PhD studies in aquaculture provide research training and accreditation on the challenges of aquaculture development in all its aspects, from a standpoint of sustainability and with a mastery of multidisciplinary and advanced techniques. Society needs research professionals with a clear vision of the need for R+D+I in order for aquaculture to develop in a sustainable way.

The aquaculture sector is developing within a strategic framework of growth in global demand for food of aquatic origin that cannot be satisfied by extractive fishing, making aquaculture the best alternative for meeting this demand in the future. Aquaculture already accounts for around 50% of world fishery production, thus making an important contribution to food safety.

Furthermore, aquaculture can also serve other purposes, such as leisure activities (large aquariums, aquariology, sport fishing, etc.), obtaining raw materials for industrial use (pharmaceutical products, foods, fuel, etc.) or environmental protection (repopulation, biological purification, etc.). The diversity of species, farming systems, locations and purposes creates a need for knowledge from across many disciplines and to a high degree of specialisation.

Aquaculture continues to be a growth sector, one that is necessary to maintain fish supplies in the coming decades. In the nearest area of influence, one of Catalonia's strengths, as well as that of primary production, is its aquaculture-related industries (vaccines, quality control, etc.), in which it can exploit its technological potential. But Catalonia's main strength lies in the generation of knowledge and innovation.

In this respect, Catalan research work in aquaculture is organised within the XRAq network (Reference Network for Research and Development in Aquaculture). The XRAq is made up of the research groups from the two universities that launched it, together with the IRTA (Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology) and the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council). This wide and well-established network for research into various areas of aquaculture gives the PhD programme a great capacity for training researchers.

Improving competitiveness in aquaculture in Spain and in Catalonia requires specialised, multidisciplinary and innovative training.

Candidate profile

In general terms, to gain admission to the PhD programme in Aquaculture, applicants must hold the official Spanish bachelor's degree or equivalent, on a degree related to life sciences, health sciences, agricultural engineering or similar. Also, he must have a master's degree in aquaculture or a similar master issued by a higher education institution of the EHEA for studies of the same duration as the master's degree.

The recommended entry profile is that of a student with initial research experience and solid knowledge of the basic concepts and tools in any of the aquaculture fields.


Professional opportunities

This PhD programme provides the following principal career options:

  • Research in R&D departments in the public or private sector in the areas of:
    • aquaculture production,
    • feed production for aquatic organisms,
    • pharmaceutical industry (medicines and vaccines for aquatic organisms),
    • quality control and processing of fishery products.
  • Creation of companies and consultancies related to aquaculture.
  • Management of installations for aquaculture production or aquariology.
  • Project execution, including international cooperation.
  • Training.
  • Administration: work related to different areas of aquaculture, such as animal health or management of resources and the environment.

Objectives and justification

Improving competitiveness in aquaculture in Spain and in Catalonia requires specialised, multidisciplinary and innovative training. This is the basic tenet of the PhD programme in Aquaculture, through which the university offers advanced training in aquaculture in order to help develop the sector.

This PhD programme offers training that can meet the needs for research and development of both the primary sector and associated services, thanks to the complementary nature of the research areas of both universities.

The purpose of the PhD programme in Aquaculture is to train up researchers in aquaculture who are able to conduct and lead research and innovation in research  departments in both the private sector (improvements in production of aquatic organisms, production of feeds, medicines and vaccines, etc.) and the public sector (national and international projects and experimentation).

The programme aims to provide its students with the  tools they need to conduct research in Aquaculture as  they work on the doctoral theses they will eventually present and defend.


Lluís Tort Bardolet

Composition of the academic tribunal for the PhD programme

  • The two coordinators of the PhD programme (from both universities, UAB and UB).
  • One professor from each department participating in the PhD programme (rotating composition every three years among the participating universities).



Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology
Faculty of Biosciences
Building C - Office C1/023
Phone numbers: +34 93 581 2618 / +34 93 581 3786



This PhD programme has been awarded the Favorable Accreditation seal by the Catalan Quality Agency (AQU). To obtain this accreditation, the following items have been assessed: quality of the training programme, relevance of public information, teaching staff, learning support systems, quality of the results of the training programme and the SGIQ. You can consult more information in the 'Quality' section of this page.

Number of places available: 8
Fees: aprox. €540 per year View detail of the PhD's fees

Languages in which the thesis may be written:
Catalan, Spanish and English
Organising universities and institutions:

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Universitat de Barcelona

Associated departments or institutes:
Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology (UAB)
Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology (UAB)
Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology (UB)
Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences (UB)
Department of Animal and Food Science (UAB)
Institut de Biotecnologia i Biomedicina (UAB)

Collaborating institutions:
Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA)
Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC)
Health Sciences

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