE opens a competitive call for three PhD scholarships

The 3 PhD scholarships are open in the scientific area of Environment and Sustainability and categorised into three different themes. The scholarships will be funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), thus are under the FCT Regulation for Studentships and Fellowships and the Research Fellowship Holder Statute.

Applications open from 1st March - 9th April 2021

Check the full details here or via the Eracareers portal.

Apply and join the CENSE team!

The work plan and scientific orientation of the scholarships must fit into the research areas of CENSE - Center for Research in Environment and Sustainability and contribute to the execution of its strategic plan. The thematic research areas that the candidate can apply for are (each candidate may submit only one application to one of the indicated themes):

Theme 1 (1 scholarship)*: computation for sustainability - we are looking for candidates who accept the challenge of designing new “software” or “hardware-software” solutions for the main problems of urban life in the future. These solutions will be achieved by human beings working in symbiosis with machines and Nature. We are looking for candidates who develop research on the frontier designing these symbiotic systems, combining human detection and processing capabilities, machine learning, generative artificial intelligence, and services offered by Nature. The problems of the future life to be faced include social inclusion and environmental issues. The selected candidate will benefit from a research environment that includes pioneering startups and partnerships with some of the main research laboratories in these areas.

Additional admissibility requirements for this topic: candidates must have a master's degree in engineering, with a preference in robotics and artificial intelligence. A background in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a factor of preference.

Theme 2 (1 scholarship)*: ecological economics and environmental management - with an emphasis on one of the following research topics:

  1. Circular economy, eco-innovation and sustainability - new patterns of production and consumption, ecodesign and circular business models; new approaches to management and sustainability assessment, through inter, multi and transdisciplinary research;

  2. Natural capital and ecosystem services - study and modelling of socio-ecological interactions to inform biodiversity conservation policies;

  3. Sustainable degrowth, sufficiency and transitions to sustainability - exploring paths of multi-level and multi-actor transformation.

Additional admissibility requirements for this topic: candidates must have a master's degree in Environmental Sciences and Engineering or related fields, or in Economics or other Social Sciences with experience of application in the area of ​​environment and sustainability.

Theme 3 (1 scholarship): interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary theme - applications in this theme must associate at least two of the five research areas of CENSE: a) Bioresources and Green Technologies; b) Computation for Sustainability; c) Ecological Economics and Environmental Management; d) Energy and Climate; e) Sustainable Water Sanitation, Wastes and Resources Recovery. With an emphasis on research on topics at the frontier of knowledge to solve emerging environmental challenges; an innovative, risk-taking project will be valued for the attribution of this scholarship. Additional admissibility requirements for this topic: candidates must have at least one supervisor and one co-supervisor associated with different research areas at CENSE.

*If there are no applications for themes 1 and/or 2, the available scholarships will be transferred to theme 3.

Basic eligibility criteria to apply to this PhD grant:

  1. Academic background: Candidates must have the academic background asked for in each position.

  2. Degree certificates: to apply for this opportunity, candidates from abroad will have to ask for the conversion of diplomas and grades to the Portuguese system (for equality reasons). Check more info about this process here

  3. Geographic mobility: Candidates must reside in Portugal or be willing to move to Portugal as soon as the grant is attributed.

  4. Level of English: Candidates must have a demonstrable level of English (B2 or higher).

There is a possibility to have a mixed grant, where you can stay abroad in another institution for a maximum of 1 year, but your main residence must be in Portugal.


Mandatory documents for the application process (download the checklist):


  1. Elements of the ID card / citizen card / passport;

  2. Candidate's curriculum vitae (with a maximum of 10 pages), with reference to the candidate's CiênciaVitae and ORCID.

  3. Certificates of qualification of the academic degrees held, specifying the final classification and, if possible, the classifications obtained in all subjects taken, or, alternatively, the candidate's declaration of honour on how he completed his master's degree by the end of the term application.

  4. Registration of recognition of academic degrees awarded by foreign higher education institutions and registration of the conversion of the respective final classification to the Portuguese classification scale, or, alternatively, the candidate's declaration of honour (template here) on how to obtain recognition of the foreign degree equivalent to that of the master until the date of conclusion of the scholarship contract indicated by the Research Unit. The score of this item will be affected if the candidate only presents the masters' degree certificate conversion. Check all the info about how to ask for the conversion of your degrees at:

  5. Letter of motivation (maximum of 600 words).

  6. 2 (two) letters of recommendation.

  7. Work plan previously agreed with the supervisor at CENSE (template here).



Frequently Asked Questions:

I do not understand Portuguese. Can I apply for one of these scholarships?

Yes. Although the call is in Portuguese, we accept applications from non-Portuguese speaking candidates.

