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PhD in Bioengineering

IQS offers an attractive and suitable PhD programme for students interested in research and innovation in the field of Chemistry and Chemical and Industrial Engineering. The programme has an interdisciplinary approach to respond to the professional needs of industry and scientific training for academic and industrial research.

IQS celebrated the 2005-06 academic year the centenary of its foundation. IQS has always been characterised by its spirit of innovation, its continuous contact with companies and for being a training centre for chemical professionals and engineers appreciated in all areas of the profession.

Doctoral studies in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering began at IQS in 1964 and have continued without interruption up to the present day. Throughout its history, IQS has trained PhDs in all fields related to Chemistry and Chemical Engineering who, thanks to their incorporation into the chemical and related industries (pharmaceutical, food, paints, polymers, etc.) have contributed significantly to improving their quality, productivity, competitiveness and capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2008 the first doctoral thesis in Industrial Engineering (from the studies of the same name started in 2000 at IQS) was defended, opening up new lines of research linked to Engineering.

Key information


10 new admission places per academic year


Registration open all year round


Chemical Area, Chemical Engineering Area, Industrial Engineering Area


More than 8,700 m2 of laboratory and workshop space

At IQS you will work in laboratories and workshops equipped with the latest technologies. We have specific laboratories where you will be able to carry out research with advanced equipment during your doctoral studies.


Job placement

The main employment opportunities for graduates of the programme are in the areas of research and research management in companies in the chemical-pharmaceutical-cosmetic sector, where they hold positions of high responsibility in R&D&I, as well as in universities and other research institutions. A small number of PhDs continue their scientific careers in academia or research centres.

AQU Catalunya periodically conducts studies on the labour market outcomes of graduates from the various doctoral programmes at Catalan universities.

Registration steps

Admission to the PhD Programme in Bioengineering can be applied for at any time during the academic year. The admission procedure to the PhD programme consists of the following stages:

  • The interested party requests an interview with the coordinator of the Doctoral Programme in Bioengineering.
  • The candidate applies for admission to the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme (CAPD), providing the relevant documentation that will be given to him/her by the coordinator of the PhD Programme.
  • Depending on the candidate’s academic interests, the CAPD contacts the corresponding Department, requesting an assessment report.
  • The candidate submits his/her doctoral thesis project to the Department, which assesses the project, the candidate’s suitability to develop it, the availability of material resources and funding, and issues an assessment report signed by the Director of the Department.
  • The CAPD assesses the Department’s report and the candidate’s academic record and issues its decision with a 50% weighting in each case. In the case of a positive decision, the CAPD assigns a tutor and a thesis supervisor.

The procedures and the calendar of meetings of the programme’s Academic Committee are updated on the IQS virtual campus.

Once the admission process has been completed, the Director General of IQS holds a welcome interview with the future PhD candidate. The admitted candidate has the rest of the academic year to formalise his/her enrolment at the IQS General Secretariat, at which point he/she acquires the status of doctoral student. If this is not the case, he/she will have to reapply for admission to the CAPD. The following annual enrolments will take place during the month of October at the beginning of each academic year.

Education Complements

The Doctoral Programme in Bioengineering does not provide additional training for students who enter the programme with a Master’s degree in Bioengineering, Biotechnology, Biomedicine, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Pharmacy, or related fields. However, in other cases, the Academic Committee of the PhD Programme (CAPD) may, during the admission process, assign specific training complements adapted to the candidate’s entry profile.

Likewise, the candidate may request the CAPD, with the approval of his/her thesis supervisor, to carry out any additional training that may be of interest to him/her. The training complements will consist of subjects from the Master’s Degree in Bioengineering at Ramon Llull University or from other Master’s Degree programmes taught at IQS which, not having been taken by the candidate in his or her previous studies, are considered to be of special relevance for the development of his or her thesis project. These complements will not exceed a maximum of 6 ECTS to be taken during the first year of the thesis.

Admission and requirements

Grants for doctoral studies

IQS annually offers grants of up to three years in duration for doctoral studies at IQS.

The Ramon Llull University Research and Innovation Office regularly publishes announcements for research grants, including actions such as co-financing contracts for research support personnel, pre-doctoral and post-doctoral research contracts, pre-doctoral scholarships, and grants for teaching and research staff mobility. In addition, Ramon Llull University maintains an up-to-date list of public financial aid for which doctoral students are eligible.

The research groups at IQS maintain an active policy of attracting research resources through different channels through public agencies and entities, foundations, and private companies. Particularly relevant actions within the context of the PhD in Bioengineering programme are intended for: equipment and infrastructure, competitive projects (European and Spanish), pre-doctoral scholarships, travel grants for doctoral students (for courses and conferences).
The percentage of students who obtain these grants are:

Twelve doctors and researchers form the faculty of the PhD in Bioengineering programme. All of the professors are members of a research group recognised by the Government of Catalonia (SGR – Support for Research Groups). All the research groups to which the programme’s professors belong participate in competitively financed research projects (National Plan, European projects, industrial doctorates, etc.) and projects in partnerships with companies.

92% of the research professors are currently engaged in a six-year merit-based research period, and 32 professors in total have received funding increases upon completing recognised six-year research periods and publishing their work. The faculty members of the PhD in Bioengineering programme cover all the educational objectives and participate in one or more research lines in the programme. The following link lists the academic, research, and work profiles of the various professors of the PhD in Bioengineering programme:

Scientific and academic career

Contact information

Dr. Xevi Biarnés
Coordinator of the PhD in Bioengineering programme
Tel: +34 93 267 23 57
Fax: +34 932 056 266

Research lines

The PhD in Bioengineering programme is structured into seven research lines grouped into four large thematic areas. Together, the thematic areas cover the different IQS research groups recognised by the Government of Catalonia, the IQS Bioengineering Department laboratories, and the individual interests of the various professors in the programme.

