Space is becoming an increasingly important resource both for facing new scientific and technological challenges and for its applications in different fields of modern society.
The “Cosmology, Space Science & Space Technology” PhD program aims to become part of an international framework in which it is necessary to develop cutting-edge scientific and technological skills. In this context, “Cosmology” can be understood as the unifying aspect of Space Science and Technology, declined in all their meanings, not least the philosophical one of why the human being is interested in Space. As such, “Cosmology” in the title intends to reveal the effective cohesion action that this PhD proposes between the equally important areas of theoretical and applicative studies for Space, mentioned in the rest of the title. It is worth remembering that Giordano Bruno, the first “cosmologist” in the modern sense,  already imagined   this unified picture.

This PhD program intends to combine fundamental researches, such as those in astrophysics and cosmology, with applied research that has its place of realization  in Space. To this goal, the PhD aims to develop skills that involve multidisciplinary and complementary studies  in astronomy and astrophysics, fundamental physics and cosmology, aerospace and aerodynamics engineering, material science for extraterrestrial environments, extraterrestrial telecommunications, applied mathematics for celestial mechanics and monitoring of the Earth.
After a first year dedicated to develop   a common knowledge, the research of the PhD students will focus on the following pillars: cosmology and astrophysics, space instrumentation, astroparticle physics, microgravity and fluid physics, remote sensing, general relativity, multi-messenger astronomy,  planetary exploration, celestial mechanics, swarms and formation in flight, propulsion and re-enter, maintenance in orbit, detection and removal of debris, material science in extraterrestrial environment.

In line with these premises, the PhD program in “Cosmology, Space Science & Space Technology”, in addition to offering a training  based on an interdisciplinary approach on space sciences and technologies, in their broadest sense, is also open to contributions of other disciplines such as, for example, Data Analysis, Computational Physics,  development of software and algorithms for space problems.

The project aims to enhance the skills already existing at the University of Naples “Federico II” (UniNA) in standard PhD programs in Physics, Engineering and Mathematics.

It intends to contribute to the internationalization of these programs both on a training level, through studies that go beyond national borders, and by initiating and consolidating collaborations with Italian and foreign academic and research institutions.
In this regard, the PhD program already  has collaboration agreements with national research institutes such as the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the National Council of Research (CNR) as well as with prestigious international and foreign institutions, such as the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), and others listed below. It is worth noticing that UniNA, in general, and many of its departments, in particular, already have framework agreements and bilateral agreements with these Italian and foreign research institutes.

Salvatore Capozziello
Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II

Duration of the PhD program: 4 years

Scholarships: every year SSM offers 6 positions for this PhD program. Each grant is 19,000 € per year. Other scholarships can be added according to bilateral agreements with other Academic and Research Institutions.

Each scholarship is supplemented by additional funds for research activities in Italy and abroad.


Salvatore Capozziello
Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II

Giovanni Amelino Camelia
Università di Napoli Federico II

Riccardo Bevilacqua
University of Florida

Salvatore Capozziello
Università di Napoli Federico II

Stefano Casertano
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimora

Luigi Colangeli
European Space Agency, Noordwijk

Massimo Della Valle
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Napoli

Adriano Fontana
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma

Raffaella Guida
University of Surrey

Michele Grassi
Università di Napoli Federico II

Shin’ichi Nojiri
Kobayashi-Maskawa Institute, University of Nagoya

Luca Lista
Università di Napoli Federico II

Pasqualino Maddalena
Università di Napoli Federico II

Gennaro Miele
Università di Napoli Federico II

Antonio Moccia
Università di Napoli Federico II

Fredric Monteverde

Giovanni Poggi
Università di Napoli Federico II

Daniele Riccio
Università di Napoli Federico II

Raffaele Savino
Università di Napoli Federico II

Alexey Starobinsky
Russian Academy of Science, Landau Institute, Moscow

Guglielmo Tino
Università di Firenze

Course Title Lecturer Hours
Introduction to General Relativity Salvatore Capozziello 24
Electromagnetic Fields Daniele Riccio 24
Quantum Mechanics Gennaro Miele 24
Statistical Mechanics Mario Nicodemi 24
Introduction to Cosmology Sabino Matarrese 24
Introduction to Deep learning and Theory of Information Giovanni Poggi 24
Spacecraft Attitude Control Riccardo Bevilacqua 24
Introduction to Astroparticle Physics Francesco Vissani 24
Introduction to Astropysics Massimo Della Valle 24
Course Title Lecturer Hours
Standard Model of Fundamental Interactions Francesco Sannino 12
Observational Cosmology Micol Benetti 12
Cosmic Distances Massimo Della Valle 12
Quasar as Cosmological Probes Guido Risaliti 12
Advanced Materials for Astrophysics Stefano Oscurato 12
Quanutm Fields in Curved Spaces Gaetano Lambiase 12
Relativistic Positioning Systems Lorenzo Fatibene 12
Precision Physics in Microgravity and Space Guglielmo Tino 12
Extended Gravity Salvatore Capozziello 12

