Doctoral Program

Program description & topics

The International Doctoral Program in Global Health, Humanitarian Aid, and Disaster Medicine is an interdisciplinary and international PhD designed and offered by the University of Piemonte Orientale (UPO), through the Center for Research and Training in Disaster Medicine, Humanitarian Aid and Global Health (CRIMEDIM).

Professors from all the departments of the University of Piemonte Orientale, together with experts and faculty members from all over the world will guide candidates in acquiring knowledge, skills, interest, and methodologies to carry out innovative research in the fields of global health, humanitarian aid or disaster medicine.

PhD candidates will perform their research activities in CRIMEDIM headquarters in Novara (Italy) or within other UPO departments or laboratories, under the supervision of professors or researchers of a relevant department and in strong cooperation with a young and motivated team of junior and senior researchers and PhD fellows.

The research studies can focus on different disciplines, but they must adhere to one of the three main themes: global health, humanitarian aid, or disaster medicine. A list of topics and supervisors will be published on this webpage in the month by the end of June. Applicants are encouraged to develop a research proposal adhering to one of the topics listed. Open applications are also possible for proposals that align with CRIMEDIM’s main research priorities.

We invite you to contact us at to discuss any proposals that you think can fit with our research activities.

Entry Requirements

Admission to the Doctoral Program is highly competitive: applicants must possess a very good academic record, previous research experience, and a keen interest in global health, humanitarian aid and/or disaster medicine research.

The minimum academic requirement for admission as a PhD student is to hold a Master’s degree. Candidates who did not graduate in an English-speaking country must provide evidence of their proficiency in English, which will be tested during the oral interview.


Monitoring and Evaluation in Disaster education: development and validation of a comprehensive package to assess disaster training

The field of disaster management training has developed exponentially in the past years. Nevertheless, at the moment, there is no validated monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework that can be systematically used to assess training programs in this field. This project aims to develop, pilot, and validate an M&E package that includes specific indicators for disaster-related training and educational programs. The M&E package is expected to be practical, scalable, and flexible, as well as able to encompass different educational methodologies employed in the disaster management field.

Utilization of healthcare by vulnerable population during disasters: exploring trends and devising strategies fot reducing health inequalities

Considerable improvements are still needed to adequately protect vulnerable populations from the negative impact of disasters. This project aims to unravel different layers of inequality, by examining emergency department data and by complementing them with other health-related data collected by non-governmental organizations providing healthcare during disasters. Qualitative data deepening the understanding of the social determinants of health can be collected to enrich quantitative findings. Results will inform pragmatic strategies and interventions targeting health inequalities during disasters.

Impact of Ukrainian population forced migration on multi drug resistand tuberculosis epidemiology in europe

The Ukrainian conflict has led to the massive displacement of the Ukrainian population in Europe. Ukraine is one of the countries with the highest rates of Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) reported, with 27% of all new diagnosed TB cases in 2019 being MDR. With more than 3 million refugees currently displaced, including TB patients unable to correctly adhere to the long, and not free of side effects, TB treatment, a major increase in cases and in the occurrence of MDR-TB is expected. This project aims to evaluate the impact of the displacement of Ukrainian refugees towards Europe on the epidemiology of MDR-TB through the review of national and international database and the participation in the activities of screening that several countries are currently implementing. Moreover, we intend to investigate the role of digital adherence technology in the monitoring of therapy adherence in displaced populations.

Hospital safety index: measuring the impact of the index as a tool enhancing hospital disaster prepardness

The Hospital Safety Index (HSI), designed to assess the safety of hospitals, was applied several times in many countries to assess the level of preparedness of hospitals, but there is no literature on the impact of the tool in enhancing hospital disaster preparedness. With an experimental design, this project aims at evaluating the benefits behind the use of the HSI as a self-assessment tool, and to understand its impact on hospital disaster preparedness.

epidemiological, legal, clinical and forensic aspects in the management of violence against migrants

In the literature, there is a lack of common guidelines regarding the legal and health (clinical and forensic) management of migrants. On top of that, discrimination, gender inequalities and exclusion from health, legal and social services emerge as negative health influences for migrants. Thus, one of the main goals of this project is the formulation of recommendations/guidelines to be adopted by the countries most affected by the phenomenon of migration.

cultural context and effectiveness of interventions in the aftermath of disasters

The proposal aims to investigate the relationships between the cultural context and the effectiveness of interventions in the aftermath of disasters. In light of recent emergencies (wars, pandemics, extreme events due to climate change) it would be interesting to understand whether the interventions in support of the affected populations have been more effective according to the population's ability to interact with helpers (and with each other), which in turn could depend on social and/or human capital at the local level. Moreover, learning from this interaction would be extremely important to be able to face similar situations in the future with greater autonomy.

Development of multifunctional solids for the protection, detection, and decontamination from hazardous Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) agents during disasters and armed conflicts

The aim of this project is to develop innovative materials for the in situ detection of chemical and/or biological hazardous agents and their decontamination and abatement with environmentally-sustainable approaches in disasters and conflict settings. The materials should also find applications in personal protective equipment suits for professionals, first responders and humanitarian workers working in potentially CBRN contaminated environments.

Scholarship & Fee

UPO offers four scholarships of 1.195 € per month to the candidates who received the highest score in the selection process. The scholarships are meant to cover research and living costs for the whole duration of the PhD (3 years).

The tuition fee is 350 € per year for candidates holding a scholarship and 140 € for candidates without a scholarship.