PhD Open University UK

About PHD

The International Graduate Program of the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS is organized in collaboration with the Open University (Milton Keynes, UK) and confers a PhD title which is recognized worldwide. The Program is part of the educational and training activities taking place at the two campuses of Milano and Bergamo.

The major aim of the Graduate Program is to train students for research careers in the fields of pharmacology, toxicology, and experimental medicine with reference to cancer, neurological, cardiovascular, and kidney diseases. Other areas of interest include environmental toxicology, organ transplantation, rare diseases, molecular pharmacology, and public health.

The duration of the PhD course ranges from a minimum of 24 months to a maximum of 48 months.

IRFMN is certified according to the ISO 9001 European standards 2015 for the "Design and provision of specialized training courses in Biological and Medical fields also in Continuing Medical Education".

Selection criteria

Access is generally limited to young investigators with at least one-year experience in any field of experimental or clinical research and proven knowledge of the English language.

Where English is not the candidate’s first language, the applicant must possess a valid IELTS certificate - meeting the minimum requirements of a 6.5 as an overall score and no less than 6.0 in any of the four areas of competence (reading, writing, listening, and speaking)- which has to be obtained no later than two years before the predicted registration date.

Italian candidates must possess an Italian Master’sdegree (laurea magistrale) in any scientific discipline, and foreign candidates must possess a graduate degree equivalent to those required for Italian candidates.

Procedures for registration with the Open University, UK

The registration procedure is comprised of four phases:

1. Publication of a competitive Call

The Call is open to both internal and external candidates. It can be issued at different times during the year and is subordinated to the existence of projects with available PhD positions.

The Call is published on the institutional website and on the official LinkedIn profile of the Institute together with the project/s abstract/s and the PhD Program.

Please read the PHD Call–Downloads.

2. Pre-registration

In response to the Call, the candidate must submit to the PhD Educational Office ( the following documents:

-       The candidate’s CV;

-       the filled-in and signed Appendix 1 to the published Call, in which the candidate declares any conflict of interests with the Institute;

-       when needed, a valid IELTS certificate meeting the minimum requirement of 6.5 as an overall score and no less than 6.0 in any of the four elements (reading, writing, listening, and speaking).

3. Evaluation of the applications

The candidates who meet the eligibility criteria specified in the Competitive Call can be involved in the actual selection process which consists of an oral interview – to be held in English – in which two Advisory Board members and the project P.I. will take part. Such assessors impartially evaluate the candidate’s profile and suitability for the position.

To comply with the transparency standards established by the ISO quality framework, a final ranking is published on the Institutional website so that each candidate knows whether they can proceed with the following steps concerning the application for registration with the Open University.

4.  Registration of the accepted students

Once the selection procedure held at the Institute is completed, the PhD Educational Office notifies each candidate of the outcome of the interview and requests the necessary documentation to finalise the application for registration to the Open University.  

If the candidate accepts the offered position,they must transmit to the PhD Educational Office the following documents:

-       Research Degrees Application Form Affiliated Research Centres;

-       Research Degrees Application Recommendation Form Affiliated Research Centres;

-       the Research Project (signed by both the Director of Studies and the Applicant);

-       the applicant's CV;

-       the Animal Care Unit certification (for projects requiring the use of animals);

-       the updated CV of the Supervisors (Director of Studies + Internal and/or External Supervisor);

-       a copy of the IELTS certificate, if required;

-       a copy of a valid identity document (identity card or passport);

-       a copy of the Degree Certificate with the exams record;

-       two reference letters by the two referees indicated in the Application Form;

-       the signed Reimbursement Clause Letter;

After a thorough revision of the documentation by the PhD Educational Office and the approval by the Research Degree Coordinator, such documentation is sent to the Open University which revises the application for registration and, if the outcome is positive, sends an Offer Letter to be accepted in order to officialise the applicant’s registration.

Contact information

For additional information about the PhD courses please write to

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