Não entendo português. Posso candidatar-me a uma bolsa?

Sim. Apesar do edital estar escrito em Português, aceitamos candidaturas de pessoas que não falam português.


Do I have to have a permanent residence in Portugal for benefiting from this scholarship?

Please check the notice for the call, point "4.1. Requisitos de Admissibilidade do candidato". "4.1. Applicable Admissibility Requirements: - To have permanent residence in Portugal, if the work plan associated with the scholarship is partially carried out in foreign institutions (mixed scholarships), a requirement applicable to both national and foreign citizens to be demonstrated when the scholarship is conditionally granted to effects of its contracting.”

Tenho de ter residência permanente em Portugal para beneficiar de uma destas bolsas?

Por favor consulte o edital, ponto "4.1. Requisitos de Admissibilidade do candidato: - Residir em Portugal de forma permanente e habitual, caso o plano de trabalhos associado à bolsa decorra, parcialmente, em instituições estrangeiras (bolsas mistas), requisito aplicável tanto a cidadãos nacionais como a cidadãos estrangeiros, a ser demonstrado aquando da concessão condicional da bolsa para efeitos da sua contratualização.”


In which language should I write my application? 


Em que língua devo escrever a minha candidatura?



Who can help me and put me in contact with potential supervisors?

Questions related to potential supervisors should be sent to CENSE through the following email address (Rui Ferreira dos Santos) referring to “Call for PhD Grants 2021” in the message subject.

Quem pode ajudar-me e colocar-me em contacto com potenciais orientadores(as)?

As questões relacionadas com potenciais orientadores(as) devem ser enviadas para o CENSE através do seguinte endereço de email (Rui Ferreira dos Santos), colocando no assunto da mensagem “Call for PhD Grants 2021”.


Can I apply to this call, even if I am applying to FCT’s 2021 Call for PhD Grants?

Yes, you can apply to both as these are non-exclusive calls. But you will need to develop an application focused on CENSE’s research areas and with a CENSE supervisor.

Posso candidatar-me a estas bolsas se também me for candidatar ao concurso individual de bolsas de doutoramento da FCT 2021?

Sim, pode candidatar-se a ambas pois não são candidaturas exclusivas. Mas irá precisar de desenvolver uma candidatura focada nas áreas de investigação do CENSE e com um(a) orientador(a) do CENSE.


Do I have to be enrolled in a doctoral program to apply for this scholarship?

No. Nonetheless, the applicant needs to guarantee (s)he meets the requirements to enrol in a PhD Program. Also, if selected, you will need to enrol in one of the two PhD programs associated with CENSE: PhD in Environment and Sustainability or PhD in Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies.

É necessário já estar inscrito(a) num programa doutoral para me candidatar a estas bolsas?

Não. No entanto, o(a) candidato(a) tem de garantir que cumpre as exigências para inscrição num programa doutoral. Adicionalmente, se for selecionado para uma destas bolsas, terá de se inscrever num dos dois programas doutorais associados ao CENSE: Programa Doutoral em Ambiente e Sustentabilidade ou Programa Doutoral em Alterações Climáticas e Políticas de Desenvolvimento Sustentável.


Are the grants paid by the CENSE, FCT NOVA?

No, these grants are paid by directly the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). All grantees will sign a Grant contract with FCT, in compliance with the Research Fellowship Holder Statute, in the FCT Regulation for Research Studentships and Fellowships.

As bolsas são pagas pelo CENSE, FCT NOVA?

Não, estas bolsas são pagas diretamente pela Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). Todos os(as) bolseiros(as) assinarão um contrato de bolsa com a FCT, em conformidade com o Estatuto do Bolseiro de Investigação, presente no Regulamento de Bolsas de Investigação da FCT.


What if I need extra help?

Questions related to the application, application form or its filling in should be sent to CENSE through the following email address: (Sandra Ferreira) referring to “Call for PhD Grants 2021” in the message subject. CENSE guarantees answers only up to 4 working days before the application submission deadline. We recommend that, before contacting CENSE, you carefully read all the documents related to the Call, including the list of FAQs, available on this page.

E se eu precisar de mais ajuda?

Para questões relacionadas à candidatura, formulário de candidatura ou o seu preenchimento, devem ser enviadas para o CENSE através do seguinte endereço de email: (Sandra Ferreira), colocando no assunto da mensagem “Call for PhD Grants 2021”. O CENSE apenas garante respostas até 4 dias úteis antes do prazo de envio da inscrição. Recomendamos que, antes de entrar em contato com o CENSE, leia com atenção todos os documentos relacionados com a candidatura, incluindo a lista de perguntas frequentes disponíveis nesta página.