  • Biological Chemistry and Glycobiology Area

    Enzyme and bioinformatics engineering in glycobiology and biocatalysis.
    Genetic and metabolic engineering of bacteria, yeasts, and microalgae.
    Design and optimisation of bioprocesses to produce high value-added products.

  • Biomaterials Area

    Biomaterials for transport in gene therapy and drug delivery.
    Surface engineering and biomaterials for biomedical applications.

  • Tissue Engineering Area

    Tissue generation using biomimetic materials for biomedical applications.

  • Microbiology Area

    Microbiology applied to biomedicine and food and water treatment.

Educational activities

The PhD in Bioengineering programme includes a series of activities that aim to advance the educational activities for students in the programme. As part of the requirements established for the doctoral programme, IQS places special importance on assisting its professors in terms of teaching, research, and management (through Teaching and Research Assistants), as well as offering them the opportunity to participate in seminars, conferences, and special courses of interest for doctoral students that are held at IQS. The range of educational activities in which students in the PhD in Bioengineering programme can participate includes:

  • Attending the Department of Bioengineering Conference Cycle.
  • Participating in teaching activities.
  • Participating in conferences and courses.
  • Teaching a seminar within the department.
  • Conducting research at another university.

Procedure for the elaboration and defense of the research plan

Before the end of the first year, the doctoral student will prepare a detailed Research Plan that will include a background statement, the objectives to be achieved, the methodology to be used and the necessary means, and the time schedule to carry it out. This research plan, presented in writing with the approval of the thesis director and the tutor, will be evaluated by the CAPD during the evaluation of the first year of the doctorate. The doctoral student must present his/her detailed Research Plan to the CAPD in a public session, followed by a question and answer session with the CAPD members.

Academic standards

The General Standards of Organisation for Doctorates at Ramon Llull University (available here) establish the framework for the PhD in Bioengineering programme.

The specific adaptation of these standards for doctoral programs at IQS is set out in the Standards for Doctoral Studies at IQS.

Duration of the PhD programme and maintaining good standing

Doctoral studies last for a maximum duration of three full-time years, starting from the date of admission of the doctoral student to the programme up to the date of their doctoral thesis submission.

If a student’s request to submit their doctoral thesis has not been filed within this three-year period, the Doctoral Programme Academic Committee (CAPD) may authorise the extension of this period for one additional year, which may be exceptionally extended for an additional year.

Part-time doctoral studies may be carried out solely if authorised by the CAPD in advance. Part-time studies may last for a maximum duration of five years from the student’s date of admission to the programme up to the date of their doctoral thesis submission.
Extensions for part-time studies may be authorised for two more years and another additional year exceptionally.

For the purposes of calculating this period, absences due to illness, maternity, paternity, or any other cause envisaged by current legislation are not taken into account.

In addition, doctoral students can request temporary disenrollment from the programme for a maximum period of one year, which can be extended by up to one more year. This request must be justified and addressed to the CAPD, which will decide on whether or not to accept the request within a maximum period of two months.

Academic calendar

Candidates for the doctoral programme can apply and be admitted at any time during the academic year. Initial enrolment in the doctoral programme can be done at any time during the academic year. Subsequent enrolments must be done at the beginning of each academic year.

The annual assessment of doctoral students is done during the month of July.

Students can submit their request to defend their doctoral thesis to the CAPD and conduct their defence at any time during the academic year. Prior to defending their thesis, students can submit their request to do so with the Ramon Llull University Doctoral Committee at any time during the academic year.

The CAPD regular meeting takes place once a month. The Ramon Llull University Doctoral Committee meeting takes place once a month.

See CAPD meeting calendar

IQS firmly believes in the value of science, technology, and business internationalisation. For this reason, IQS considers international exchanges essential and an excellent way to complement and enrich students’ education both professionally and personally. IQS encourages students in the PhD in Bioengineering programme to spend time at foreign universities and research centres as part of international mobility programmes to enhance the research objectives in their doctoral thesis.

General standards

Doctoral student participation in mobility activities is governed by the standards that regulate doctoral studies at IQS and at Ramon Llull University

Operational Planning

Mobility grants

Doctoral students have access to financial aid to take part in mobility programmes as described in the grants section. The International Relations Office provides support to IQS students who wish to conduct research abroad.

International Relations Office

Doctoral Theses defended in the last academic years

Since the start of the programme in 2008, 41 doctoral theses have been successfully defended in the PhD Programme in Bioengineering. You can consult the list of defended doctoral theses.

See list

General regulations and framework

Since 2011, doctoral education at Spanish universities has been governed by Royal Decree 99/2011 of 28 January, and subsequent amendments thereof, which regulates official doctoral studies. Ramon Llull University has drafted internal General Standards for the Structure of Doctorates to offer accurate interpretation of current legislation and adapt it to the regular operation of doctoral education at the university.

These regulations govern and implement all procedures related to admissions, supervision, monitoring, evaluation, submission, and defence of doctoral theses and doctoral degrees, honorary awards, and archiving defended theses.

The procedures and the schedule of meetings of the Academic Committee of the program are updated on the IQS virtual campus.

Internal quality assurance system

The Doctoral Programme in Bioengineering has strategic quality policies and internal quality assurance systems in order to guarantee the achievement of the training objectives of the Doctoral Programme.

The URL’s Academic and Teaching Quality and Innovation Unit (UQIAD-URL), based on networking with the quality units/areas of the centres and faculties, promotes, coordinates and reviews the evaluation processes of the academic and teaching environment in order to contribute to guaranteeing the quality standards and excellence of our University.

Quantitative indicators

The main quantitative indicators for monitoring the operational development of the Bioengineering PhD Programme are shown in the following tables:

More information

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