PhD Programmes

  • PhD Programme in Natural Resources Engineering

    General Information

    Number of places: 20

    Languages: Spanish and English

    • José Luis Rodríguez Gallego

    Academic Comission

    • Celestino Ordóñez Galán
    • Marcos Barrio Anta
    • Fernando López Gayarre
    • Juan María Menéndez Aguado
    • José Luis Rodríguez Gallego

    The PhD Programme in Natural Resources Engineering (DIRENA) is based on the interdisciplinary field of Natural Resources and on the technological tools for its sustainable use. DIRENA is coherent with the R&D strategy of the University of Oviedo, one of whose main axes is the Cluster of Energy, Environment and Climate Change. DIRENA is a joint initiative of the EPM (Polytechnic School of Mieres), the INDUROT (Institute of Natural Resources and Territorial Planning), and the scientific and technological network for research in Natural Resources located in the Mieres campus.

    The main is to instruct PhDs in the application of scientific knowledge to the development of technologies, programs and projects for the sustainable use, management and conservation of natural resources. This includes the territory as a whole and among others, water, mining, energy, forestry and agricultural resources, as well as the anthropic impact on all of them and the biosphere. This compendium covers the fields of engineering studies such as civil, mining, forestry or geomatics and others of similar nature, but also experimental sciences such as geology, biology or chemistry.

    The program will address cross-cutting issues, such as the depletion of non-renewable resources or land contamination, or paradigms such as the circular economy or the mitigation of natural risks. For all this, interdisciplinary contributions are required that involve collaboration between the scientific world, industry and public institutions. It is therefore intended a very clear nuance of applied research. Likewise, a projection is envisaged in the European Union and in Latin America, as demonstrated by the international projects developed by the groups promoting the program, and the participation of external lecturers at the University of Oviedo.

    Related Documents

    Access and Admission

    Access Profile:

    As this is a broad-spectrum PhD Programme, different access profiles can be presented linked to the two research lines of the program and that do not require complementary formation:

    • Sustainable management of natural resources: Graduates in engineering and science with a postgraduate degree in fields related to natural resources.
    • Geoenvironmental and civil engineering: Graduates in engineering with a postgraduate degree in fields related to natural resources or civil engineering.

    Specifically, for those candidates trained at the University of Oviedo, the usual access routes will be the Master's Degree in Roads, Canals and Ports Engineering, or Geotechnology and GIS projects taught at the Mieres Campus. The program is also suitable for graduates with master's degrees in Project Management, Industrial Engineering, Mining Engineering, Energy Engineering and Chemical Engineering on the one hand (engineering), and on the other (applied sciences) graduates with a Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Environment and Health (environmental module), Applied Biotechnology for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Plant Resources, Territorial Resources and Management Strategies, Modeling and Mathematical Research & Statistics and Computing, Geological Resources and Geological Engineering, and all those who have Master's degree taught at the University of Oviedo (or equivalent in another University) in the same subject areas until the moment of admission.

    Access from other areas (Social and Legal Sciences, Health Sciences, Engineering or Science without master's degree related to natural resources or civil engineering, or any other case) will generally require complementary formation.

    In addition, candidates from other master's degrees from other national or foreign institutions whose subjects fit in with the topics of DIRENA will be taken into consideration in equal conditions, and may justify a previous degree qualification that falls within the scope of the knowledges already mentioned.

    Criteria for Admissions:

    Once verified that the criteria and general admission requirements of the University of Oviedo are met, the Academic Committee of the Doctoral Program will be responsible for making the selection according to the quota established and meeting the specific criteria of DIRENA. The following admission criteria (up to 12 points maximum) will be considered:

