Call for Applications for 7 Individual Scholarships – iRail

The doctoral programme iRail- Innovation in Railway Systems and Technologies – was selected for funding by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, IP (FCT), which will support seven (7) doctoral scholarships (BD) in the third edition.


The doctoral program is developed in cooperation with Faculty of Engineering/University of Porto (FE/UP) and School of Engineering/University of Minho (EE/UM), from Portugal, and Polytechnic School/University of São Paulo (Poli-USP), from Brazil.


In the framework of this call, the Board of Directors (BD), composed by the Program Director and one representative from each partner, will be responsible for selecting the students that will receive the scholarships funded by FCT. The scholarship contracts will be signed directly with FCT.
Thus, in accordance with the Research Scholarship Holder Statute, published by Law no. 40/2004 of August 18, in its current wording, and the Regulations for Fellowships and Scholarships of FCT, the BD of the program hereby opens this call for individual scholarship applications.
These scholarships are intended for individuals who meet the requirements set forth in Article 30, paragraph 1, of Decree Law no. 74/2006, of March 24, as amended by Decree-Law no. 107/2008 of June 25, and 230/2009 of September 14. These scholarships are one year in duration, renewable for up to a total of four years and not of less than three consecutive months.


Main research field: Engineering

Candidates: The basic requirement for admission in the doctoral programme is holding a nationally recognized Civil, Mechanical, Electronics (Electrical) or Polymer and Computer Engineering Master’s degree or a Master’s degree in related areas, such as Materials Engineering, with 300 ECTS, i.e. five year university education (or more). Exceptionally, other candidates that don´t have this qualification but have a remarkable academic curriculum can be admitted.
In addition, the minimum grade of the candidates in the degrees mentioned above is “B-“in the ECTS grading scale (corresponding to a score of at least 70%), or an equivalent grade in the national scale of the candidates. If requested, candidates must demonstrate that their degree is equivalent to the degree required for the application, and provide official recognition documents translated/written in English. Since English is the official language of the doctoral programme, a minimum fluency in English communication is required. Students from non-English speaking countries should preferentially have one of the following certificates: TOEFL certificate paper based (minimum score 500), TOEFL certificate internet based (minimum score 61), IELTS certificate (academic version, minimum score 6.0) or other recognized English language certificate.

The candidates must agree to enrol in the Doctoral Programme and remain engaged in the programme for a minimum period of 3 years.


The following individuals may apply to this program:

  • Portuguese citizens, or citizens of other European Union member states;
  • citizens of other countries who hold permanent residence permits in Portugal or who hold the status of long-term resident, under the terms of Law 23/2007 of July 4, amended by Law no. 29/2012 of August 9;
  • citizens of other countries with whom Portugal holds reciprocity agreements;
  • citizens of other countries, through a preliminary personal interview, in the terms laid out by item c) of nº 1 of Article 14 of Regulations for Research Grants of the Foundation for Science and Technology, available at


Period of applications:
The call is open between April 1 and April 30, 2017.


Application process:
Applications should be sent by Email to and to, indicating the following reference in the subject (FEUP-DP- iRail). The application must include the following components:

  • Copy of ID document / passport and tax card (if applicable);
  • General curriculum vitae. It is mandatory to use the model available at;
  • Academic curriculum vitae – certified transcripts showing all academic degrees awarded, with final grade;
  • The official certificate of the university degree(s) (if applicable, in English);
  • Statement of purpose, describing the interest of the candidate in the domains of the PhD programme, personal aims and research streamlines (IP1: Cost-efficient and Reliable Trains; IP2: Advanced Traffic Management & Control Systems; IP3: Cost-efficient, Sustainable and Reliable High Capacity Infrastructure; IP4: IT Solutions for Attractive Railway Services; IP5: Technologies for Sustainable & Attractive European Freight) of interest;
  • Reference letters – the contact details (name, institution and e-mail) of at least two references should be supplied;
  • Recent photo of the candidate.


