What are the main features of this Doctoral Course?

The Agricultural Production Chains – From Fork to Farm (AgriChains) responds to a continued trend in consumer demands and concerns by focusing on training in each step of the production value chain to achieve sustainable food production, and better food quality. Results of consumer feedback, discussed in collaboration with key stakeholder companies, will be incorporated into both the production chain and the AgriChains programme.

The AgriChains programme is designed to meet student demands to improve knowledge and skills that allow them to contribute to developing a more competitive chain. All students will be allocated an academic tutor immediately after acceptance into the AgriChains programme. The academic tutor will provide both personal and academic support and will also act in the selection of the PhD thesis supervisor.

The PhD programme is based on the quality, experience and expertise of the national and international team institutions.

Students will also be supported by complementary structures intended to fulfill the regular academic request on different matters.

The PhD degree is awarded by University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) and University of Minho (UMinho).​

Professor Eduardo Rosa PhD, Director of the PhD AgriChains
Professor Eduardo Rosa PhD, Director of the PhD AgriChains


The Programme Director has a vast national and international experience in teaching and research, and in the management of research teams, projects, organizations and companies. Professor Eduardo Rosa PhD gained much of his experience through international projects in the area of teaching innovation and quality assurance of MSc programmes.



The Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences is focused on agro-food and forestry systems using the production-chain approach as a whole.
CITAB’s research aims to grow new solutions, maximize resources and bring higher added value to the development and upgrading of agricultural and forestry production chains.
To accomplish this goal the Center includes a multidisciplinary team with more than 190 investigators expertise - selected by international benchmarking criteria - ranging from fundamental sciences, such as biology and chemistry, to agronomy, forestry engineering and ecology. Moreover, it benefits from inputs of scientific experts in mathematics, physics and several engineering disciplines. The research unit also actively collaborates with key Stakeholders in the agro-food and forestry industries, new technologies and natural resources management.
The Center is classified as “very good” by the Foundation of Science and Technology (FCT) and has a vast experience on running national and international research projects.
CITAB is hosted by Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD) whose campus is one of the biggest Botanic Gardens in Europe.


Also hosted by UTAD, which has had agriculture as one of its national and international recognized learning pillars for over 30 years, and classified as “very good” by FCT, the Chemistry Centre (CQVR) covers knowledge in Organic Chemistry, Natural Products & Food Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry. Its mission is to perform scientifically recognized research, to explore potential applications and to contribute to the training of young researchers. All scientists are also selected by international benchmarking criteria.


The “Horticultural production chains” Group of Wageningen University (WUR) is an international leader on the agriculture field and has a very strong position in research. WUR raises science on the source chain for crops produced under protected cultivation. The Group concentrates on the study of physiological processes involved in growth, development and morphogenesis of plants and, in particular, on the interaction between crop growth and product quality, and the postharvest conditions.


Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) focuses on science and technology, with a long tradition of teaching and research in agriculture. UPV’s investigation embraces the present and future importance of agriculture production chains to assure higher sustainability activities. The main objectives are the better use of natural resources and inputs while facing the climate change effects and to provide the most adequate solutions to improve stakeholders’ competitiveness.

UPV has experience in organizing national and international research projects. This know-how extends to the ERASMUS Mundus, with a long tradition on accommodating a large number of Latin American students.


The University of Minho (UMinho) targets to be a University Without Walls, promoting high levels of interaction with the external community. The UMinho considers itself to be a research university, engaged in the valorization of the chain of knowledge - Research, Development and Innovation - as it is evidenced by a series of indicators. The ratio between PhD students and PhD teaching staff is over 1 and post graduate students represent 20% of the total students’ population. UMinho faculty members involved on this PhD are all classified as “very good” by FCT. Moreover, the European Universities Association considered the UMinho a case study of good practices at the European level, as it may be seen on the EUA report available at the webpage of the University.


The External Supervisory Committee (SC) evaluates and advises the Programme Director in order to improve the progress of the Course.

