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Strategic axes


Over the past two decades there has been a substantial increment in the University of Deusto’s research production and participation rate of the University of Deusto in international research initiatives.

This impetus has been the result, on the one hand, on an enhanced coordination of researchers across teams and faculties, and between them and other peers and stakeholders from universities and institutions throughout the globe, putting them to work in the solution of the most pressing and compelling social problems.

On the other hand, of the networking carried out in previous years that paved the way for the University to collaborate with European and international institutions and organisations, and to pioneer pilots and projects that derived in global trends and ongoing programmes and strategies across the world.

This research excellence can be observed in the amount of contributions in high impact journals and the increase in the funded projects and enhanced return on investment under the European Commission’s 7 Framework Programme and Horizon 2020.

Cross-sectoral dimension

The doctoral school's cross-sectoral dimension implies joint collaborative action between academic and non-academic sectors. Thus, research is oriented to solving technical and social problems identified by the main agents in the area.

Companies, non-profit organisations, schools, hospitals, museums and public administrations are only a few of the agents that have assumed this commitment with the University of Deusto. The starting premise is that PhD studies should not only prepare graduates for an academic career but also equip them to join innovative companies, organisations and institutions.

The Industrial PhD is a clear example of the cross-sectoral nature of doctoral studies. The Industrial PhD programme seeks to orient doctoral studies to address society’s needs.

The concept of collaborative thesis refers to doctoral theses prepared by working with companies and organisations in the area and which address these parties' needs. In contrast to the Industrial PhD, collaborative theses do not require special terms of agreement, an employment contract or specific courses. Collaborative theses do not lead to the award of a Deusto degree. However, the University will award certification to PhDs who have elaborated a collaborative thesis after having finished their PhD studies.


Internationalisation is the third axis of DIRS.

DIRS international nature is at the core of DEUSTO´s Doctoral Programmes. International researchers collaborate in these programmes. The internationalisation is reflected in a comprehensive range of activities and opportunities for our selected PhD candidates:

  • Hands on experience in a growing number of first class international research projects.
  • Participation in international conferences and events as part of their studies / training: PhD students are encouraged to present their studies at international meetings.
  • DIRS programmes include study periods at a selected number of prestigious institutions throughout the world. Study periods abroad are a requisite to for an International Mention (read more on International Mention).
  • International visiting experts collaborate in training and international seminars.
  • DIRS offers PhD students the possibility to develop their thesis at two universities (DEUSTO and one other abroad) and obtain a double degree (read more on double degrees).
  • PhD students benefit directly from our growing presence in the international arena.


Interdisciplinary dimenssion

Research at University of Deusto is arranged around four focus areas:Health and Wellbeing, Human Rights, Peace and Conflict Resolution,Sustainable Development and Innovation and Education and lifelong learning (as a transversal area).

These serve as a flexible framework where five interdisciplinary platforms, several research units and centres operate, enabling our researchers from 22 Teams of Excellence to collaborate and cross-fertilise ideas.They make novel use of methodologies from their different disciplines to address local and global issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.

This rich research ecosystem complements our teaching, and provides a fertile ground for our 7 PhD programs, and our extensive Post Graduate activity.


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