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Joint PhD Program in Data Science

(in collaboration with Scuola Normale Superiore, Sant’Anna School, University of Pisa and National Research Council)

The Program

The PhD in Data Science is aimed at educating the new generation of researchers that combine their disciplinary competences with those of a “data scientist”, able to exploit data and models for advancing knowledge in their own disciplines, or across diverse disciplines. To this purpose, the PhD in Data Science develops a mix of knowledge and skills on the methods and technologies for the management of large, heterogeneous and complex data, for data sensing (how to harvest data), for data analysis and mining (how to make sense of data), for data visualization and storytelling (how to narrate data), for understanding the ethical issues and the social impact of Data Science. The PhD students will have the opportunity of developing data science projects in a variety of domains, including:

  • Data science for society and policy
  • Data science for economics and finance
  • Data science for culture and the humanities
  • Data science for industry and manufacturing
  • Data science for biology and health
  • Data science for the hard and environmental sciences
  • Data science ethics and legal aspects
  • Data science techniques and methods

The PhD leverages the critical mass of data science labs and researchers accumulated in Pisa since early 2000’s, across the University of Pisa, the ISTI and IIT institutes of the CNR (National Research Council), Scuola Normale Superiore, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca. These labs gave rise to pioneering European projects in big data analytics and data science, as well as to the earliest educational programs for data scientists at graduate and PhD level. In 2015, the European Commission has chosen this hub as the coordinator of the European Research Infrastructure for Big Data Analytics & Social Mining, SoBigData  This initiative provides an ecosystem of data, analytics and competences to support inter-disciplinary open data science and data-driven innovation, within an ethical framework of transparency, privacy, and responsibility. SoBigData provides a unique platform for doctoral education in Data Science, recognized by the Ministry of Education, University and Research  [1], where PhD students can carry out multi-disciplinary data-driven research.

The IMT School Representative for the Program is Prof. Rocco De Nicola.

  [1] Rapporto MIUR BigData,  pag. 33

For further information, please visit the  Program's website.

Teaching Activity

Teaching is articulated in two lines: alignment of data science skills, to create a common ground for students with diverse background, and applications of data science in disciplinary and multi-disciplinary contexts. For alignment, PhD students will have the opportunity to take selected courses offered by the post-graduate Master in “Big Data Analytics and Social Mining” (Master Big Data) of the University of Pisa, in collaboration with CNR, Scuola Normale Superiore, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and Available courses cover the basics of Data Science and Big Data Analytics:

  • Big Data Sensing & Procurement (Analytical Web Crawling, Scraping, Web Search and Information Retrieval, Semantic Text Annotation, Big Data Sources, Crowdsensing)
  • Big Data Mining (Data Mining, Machine Learning and Statistical Learning, Network Science and Social Network Analysis, Mobility Data Analysis, Web Mining, Nowcasting, Sentiment Analysis and Opinion Mining)
  • Big Data Storytelling (Visualization, Visual analytics, Data Journalism)
  • Big Data Ethics (Privacy-by-design, Data Protection Regulations, Responsible Data Science, Legal aspects of Data Science)
  • Big Data Technologies (Data Management for Business Intelligence, High Performance & Scalable Analytics, NO-SQL Big Data Platforms).

A wide variety of PhD courses focusing on the multi-disciplinary applications of data science are offered by the participating institutions, also in synergy with existing disciplinary PhD programs. Students also have the opportunity to participate in summer schools organized in collaboration with international research institutions, and to the PhD+ program of the University of Pisa, for the development of entrepreneurial and innovation skills.

For further information, please visit the  Program's website.

The PhD Board

Dino Pedreschi (PhD Program Coordinator), University of Pisa
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Northeastern University, Boston, USA
Vincenzo Barone, Scuola Normale Superiore
Roberta Bracciale, University of Pisa
Chiara Cappelli, Scuola Normale Superiore
Alessandro Cellerino, Scuola Normale Superiore
Francesca Chiaromonte, Sant’Anna school of Advanced Studies
Giulio Cimini, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca
Marco Conti, National Research Council (CNR)
Tommaso Cucinotta, Sant’Anna school of Advanced Studies
Giuseppe De Pietro, National Research Council (CNR)
Fabio Gadducci, University of Pisa
Diego Garlaschelli, IMT School for Advanced Studies
Fosca Giannotti, National Research Council (CNR)
János Kertész, Central European University, Budapest
Fabrizio Lillo, Università di Bologna
Pietro Luigi Lopalco, University of Pisa
Francesco Marcelloni, University of Pisa
Stan Matwin, Dalhousie University, Halifax, CDN
Anna Monreale, University of Pisa
Elena Pavan, Scuola Normale Superiore
Alex “Sandy” Pentland, MIT, USA
Raffaele Perego, National Research Council (CNR)
Andrea Piccaluga, Sant’Anna school of Advanced Studies
Nadia Pisanti, University of Pisa
Monica Pratesi, University of Pisa
Chiara Maria Angela Roda, University of Pisa
Salvatore Ruggieri, University of Pisa
Tiziano Squartini, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca
Franco Turini, University of Pisa

Call for applications

Details on upcoming and past calls for applications are available on the Program's website.