Scientific Colloquia, organised at the School every Thursday at 14:00, from November to June, where students can meet and interact with with world renown experts in all the scientific areas of the School.

SPACE Seminars, a weekly series of internal seminars to discuss and update the research projects.

SPACE day, workshop organised by the school’s PhD students to discuss research activities in the SPACE area

Series of 7 Lectures on Gravitational Waves from Theory to Experiments: the Birth of a New Astronomy, organised by the School in the period 14-28 June 2021 (recordings available)

CosmoGrav, SSM cosmology group website

Instagram page

Einstein Telescope (ET) collaboration

Estate Quantistica 2022:International School on Gravity, Cosmology, and Mathematical Physics” Scalea, Italy, June 13-17, 2022 (External Link)

Metric-Affine Frameworks for Gravity 2022” Tartu, Estonia, June 27 – July 13, 2022 (External Link)

Conference on Mathematical Physics: “XXI Geometrical Seminar” Belgrade, Serbia, June 26 – July 2, 2022 (External Link)

Institute of Space Sciences Summer School “Modified gravities, inflation and primordial perturbations: theory and computing” Barcelona, Spain, July 4 -15, 2022 (External Link)

Congresso Nazionale Oggetti Compatti” (CNOC XII) Cefalù, Italy, September 27-30, 2022 (External Link)

CORFU2022: “22nd Hellenic School and Workshops on Elementary Particle Physics and Gravity” Corfù, Greece, August 28 – October 01, 2022 (External Link)

SIGRAV 2021 PhD School: “Gravity of Compact Astrophysical Objects and Gravitational Waves” Vietri Sul Mare, Italy, February 01-05, 2021 (External_Link)

SIGRAV 2022 PhD School: “Cosmology: from theory to observations” Vietri Sul Mare, Italy, February 14 – 18, 2022 (External_Link)

Admission to the PhD program takes place through a competition for qualifications, presentation letters, research project and interview. Those who have a master’s degree or equivalent qualification, obtained in Italy or abroad,  can participate in the competition.

The selection  takes place through the evaluation of candidate’s qualifications  and  presented research program, as well as an interview in English. Among all applicants, a short list will be selected for the interview.

The number of  available positions is established each year by the competent bodies of the SSM and indicated in the competition  notice.

The training activity develops over a four-year course in order to allow continuous contacts between teaching staff and PhD students. The teaching activity is more concentrated in the first year, while, in the following three years, the PhD students are committed to develop research and periodically to account for its progress, both in individual interviews and in periodic seminar meetings.

The teaching activity of the first year is structured on the basis of compulsory courses with final verification (“pillar” courses) for a total of 24 CFU (a CFU, credito formativo universitario, the credit,  consists of 6 hours of frontal teaching + 18 hours of individual study or, alternatively, of 24 hours of study, research work, seminar activity).

These courses are needed to develop a common language and skills among students coming, generally, from different study itinenaries. They must be chosen in the following table of the  educational  offer. These courses can be improved by monographic courses (at least for 6 credits) which will be indicated  by the PhD Board. Some of them are shown in the table below.

The training can be completed with courses borrowed with other SSM PhD programs, with courses held in UniNA and in other Italian or foreign academic and research institutes, with specific PhD schools, with participation in national and international conferences or workshops, subject to the approval by the Coordinator and / or the PhD Board.
The total amount of credits, for each student, must be 240 CFU to be achieved in the four years of the PhD.

 There are also seminar activities during which students have to be able to discuss specific aspects of doctoral work, lectures held by invitation from teachers outside the PhD  board and activities of scientific training and management.

The admission  to the second year is decided on the basis of the presentation of a detailed research project including a three-year work plan and an activity report discussed in an interview in which at least three members of the Board have to participate for each PhD student.  

