Recent history and current status

The School of Biology of the University of Seville, given its long tradition in research and doctoral training, offers a PhD Programme in Integrative Biology. This PhD Programme brings together the experience of former extinct programmes, and that of consolidated research teams. It also relies on the collaboration of centres and researchers from other public research bodies who traditionally put their efforts on doctoral training through the School of Biology. Moreover, we count with the individual participation other national and international researchers who have an important history of collaboration with the School.

Based on the recent history of the School of Biology, we foresee a higher demand than the average in former times. The extinction of many small former doctoral programmes provoked a decrease of the number of PhD students in recent times. We foresee that by offering a comprehensive and multidisciplinary programme, with a high offer in terms of material and human resources we can accept up to 45 applications for enrolment each year.

Integrative Biology: A multidisciplinary approach, at several scales, to the complexity of the biological systems.

The study of complex biological systems is more efficiently undertaken by incorporating multiple perspectives. Solutions to critical problems of modern Biology and their application to pending questions for the society are better approached from different albeit complementary point of views and methods, which otherwise are recalcitrant to approaches from isolated scientific fields (e.g., future effects of global changes, non-additive effects of environmental factors on the response of organisms, evolution of mechanisms of resistance/resilience, prediction and control of environmental risks, functioning of complex infra- and supra-organismic networks, etc.). On the other hand,  some intrinsic characteristics of biological systems are (1) vertical organization, in nested hierarchical levels, and (2) presence of interactions between subjects at the same organization level,  and its understanding is not reached with a strict reductionist logics, and this implies a transversal component of biological systems. Lastly, (3) separation of scientific fields of biological disciplines suffers long ago and increasingly from lack of suitable tools within each discipline. Frequently, it is necessary to use tools typical to other fields to solve challenges, hence division in isolated parts is no longer a common use in the daily scientific work. Thus, methods from Molecular Biology are commonly used to solve questions of Systematics, or to understands ecological relationships between organisms. opposite, ecological methods are increasingly necessary to evaluate consequences of GMO release to the wild. These and other examples illustrate how transversal are biological scientific fields currently. For this reason, joint work by leading research groups  in different Biological and non-Biological fields, allows for a qualitative leap in results to be reached.

PhD programme at the School of Biology and other centres

The PhD program in Integrative Biology at the University of Seville is offered by the School of Biology as a promoter, with support from other centres and institutes (just to to sum up 116 professors and researchers currently):

·      Higher Technical School of Agronomy at the University of Seville

·      Doñana Biological Station (“Estación Biológica de Doñana-CSIC” at Seville)

·      Institute for Natural Resources and Agrobiology, Seville (IRNAS-CSIC)

·      Institute for Research and Agriculture and Fisheries Training  (IFAPA), center of “Las Torres-Tomejil, Seville

·      “Instituto de la Grasa” (Fat Institute-CSIC, Seville)

The School of Biology

Since its foundation, the School of Biology of the University of Seville has been a reference in biological research and training in Spain, with special focus on doctoral studies. Some of the professors won relevant international and national prices, and research groups are regularly funded with competitive  grants and technical reports and projects, which render a high scientific productivity in the best journals. As an example, some of the achievements in the period just before launching the PhD programme (2006-2010) are*:

·      General funds by University of Seville and Regional Government of Andalusia research plans: 1.2M€

·      Competitive grants from Regional, National and International research agencies: 27.5€

·      Technical projects hired by private and public companies: 6.2M€

·      JCR-ISI papers: 757

·      PhD Dissertations: 132 (26.4/yr)

·      Postdoct competitive positions (“Ramón y Cajal”, “Juan de la Cierva”, and similar): 25

Since foundation of the School, until 2010, bibliometric results are:

·      Papers: 4612

·      Citation, excluding own cites: 65134

·      Average cites/paper: 16,1

·      h index : 92

* Data source: Web of Science (https://www.accesowok.fecyt.es)