PhD Program


The Doctoral program of the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) hosts students interested in the areas of plant biology and biotechnology, and plant and farm animal genomics and genetics.

The program welcomes applications from motivated national and international students: it is open to students from all countries. PhD students are integrated into any one of the Research Groups at CRAG. Research Groups are organized into four Scientific Programs: Plant Development and Signal Transduction, Plant Responses to Stress, Plant Metabolism and Metabolic Engineering, and Plant and Animal Genomics. PhD students work under the supervision and guidance of a CRAG Group Leader or Researcher for the development of a research project leading to a doctoral dissertation.

As a research institute, CRAG does not grant PhD titles; rather, two of the institutions that form part of the CRAG consortium (University of Barcelona (UB), and Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)) award PhD degrees for experimental work carried out at CRAG. In addition, CRAG can establish associations with other Universities.


There are about 60 students from about 20 different countries worldwide who are currently working on a full doctoral research project at CRAG.

Students working at CRAG will find:

  • Enthusiastic students interested in modern, multidisciplinary plant and farm animal sciences, encompassing experimental, bioinformatic and theoretical approaches.
  • Scientists who do cutting-edge research with advanced facilities.
  • An enhanced doctoral training and support program.
  • A lively international scientific environment close to Barcelona.


If you wish to do research for a full doctorate at CRAG through its four-year PhD program, there are different possibilities of how you can join us.

  • You apply for a project offered by one of our Research Groups.
  • You apply for our International CRAG “Severo Ochoa” PhD program (CRAG SO PhD). To apply for this program, please look out for our yearly application call.
  • You apply for your own funding, for example from your home country or some grant-giving institutions.

In all cases, it will be important that you inform yourself about the research that we do to see if your interests fit with our research areas and questions. Information about our Center and Research Groups can be found if you explore the links in the navigation panel on upper part this page.

Each year, the International CRAG SO PhD Program has a series of available projects, indicated in the corresponding call. If you would like to apply outside the CRAG SO PhD Program, have a regular look at our Job Offers.   Projects that are offered by our Research Groups are advertised there.

Even if there are no doctoral positions on offer, you can send us your application. If interested in pursuing a PhD degree at CRAG, please contact:

clearly describing your research background and interests and naming the research groups you would like to work with; or you may contact directly a group leader of your choice.


CRAG supports, and collaborates with, all the activities carried out by the different PhD Schools to which CRAG students may be affiliated (UB, UAB, etc.). In addition, to ensure the comprehensive education, training, and supervision of all CRAG students (independently of their PhD School of affiliation), the PhD program at CRAG includes the following activities and requirements:

  • Graduate students carry out their doctoral research in one of our Research Groups, under the guidance and supervision of a group leader or researcher.
  • All graduate students are supervised by a Thesis Advisory Committee. The Thesis Advisory Committee is an independent panel that follows the progress of the work and provides advice and guidance. The Thesis Advisory Committee is obligatory for all students and years. If the PhD School to which the student is affiliated to does not provide for a suitable Committee, CRAG provides one.
  • In addition to her/his Thesis Director, each PhD student at CRAG has a PhD Mentor. The role of the Mentor is to assist and advice the student throughout the PhD program. The Mentor provides an external view from the PhD director, and can also help with issues for which the student may wish external guidance or assistance.
  • During the first year of their studies, students receive teaching on state-of-the art technologies offered by the Core Units and Scientific Services of CRAG, such as genomics and next generation sequencing, confocal microscopy, proteomics and metabolomics, and bioinformatics.
  • As an integral part of the PhD program, students should participate in the CRAG External Seminars (leading international scientists in the various fields represented at CRAG, or in other fields of interest, are invited to present and discuss their latest results and ideas in a series of seminars occurring weekly or bi-weekly).
  • Students also receive additional training on soft skills relevant for a scientific career, such as scientific writing, oral presentations, etc., and on transferable skills.
  • Students must give at least one seminar per year within their Scientific Program.
  • Students must give at least one CRAG general seminar during their PhD.
  • Students are expected to participate regularly in one of the existing Journal Clubs at CRAG.
  • Students are expected to attend and present their work at an international scientific meeting during their PhD.
  • Students are expected to actively participate in outreach activities involving CRAG (Fascination of Plants Day, Setmana de la Ciència, etc.).

Every year, our doctoral students organize the 'Annual Congress of Young Researchers (ACYR)' conference at CRAG.