PhD in Applied Clinical Research

The PhD in Applied Clinical Research will provide the basic principles of clinical and applied research with the direct involvement of research institutions, public and private research hospitals, regulatory bodies, pharmaceutical companies and stakeholders.

The Call for Applications for the academic year 2024/2025 is closed

The Programme

The PhD programme in Applied Clinical Research is targeted at graduates with a degree in medicine interested in acquiring knowledge and developing skills in the field of clinical research.

The PhD programme will equip students with general, transversal and specific competencies, and train professionals who are able to design, conduct and critically evaluate independent and for-profit clinical research projects.

This PhD course aims to train “generators” of high quality, innovative clinical trials, able to take into account the economic sustainability and ethical aspects of research as well as the real applicability of the results as a means to improving the health conditions and quality of life of patients.

The involvement of cross-disciplinary expertise (medical, methodological, economic, ethical), and experts from different backgrounds (clinical-preclinical, industrial, economic, regulatory/decisional), underscores the interdisciplinary aspect that will characterize the doctoral programme in Clinical Research at Humanitas University.

 Specifically, the doctoral student will:

  • acquire the necessary tools for the identification and critical review of available evidence
  • understand the regulation of clinical research
  • acquire the tools to identify the correct type of study to be carried out according to the objectives and strengths/weaknesses of different types of clinical trials
  • understand epidemiology and statistics for proper clinical study design
  • understand economic principles underlying the economic sustainability of a clinical trial
  • understand the basis of open science

At the end of the course, the doctoral students will have:

  • learned the correct research methodology to be used for the specific objective: retrospective, observational or interventional, cross-sectional, prospective (from phase 1, including first-in-human studies, to phase 4 post-marketing) RTCs
  • mastered the principles underlying the design, execution, and management of profit and nonprofit clinical research
  • mastered the biostatistical foundations required for clinical trial design
  • mastered the biostatistical foundations required for data analysis and proper interpretation of a clinical trial
  • learned the economic foundations required for determining the sustainability of profit and nonprofit clinical research
  • learned the regulatory and ethical principles of clinical research
  • learned the principles of team working
  • learned the basic principles of competitive grant writing
  • mastered the basic principles of writing and submitting abstracts as well as manuscripts
  • mastered the most effective ways of presenting clinical research findings to a lay audience (stakeholders)
  • designed and conducted a clinical research project
  • designed, written and submitted a research project to a national or international competitive call
  • learned the basics in the area of open science

Career Opportunities

The expected employment outlets are managerial or high-profile careers in academia in biomedical disciplines and within public and private research organizations, public health, and the pharmaceutical or biomedical industry.

Specifically, the main areas of employment include:

  • clinical research facilities (IRCCS, university hospitals);
  • public and private research institutions operating in the biomedical field;
  • ASLs and hospital companies, in areas dedicated to health monitoring and planning;
  • Pharmaceutical companies (Clinical Development; Medical Affair Branch; Clinical Scientist; Manager Regulatory Operations) and Biotech pharmaceuticals;
  • Clinical trial ethics committees.


PhD Coordinator: Prof.  Andrea Lania
Places available

6 places

The number of available places and/or scholarships may increase in the event that external funding becomes available by the deadline set for the completion of the call application procedure.




3 years

Beginning of the academic year

1st  December 2024

Application deadline

15th July 2024, h 1:00 PM

Academic Regulations Research Doctorate (EN)

Regolamento Corsi di Dottorato di Ricerca (ITA)


For further information you can contact


Didactic Activities

Module 1: Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Module 2: Research Ethics
Module 3: Advanced Statistics
Module 4: Principles and Practice of Clinical Studies
Module 5: Conducting a clinical trial
Module 6: Interpretation and dissemination of results
Module 7: Translational and correlational studies applied to phase 1-2 clinical trials
Module 8: Digital Medicine and Clinical Studies
Module 9: Regulatory Aspects
Module 10: Participation in Competitive Grants

The PhD programme includes the writing of a clinical research protocol as a thesis project under the supervision of a tutor and faculty members of the doctoral program. The thesis project is a structured activity involving the design and implementation of a research project aimed at the practical application of the knowledge acquired.

The PhD student is expected to:

  • participate in clinical research activities under the supervision of the mentor
  • write a proposal for national and international competitive grant
  • design a clinical study
  • write at least 1 clinical paper as first author

BIP – Blended Intensive Program

Among elective activities, PhD students enrolled to the second and third year have the opportunity to join the BIP (Blended Intensive Program) in Reserch Ethics and Integrity, organized with the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland.

The course is composed of online classes plus an in-person part hosted on RCSI campus in Dublin for one week.

All costs related to registration, flight and accommodation for the in-person are covered by Humanitas University.

Admission Requirements

Applicants wishing to apply for the PhD course in clinical research must have:

  • an Italian degree in Medicine and Surgery or equivalent qualification awarded by a foreign university
  • the license to practice as a doctor
  • the registration to the professional order of physicians
  • a medical residency programme (concluded on ongoing)

Applicants who have not yet graduated at the date of application may still take part in the selection process providing they have passed all of their degree programme exams at the time of the online application, and will have been awarded the qualification before the beginning of the academic activities. Should these applicants pass the selection process, their enrolment on the PhD course is conditional upon providing proof that the qualification has been awarded.

Fees and Scholarships

PhD students are required to pay an annual fee for access and attendance, set at €250,00 for the academic year 2024/2025, including the regional tax and stamp duty.

Detailed information about each topic’s scholarship or equivalent contract can be found in the research topics table below, by clicking on each topic ID.

How to Apply

  • Registration or access with your LOGINMIUR credentials
  • Application form submission
  • Payment of the application contribution

The application form must be completed in all its parts, on penalty of exclusion. In particular, applicants must submit all of the following documents in PDF format:

  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. Copy of a valid ID or passport (for Non-EU citizens)
  3. Diploma Supplement
  4. Copy of the receipt of payment of € 30,00

Additionally, applicants may indicate name and contacts of maximum two referees, preferably chosen among those who have had a supervising role of the candidates. The referees will be directly contacted by Humanitas University and asked to complete a brief letter of reference, which should be sent by 15th July 2024, h 1:00 PM. 

Further details about the application procedure will be reported in the official call for applicants.

Admission Process

Admission to the PhD Programme is based on a public selection process consisting of:

  • the comparative evaluation of titles and qualifications
  • an interview carried out in English by an appointed Committee

The aim of the selection process is to assess the knowledge, competencies and aptitude of the applicants for clinical research as well as their motivation for undertaking the PhD programme.

A good knowledge of English is required and will be tested during the interview.

Academic Board

PhD coordinator: Professor Andrea Lania

Research Topics


Humanitas è un ospedale ad alta specializzazione, centro di Ricerca e sede di insegnamento universitario. Ha sviluppato la sua organizzazione clinica istituendo centri di eccellenza specializzati per la cura dei tumori, di malattie cardiovascolari, neurologiche e ortopediche – oltre che un centro oculistico e un fertility center.