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Getting a doctoral degree at the UB

The academic excellence of the UB attracts students from all over the world. Six international PhD students talk about their experience.

Getting the doctoral degree at the UB is not only about having a degree but also the chance to conduct a research project in a university that stands out for its excellence in research: among the Spanish institutions, it is top listed in the international rankings. This prestige attracts students and researchers from several countries in different subjects such as anthropology, education, economics or nanotechnology. Some have carried out these processes online, miles away from the university.

Franciele Corti: “The research carried out at the UB is a top one and enrolling in a doctoral program in this university enabled me to work with consolidated research groups”

Our university is the top listed one in Spain in international rankings, and this is one of the reasons why international researchers choose it to carry out their PhD, a decisive part of their academic training. The Doctoral School of the UB organizes the professional training of doctoral students. We spoke to some of them about their experience.

Luis F. Pantoja (Ecuador), currently lecturer at the Faculty of Mechanic Engineering at the National Polytechnical University in Quito, presented his thesis Carbon nanotubes grown on stainless steel for supercapacitor Applications in 2019, supervised by Professor Enric Bertan and lecturer Roger Amade, from the Department of Applied Physics. He chose the University of Barcelona because he had studied the master’s degree in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in 2011 and was “pleasantly surprised by the level of research at the UB. It has the appropriate infrastructures and necessary resources, and I want to highlight the professionalism and human quality of those I had contact with”.

Also, Franciele Corti (Brazil), currently adjunct lecturer at the Department of Methods of Research and Diagnosis in Education at the Faculty of Education, got her doctorate with the thesis La contemporaneidad de la relación pedagógica: un estudio de casos en un aula de secundaria, supervised by lecturer Cristina Alonso, from the Department of Teaching and Learning and Educational Organization. She chose the University of Barcelona because “the research carried out at the UB is a top one and enrolling in a doctoral program in this university enabled me to work with consolidated research groups and take part in national and international competitive projects”.

In the Faculty of Education, we also have the example of the PhD student Luisina Ferrante (Argentina), who is coursing the studies online, supervised by lecturer Cristina Alonso. With her research, she intends to “study how Wikipedia was favoured as a pedagogical tool in digital literacy processes in the teaching community in Argentina within the context of the pandemic and mandatory virtuality”. She chose the option to course a doctoral degree online due to “a personal interest in conducting a doctorate abroad”. Difficulties of having to study a doctoral degree online, and with time differences, are balanced out because the UB “has a top level, and its proposals to carry out research experiences are very professional”.


Maria Feliu
Maria Feliu is the vice-rector for Doctoral Studies and Training Research Staff.


One of the powerful fields at the UB both in teaching and in research is Economics, with great and distinguished lecturers over the history of this institution. We talked to PhD students Filippo Tassinari and Liliana Cuccu (Italy). Tassinari is coursing a doctoral degree led by Miquel-Àngel Garcia López (UAB and IEB) and Elisabet Viladecans Marsal (UB and IEB). His research focuses on innovative urban mobility policies in a more sustainable environment. “I opted for the UB because the department of this PhD is really great, and because of the city of Barcelona”. He is clear about his decision: “seeing the people that surround me and the quality of their research studies, I think the UB will become a worldwide distinguished university in the field of economics”. Liliana Cuccu is working on her thesis on how automatization affects competition between companies and employment opportunities between different categories of employees and regions. It is supervised by Professor Vicente Royuela, from the Department of Econometrics, Statistics and Applied Economics. Cuccu was convinced about her decision to choose the UB because “it has an excellent research group working on these topics, the Regional Quantitative Analysis Group (AQR). I think the Faculty of Economics and Business conducts a high-level research, which is usually published in the top journals of this field”.

Last, Gabriela Eljuri (Ecuador), currently lecturer at the University of Azuay in Cuenca (Ecuador), got her doctorate last November at the Department of Social Anthropology of the Faculty of Geography and History, with the thesis “El patrimonio cultural como escenario de prácticas, discursos y disputas: Las plazas del Centro Histórico de Cuenca, supervised by lecturer Xavier Roigé. She told us she chose the UB because “the members of the teaching staff are of renown, and because of the institution’s experience in topics on culture, anthropology and heritage”. Like Ferrante, she coursed the doctoral studies online: “due to personal reasons, I had to move to the United States, so I carried out the thesis with the University of Barcelona, and my study case was in Ecuador, but I was physically in Arizona, divided into three countries”. Professionally linked to the public management of culture and academic, she highlights that “getting the doctorate has been an opportunity for an approach from a more critical view in this field”, and she also adds she would like to make “a postdoctoral stay in a near future”.

We asked the new vice-rector for Doctoral Studies and Training Research Staff, Maria Feliu, who holds this position in the new governing team, under Joan Guàrdia’s mandate –about her opinion. She divides her management on three blocs: “the academic, focused on the improvement of training; management, to ease procedures, and people, to reduce drop-outs, distress situations, and ending with abuse or harassment situations”. Also, Feliu says “PhD students should consider that research and transfer go together, this is not an only journey, the research should be transferred to society”. As for the UB standard, she notes that “we need to go beyond research structures to promote synergies between groups, and improve talent recruitment”.

Liliana Cuccu
Filippo Tassinari
Franciele Corti
Luisina Ferrante
Luis F. Pantoja
Gabriela Eljuri