Work plan and host Institution:
The seven (7) BD research scholarships are allocated to FE/UP and EE/UM and will be integrated in the research streamlines of the i Rail programme, close to the Innovation Programmes (IP1: Cost-efficient and Reliable Trains; IP2: Advanced Traffic Management & Control Systems; IP3: Cost-efficient, Sustainable and Reliable High Capacity Infrastructure; IP4: IT Solutions for Attractive Railway Services; IP5: Technologies for Sustainable & Attractive European Freight) established in the Strategic Master Plan of Shift2Rail (, the first European rail Joint Undertaking (JU) aiming to foster research and innovation in rail products and solutions.
The scholarship holder must enroll in a Civil, Mechanical or Electrical Engineering doctoral program, included at FE/UP, or in a Civil, Mechanical, Electrical Engineering or Polymers doctoral program included at EE/UM, no more than 180 days after the scholarship is awarded.


The evaluation of applications is carried out in two phases, by assessing the merit of each candidate and producing a ranked list of candidates.
In the first phase, the Board of Directors will analyze and evaluate the applications, and the candidates selection will be based on an objective evaluation of the following specific criteria and weights:

  • Academic achievements; preference will be given to candidates with background on the research areas of the programme – weight: 50%;
  • Relevant scientific activities (e.g. participation in research projects, authorship of journal and conference papers, patents, etc.) – weight: 20%;
  • Relevant professional experience (related with the programme’s scope) – weight: 15%;
  • Motivation (based on the interview, statement of purpose and reference letters) – weight: 15%.

In the second phase, the six highest ranked candidates in each area in the first phase will be individually interviewed by the Board of Directors (live or via video conferencing) in order to assess their knowledge, specific technical skills, motivation and communication skills in English and thereby defining the final ranking.
The number of selected candidates may be less than the number of scholarships available, depending on their overall merit.


Publication of results:
The results of the selection process will be communicated by letter to all candidates, and the list of approved applicants will be available at In the case of an unfavorable award decision (i.e. for applicants not selected to receive scholarships), the applicant has a period of 10 days after disclosure, to be heard by the Board of Directors, by request of a preliminary hearing, pursuant to the Portuguese Código do Procedimento Administrativo. The final decision may be appealed to Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., within 15 days after the respective notification.


Selection of the thesis topics:
The selected candidates will then have access to a list of thesis topics, associated to supervisors and co-supervisors of the various Participating institutions in the research streamlines identified by each candidate. Each candidate will prepare a ranked list of three of these topics, according to his/her preference. The award of the topic will be made following this ranking. Topics with more than one candidate will be awarded to the candidate with the best ranking after the second phase. The award of the topics may be conditioned to limit the concentration of topics in any of the research streamlines, of the Participant institutions or supervisor member of these institutions.


The allowances related to the contract components, school fees and additional support are financed by national founds through Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, IP, and Ministry of Education and Science (FCT/MCTES) and by European Social Fund through the Thematic Operating Program of Human capital (POCH).


Policy of non-discrimination and equal access:
FEUP promotes a Policy of non-discrimination and equal access, so that any candidate can be privileged, benefited, or deprived of any right or exempt of any duty, because of ascendancy, age, gender, civil state, familiar situation, economic situation, education, origin or social condition, genetic heritage, reduced working ability, disability, chronic disease, nationality, ethnic origin or race, territory of origin, language, religion, political or ideological conviction and trade union affiliation.


Legislation and regulations:
Estatuto do Bolseiro de Investigação Científica, approved by Law no. º 40/2004 of 18 August, in its current wording, available at
Regulamento de Bolsas de Investigação da FCT, I.P, Regulation no 234/2012, amended by Regulaton no 339/2015, published in the II Série, DR, 17 june 2015 and available at

Application deadline: 30 April 2017


For further information please contact:

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