What is an industrial doctorate?

An industrial doctorate aims to encourage companies to participate in doctoral programmes and promote knowledge transfer from universities to the socioeconomic environment by training young researchers.

Its backbone is the industrial doctorate project, that is, a company’s or institution’s strategic research project in which a doctoral candidate carries out research in conjunction with a university or a research centre and that will be the object of a doctoral thesis.

Screenshot from the industrial doctorate site of the Generalitat de Catalunya

What are the requirements for taking an industrial doctorate?

Doctoral degree certificates may include the Industrial Doctorate mention on the front if the following requirements are met:

  1. The thesis has developed a research project of industrial, business, social or cultural interest of an entity, public or private corporation or public administrative body. Universities, public research organizations (national or regional) and university hospitals are excluded. Exceptionally, studies could have been carried out in any of those institutions, except for universities, as long as the contents of the thesis are eminently applied. The direct connection between the doctoral thesis and the task carried out by the doctoral candidate at the entity or corporation must be formalized in a scientific-technical report, which must be approved by the University.
  2. The University and entity, corporation or public administrative body must have signed an agreement for the academical development of the doctoral thesis, which must at least specify the obligations of the parties and the industrial property rights that could be produced.
  3. The doctoral candidate must have been hired by the entity, corporation or public administrative body where they carry out the research project for at least a year during the thesis' development, and a considerable portion of the thesis must have been carried out there.

What do I need to know?

You may apply for an industrial doctorate within any of the UPC’s doctoral programmes and under the same conditions as a standard doctoral degree.

When you finish your thesis, if you meet all the requirements, you can apply for the Industrial Doctorate mention.

The doctoral candidate will have a thesis tutor assigned by the University and a supervisor assigned by the entity, corporation or public administrative body, who, if appropriate, may also be the candidate’s thesis supervisor in accordance with UPC's own regulations on doctoral studies.

For doctoral candidates who began their studies before the 2023–2024 academic year, it will be considered whether the Royal Decree 99/2011 requirements from before July 2023 (in which there was no minimum contract duration) may be applicable.


Who provides funding for an industrial doctorate?

Doctoral candidates are hired by entities, corporations or public administrative bodies. Their contract may be fully funded by their own resources or it may receive partial funding through public financial aid (for example, grants for training doctoral candidates in companies):

Industrial doctorates at the UPC today:

  • 299 projects funded (28% of the total funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya)
  • 268 UPC researchers who have supervised or are supervising theses
  • 230 companies involved
  • 136 doctoral theses defended