The admission from the second to the third year  takes place on the basis of the discussion and approval of an indicative but detailed outline of the thesis, which the PhD student proposes to elaborate, and the possible discussion of the articles submitted or published.

The admission from the third to the fourth year will take place on the basis of the presentation and discussion, and therefore of the approval by the supervisor, of the thesis which will be  finalized during the fourth year.

The teaching activity of the first year is spread over two quarter terms: November-January and March-May.

The teaching and training activity (for a total of 80 CFU + 160 CFU for the thesis) must have an advanced character. Participation in seminars, workshops and research groups is widely favored and encouraged. The training activity is organized as follows

1st year: attendance of all PILLAR (4 CFU) and monographic (2 CFU) courses in the SPACE area. Attainment of at least 24 CFU in the PILLAR courses of SPACE and 36 CFU among all SSM PhD courses offered is required. Active participation in conferences and seminars organised by SSM or other universities (10 CFU) and preparation of the articulated research project for the passage to the 2nd year of the course (14 CFU) are also recognised – Tot. 60 CFU.

2nd year: active participation in conferences and workshops organized by the SSM or by other universities and research institutions (6 credits); a 2-days mini-workshop of the PhD Program (6 CFU) – research work in preparation for the thesis (48 credits) Tot. 60 CFU.

III year: Seminars for the presentation of ongoing research in the presence of the tutors and the PhD Board and active participation in conferences and workshops (6 credits); thesis research work (48 CFU) –Tot. 60 CFU;

IV year: completion and writing of the thesis (60 CFU).

The research and teaching topics are the following:

  • Theoretical and observational cosmology
  • Physics of Elementary Particles in Astrophysics and Cosmology
  • General Relativity and Relativistic Astrophysics
  • Applied Mathematics to Celestial Mechanics and Positioning Systems
  • Multi-messenger Astronomy
  • Development of technologies and devices for space exploration
  • Development of innovative materials for extraterrestrial environments, launch and   re-enter
  • Data Analysis techniques in space science, astrophysics and cosmology
  • Microgravity and Fluid Physics
  • Remote Sensing and related applications
  • Planetary Exploration
  • Aerothermodynamics
  • Aerospace propulsion and re-enter
  • Space Systems
  • Swarms and formation flying
  • On-orbit servicing
  • Debris detection and removal

The research activity is carried out by each PhD student under the supervision of a thesis director chosen  among the members of the PhD Board.
The thesis directors (or supervisors) are required to confirm, in the annual report sent to the Coordinator, the data relating to the training and research activities declared by each PhD student.

The fulfillment of  each PhD student obligations is approved by the PhD Board when evaluating the annual report on the activity carried out.
The thesis director, designated by the PhD Board, can be supported by  a second thesis director chosen both inside or outside the PhD Board.

The PhD in “Cosmology, Space Science and Space Technology” is an innovative PhD program with an international and interdisciplinary characterization. The aim is  attracting the best students and  involving outstanding international experts in the teaching  activity inside and outside the PhD Board.

It is mandatory, for each PhD student, to spend at least one year (even divided into several quarters or semesters) in foreign universities and research institutions.
The languages of the PhD are Italian and English. Courses and seminars may be held in both languages.

Italian language courses for foreigners, as well as English, French, German, Spanish courses are available at the UniNA

SSM organizes transversal training activities for  the research management in relation to the methods of obtaining research funding. Meetings are  also  organized on the drafting of research projects with ERC, FIRB and Fellowship winners.

SSM organizes transversal activities for PhD courses on the main IT systems.
In addition, computer skills will be the subject of courses and seminars dedicated to sources and methodology. SSM will  be equipped  with a Computer Center.

The PhD program provides and promotes a wide mobility of teachers and students, also stimulated by the scientific collaborations of the Board members with several foreign institutions. In particular:

  1. European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneve (Switzerland)
  2. European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk (Netherlands)
  3. Gravitation AstroParticle Physics Amsterdam GRAPPA (Netherlands)
  4. Institute for Space Physics – ICREA, Barcellona (Spain)
  5. Kobayashi‐Maskawa Institute, Nagoya (Japan)
  6. Joint Institute for Nuclear Research JINR, Dubna (Russia)
  7. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimora (USA)
  8. Departamento de Fisica Teorica, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain)
  9. Fudan University, Shangai (China)
  10. Kazan Federal University, Kazan (Russia)
  11. Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, Moscow State University (Russia)
  12. Institute for Astrophyscs, Harvard University (USA)
  13. Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida (USA)
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