    1. The suitability of the undergraduate and postgraduate studies will be assessed, as well as the academic record of the candidate. The Academic Committee may pay special attention to the courses taken and qualifications obtained in fields related to the areas of specialization of DIRENA (maximum 7 points). Students who have completed the Official Master's programs in Road, Canal and Port Engineering or Geotechnology and GIS projects of the University of Oviedo or others similar in other universities, will receive a minimum of 4 points in this section.
    2. Scholarships or contracts in universities, research centers or companies, properly justified and documented, in which the applicant has developed, develops or will immediately develop research activity related to the topics of DIRENA will be taking into account (maximum 1 point).
    3. Accreditable research experience, appreciating participation in projects or contracts, the results of research such as patents, publications, presentations at conferences, and other merits. International indexed publications in direct relation with the areas of specialization of DIRENA will be evaluated with higher preference (maximum 1 point).
    4. Professional experience linked to the fields of research related to the areas of specialization of DIRENA (0.5 points per year of experience, up to a maximum of 1)
    5. Other merits of a transversal nature, such as language proficiency, specifically English, any other training received or imparted that is not valued in previous sections, the use of tools or knowledge of techniques that may be applicable during their doctoral studies. (Maximum rating 1 point).
    6. Letter of reference or expression of interest to direct the thesis made in favor of the candidate by one of the professors of the Doctorate Program or other professors or researchers of scientific-technical fields related to those included in DIRENA (Rating: 1 point).
    7. Finally, and only in case of a tie in the score obtained according to the above criteria, the selected candidates may be required to conduct an interview, in person or online, with at least two members of the Academic Committee. It will assess aspects related to the candidate's interest in DIRENA and those knowledge and / or skills that are not reflected in the CV whose content had been considered confusing.

    On the other hand, up to 20% of the places may be assigned to part-time students, although this percentage may be corrected, in order not to leave vacancies, depending on the number of pre-enrolled candidates.

    Complementary Formation:

    Depending on the previous formation of the candidates, it may be necessary to pass a series of training complements, which will consist of specific master's subjects, up to a maximum of 18 ECTS.

    Complementary formation can be set when a lack of adequacy of the PhD student is detected in any of the aspects considered relevant for the follow-up of DIRENA. In these cases, the necessary training complements according to each main research line will be carried out by studying some of the subjects offered in the Official Masters in Geotechnology and SIG projects (linked to line 1, Sustainable management of natural resources), and in Engineering of Roads, Canals and Ports (income linked to equipment / line 2, geoenvironmental&civil engineering) of the University of Oviedo).

    Welcome activities

    At the beginning of the academic year a conference will be organized for all the new students. The programme coordinator, together with other professors, will make a presentation of the research teams involved in the programme and the research work being carried out. If necessary, this information will be passed on in detail to students who are unable to attend the day.

    This day will also show doctoral students the most outstanding scientific equipment available in the different laboratories belonging to DIRENA, as well as the offer of equipment and essays available in the Scientific-Technical Services of the University of Oviedo, located in the Campus of Mieres, and a list of the existing services in other campus of the University. It will be also explained the training activities foreseen in the Programme, the possible existing funding lines for mobility and attendance at conferences, and any other relevant administrative or management aspects.


    Formative Activities


    • Cross-curricular formation
      Total Amount of Hours: 60

      Description of the Activity: This activity aims at working on the basic competences and working on the general capacities and skills of the PhD students.

      It is composed of seminars and the PhD Conferences. The Seminars will approach, among other topics, contents related to the dissemination and communication of research or the quality entry in the working world as specific formation in the topics related with more than one field of research. The PhD Conferences combine conferences, panels and participative sessions, as well as the showcase of "posters" that explain the contents of the theses and the advances of the research that is being conducted by the PhD Students.

      A detailed annual scheduled will be composed and made available at the website of the International Center for Postgraduate Studies (

      The goal is that the PhD students acquire, among others, the following learning results:

      • Searching for scientific information online.
      • Creating, presenting and publishing scientific information.
      • Creating and presenting a patent.
      • Knowing the basic principles of enterprise creation and self-employment.
      • Exchanging knowledge between PhD students.
      • Disseminating their research activity among the enterprises and the whole of the Asturian society.
      • Finding professional alternatives to the development of their university research career.
      • Highlighting their role as innovator to the enterprise.

      This activity is compulsory for all the PhD students of the University of Oviedo, who have to attend for a minimum of 60 hours during their formative period.

      Teaching languages will be Spanish and/or English.

      Monitoring Procedures: : An individualized control of attendance will be performed.

      When deemed necessary, the performance of the PhD student in these activities will be assessed with an essay or project whose precise specifications will be given to them by the people in charge of said formative activity.

      All these controls are part of the document of activities of the PhD student (DAD), which will be regularly revised by the Tutor and the Director of the Thesis, and evaluated by the Academic Committee in charge of the Programme.

      Mobility Actions:Not applicable

    • Seminars about natural resources and sustainability
      Total Amount of Hours: 15

      Description of the Activity: This activity consists of seminars aimed at doctoral students in any of the years of completion of the PhD. These seminars, of at least 5 hours (at least 3 hours each year), will address a topic of the programme, with the participation of local and external experts.