The activity of the SC which will be annual and at several levels, following meetings with students, Program Director, tutors and supervisors and staff:

SC will communicate the feedback to the Programme Director through a year report and later in a meeting in which will be involved the other actors of the DP, including 2 representatives of the students. Joint solutions should be found for the eventual raised constraints.


To meet all these criteria and to accomplish these tasks PhD AgriChains invited:

Victor  de Freitas

Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (DQB) in the University of Porto

Professor Victor de Freitas obtained his PhD in Biological and Medical Sciences in the University of Bordeaux II (France), specialization in Oenology.

He is member of the REQUIMTE-LAQV Research Centre, and he is the leader of the Food Polyphenol Lab ( where he has been developing an independent research area. Victor Freitas presents in his CV more than 230 original articles published in journals indexed in the Science Citation Index (SCI), several book chapters, numerous invited conferences, running multiple I&DT projects and several supervisions of Master and PhD students.


Simon B. Heath

Secretary General of Association for European Life Science Universities and Director of Simon Heath Services Ltd that works on providing consultancy and project management services to the higher education sector, particularly in the development of a European dimension in teaching and learning disciplines related to life sciences and rural environment. He has also been a researcher and a teacher for almost ten years and has written several reports and handbooks.

Professor Simon Heath has an enormous experience of more than 10 years in supporting and reviewing universities and courses strategies: he has comprehensive knowledge of the Bologna process, made from several European countries, in the design of MSc and PhD programs and their Quality Assurance and evaluation, which is essential in agricultural sciences.



Christopher John Seal


Professor of Food & Human Nutrition, Institute of Cellular Medicine (ICM), Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University



The Scientific and Pedagogical Commission has a total of 7 (seven) researchers/teachers of the Doctoral Programme, from both UTAD and UMinho in a balanced way, being the responsability of each of the competent structure to nominate them. This Commission elects a representative from among its members to be their representative whenever necessary.

It is the responsability of the Scientific and Pedagogical Commission:

a) To propose to the Board the nomination of the thesis supervisors;

b) To propose to the Board the members which will take part in the viva oral examination;

c) To monitor the development of the Doctoral programme and, if necessary, to propose any corrections, in future editions, to the syllabus, to the Curricular Units' list or to the curricular structure.

As a part of the PhD’s strategy of accountability and transparency, FCT inducts a Doctoral Programme Progress Evaluation Comission that includes members of the International Applications Evaluation Panel and a member nominated by Agência de Avaliação e Acreditação do Ensino Superior.

We provide the links to the Evaluation Reports of FCT as soon as they are available.

•    (soon for download)

Student’s feedback on the perception of the Doctoral Programme (DP) will be collected every year through a qualitative and quantitative survey and interviews, conducted and analyzed by the Supervising Committee.

The governance structure of the DP and the host institutions must be aware of these results, through a written report, which will cover aspects from across teaching, research activities feasibility and results, organization, to social and academic integration of the student.

Student’s feedback will be analyzed and used to i) improve students support systems, ii) improve the DP contents and resources and focus (application of results) to meet student requirements and satisfaction, and iii) increase the motivation of students through a close dialogue with the tutor and supervisor, thus increasing their personal relation which is a clear added value in the future career, following a comprehensive knowledge about the students’ profile.

The DP intends to assure a “yes” to the following questions, providing the right structures and policies:

  • Do the DP aims and learning outcomes, relate to my expectations?
  • Is there an international perspective evident in the learning outcomes?
  • Does the teaching and learning strategy take account of the cultural background of international students?
  • What is the experience of the lecturers?
  • Are the views of international students formally taken account of in the development of the program and in the development of the university?
  • Do the job destinations of recent graduates relate to my own expectations for my career path?
  • Is there an orientation program at the start of the degree program? Is it instructive?
  • Does the university provide help with housing, finance, accompanying persons, visa procedures?
  • On first enquiry what kind of reception did I get? Was I given a contact person?

At the end of the DP there will be a formal university graduation ceremony and a celebratory party, which intends to formally congratulate the graduates and to reinforce the feeling that they are part of the wider university community as alumni.

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