Objectives and research plan


The doctoral programme in Network Information Technologies has the following overall objectives:

  • Provide advanced training in research on Network and Information Technologies.
  • Facilitate, through the preparation and presentation of doctoral theses, original research initiatives that contribute to the body of knowledge for Network and Information Technologies.

Specifically, the programme qualifies students to:

  • Achieve a systematic understanding of the field of network and information technologies and mastery of the related skills and research methods.
  • Identify relevant research topics within a recognized research line and design a significant and feasible research project in the area of network and information technologies.
  • Perform a significant analysis of specialized publications in the field of network and information technologies involving critical inquiry into their approaches and findings.
  • Conceive of, design, implement and adopt a substantial research practice with academic rigour.

    Research in this field makes use of a variety of methodologies, including the design and creation of solutions for specific problems, mathematical proofs, surveys, experiments, case studies, action research and ethnographies. Each research line and doctoral thesis will use the most appropriate methodology.

  • Contribute to expanding the frontiers of knowledge through a substantial body of research, part of which merits publication in national or international refereed journals.

    Publications in prestigious journals and at conferences are one of the criteria that will be used to assess theses written for the doctoral programme. In this regard, students may also prepare doctoral theses consisting of a collection of articles, as provided for in the University's current academic regulations for doctoral studies.

  • Critically analyse, assess and synthesize new and complex ideas.

    In the field of network and information technologies, the synthesis of new ideas and design of solutions for open issues in the state of the art is one of the most common research approaches. Therefore, the ability to generate new ideas and solutions to solve such problems is a relevant skill in this doctoral programme.

  • Engage in specialized communication with colleagues, the academic community in general and society at large with regard to the area of network and information technologies in at least the languages most widely used by the international scientific community.

    It is very important for doctoral students to be able to communicate, in writing and orally, in English, the lingua franca of the international scientific community, both in journals and at international conferences in the field of network and information technologies. The admission requirements for the doctoral programme are designed to ensure that doctoral students have the necessary command of English to do this.

  • Adopt an attitude that promotes technological, social or cultural progress within a knowledge-based society in academic and professional contexts.

    Technological progress is one of the cornerstones of the specific field of this doctoral programme; however, that does not mean that some doctoral theses may not also help to bring about social or cultural progress too.

In addition to these basic skills, doctoral students must develop a set of personal skills and abilities, including, among others, the ability to:

  • Work effectively in contexts in which there is little specific information.
  • Identify the key questions to be answered to solve a complex problem.
  • Design, create, develop and undertake new and innovative projects in their field of knowledge.
  • Work both in teams and independently in an international and multidisciplinary context.
  • Integrate knowledge, cope with complexity and make judgments based on limited information.

  • Intellectually critique and defend solutions.

Research plan

The research plan is a document created by the doctoral candidate, with the endorsement of the director and advisor, following the criteria approved by the Academic Commission of the programme. This plan describes the original research project the doctoral candidate will undertake to obtain the doctoral degree.

Before the end of the first year, assuming successful completion of the training activity established in the academic itinerary for the same period, signing of the commitment letter for the doctoral programme and assignment of a thesis director, the doctoral candidate must request an evaluation of the research plan by the Academic Commission.

In this process, undertaken by the Academic Commission taking into account the document of activities and the reports received, the content of the research plan is evaluated and a decision regarding its approval is taken. The decision determines whether the doctoral candidate may remain in the doctoral programme. The corresponding Academic Commission annually evaluates the progress of the research plan and the document of activities based on the reports submitted. A favourable evaluation is a requirement for continuing in the programme.

The members of the thesis committee participate in the evaluation of the research plan and the yearly progress assessments of the activity of the doctoral candidate at the end of each academic year. Each member must submit the corresponding report for the Academic Commission supporting or opposing the doctoral candidate's request to continue in the doctoral programme. In these cases, and with respect to the evaluation of the research plan presented at the end of the first year, another PhD with accredited research experience designated by the Academic Commission shall also participate in the evaluation, along with the thesis committee, issuing the corresponding report on its proposal to approve or not the plan.

The activity document is a personal progress record, offering proof of the attainment of research skills. This document includes all the activities established for doctoral students' development and is regularly reviewed by their tutor and thesis supervisor, the Academic Committee and their Thesis Supervisory Committee.

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Teaching starting: September 2023