      Control procedure:

      Individual monitoring of attendance will be carried out.

      • The control will be part of the document of activities of the PhD (DAD) which will be regularly reviewed by the Tutor and the Director of thesis and evaluated by the Academic Commission.

      Mobility Actions: Not applicable

    • Dissemination of results: Publications
      Total Amount of Hours: 20

      Description of the Activity: With the publication of the results achieved, the PhD candidate will be able to put into practice his ability to expose and justify technical and scientific solutions and his ability to synthesize the information he must communicate by fitting it into the scientific literature. Prior to the presentation of the Doctoral Thesis (during the second or third year for full time students or between the second and fifth year for part time students), it should be achieved at least one communication accepted and personally presented at a congress and some of the following research results:

      • One article published (it is enough to have been accepted for publication) in a journal with impact index.
      • A second communication accepted in a Congress of special relevance within the field of research in which his work is framed, that has peer review and constitutes a publication as a book chapter.
      • One patent or registered software.

      In the case of congresses, for the financing of the activity, the existing possibilities will be presented. If no funding is obtained, the student will be exempted from the dissemination activity in congresses, being replaced by another of those mentioned above.

      Control procedure:

      Every year, the PhD student the student will give an account of the dissemination activities carried out. The members of the Commission may ask the doctorate any questions they deem appropriate with the fundamental aim of determining whether the student has acquired the specific competences of this activity. The supporting documentation shall be submitted to the Academic Commission.

      Prior to the defense of the doctoral thesis, the Academic Commission will verify that the student meets the required dissemination requirements, which must also be appropriately registered in the document of activities of the PhD (DAD)

      Mobility Actions:

      In addition to the possible sources of funding reported by the Academic Commission of the Doctoral Programme, the University of Oviedo website will provide updated information on calls for assistance for congresses/travel bags, etc., to which doctoral students can opt to meet the established dissemination objectives.

    • Short research stays
      Total Amount of Hours: 75

      Description of the Activity: The stays of more than three months in other research centers are an important activity in the formation of PhD students, so they are highly recommended. However, the funding needs involved and the unavailability of scholarships or contracts for many students may not always make them feasible. For this reason, it is possible for the student to make at least a shorter stay (of at least 75 working hours). Accordingly, the doctoral degree must complete at least one of these actions:

      • Stays longer than three months in relevant public or private research centers. Priority will be given to stays abroad, especially when these are focused on obtaining the European Doctorate. However, the Academic Commission may accept stays in national centres, provided that the choice is duly justified. Although it is not considered necessary, full time doctoral students shall ensure that the stay takes place during the second or maximum of the third year of doctoral studies.

        For doctoral students whose scholarships or contracts provide assistance for this type of placement (FPI or FPU contracts, etc.), it shall be compulsory to attend at least once for these calls.

      • In cases where the student does not have specific funding for a stay, it may be replaced by shorter stays of at least 75 working hours in research centres, companies and even administrations. The objective will also be of a scientific nature linked to the PhD, but will also be validated the acquisition of certain skills in the handling of techniques, software and equipment that can be fundamental for the accomplishment of the PhD scopes, as well as for essaying equipment, field and laboratory work, etc. Full time doctoral students will try to do this during the second year of doctoral studies. For part time doctoral students, these stays will take place from the third year of doctoral studies.

      Control procedure:

      Once the activity is completed, the doctoral student will send the corresponding documentation to the Academic Commission (details of the stay, certificate of the activities carried out, etc.). The documentation shall include a report from the tutor of the company or center where the stay was made; for this purpose a template document from the Academic Commission will be provided. In the case of students whose grants or contracts offer mobility grants, the doctoral student must attend at least once to the official calls. Only if the funding is refused the second option mentioned in the previous paragraph (75 hours stay) will be accepted.

      In these cases, the doctoral student shall forward both the application document and the reply with the refusal to the Academic Commission.

      Mobility actions:

      The necessary funding may come from specific grants for the mobility of research staff from public bodies or from the university itself, as well as from the research group in which the doctoral student develops his thesis.

      In the case of part time doctoral students employed in companies, it would be desirable for the company or entity to which it belongs to contribute to the costs of mobility.

    Lines of Research


    International Graduate Center

    Riego Square, s/n, 33003- Oviedo / South Classroom Building. Gijón Campus, 33203- Gijón
    Phone number:
    985 10 49 75 / 985 10 49 76 / 985 18 22 33
    • José Luis Rodríguez Gallego