Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Fellowships in Business Intelligence and Big Data Analytics

Publish Date: Nov 23, 2015

Deadline: Dec 11, 2015

Since its inception 20 years ago, Business Intelligence (BI) has become a huge industrial domain and a major economic driver, however overlooked by academics. It encompasses many scientific and technological fields including data warehouses, data mining, content analytics, business process management, visual analytics, and requires competences in information systems, web science, decision science, and software engineering. The Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate in Information Technologies for Business Intelligence – Doctoral College (IT4BI-DC) is designed to develop research excellence in this broad scope of fields. Its main objective is to train computer scientists who understand and help develop the strategies of modern enterprise decision makers. IT4BI-DC is a continuation of the EMMC “Information Technologies for Business Intelligence” (IT4BI).

The programme favours the integration of students into a network of world-renowned researchers and specialists in BI. The curriculum is jointly delivered by Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), Aalborg Universitet (Denmark), Technische Universität Dresden (Germany), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain), and Poznan University of Technology (Poland). Associated partners from around the world include top-ranked universities, leading industries in BI, public and private research organizations, R&D companies, consulting companies, and public authorities. Associated partners will contribute to the programme by training students, providing job placement or internships, as well as financial support, in particular through additional scholarships. This consortium will prepare graduates to address major governance challenges in today’s knowledge-based society by developing the three interdependent components of the “knowledge triangle”, i.e., education, research, and innovation.

IT4BI-DC is a 3-year (180 ECTS) doctoral programme implemented as a co-tutelle model. The consortium jointly designs a set of Doctoral Topics addressing six fundamental BI challenges: Modeling and Semantics, Information Discovery, Information Integration, Business Analytics, Large-Scale Processing, and Collaboration and Privacy. Each of the Doctoral Topics is jointly co-supervised by at least two partners of the consortium. The doctoral candidate will spend between 33% and 50% in the host university of the co-tutelle. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be awarded with a joint degree from the universities of the co-tutelle.

IT4BI-DC provides to doctoral candidates a high-level education and training programme comprising Research-specific courses, Innovation and Entrepreneurship courses, Methodological and Communication courses, Language courses, Organization of and participation in scientific events, and Internships. Students participate to the IT4BI-DC Doctoral Colloquium and to the European Business Intelligence Summer School (eBISS) co-organized with the IT4BI Master Course. The tuition language is English.

All IT4BI-DC candidates will follow a programme with the same structure, regardless of the academic institutions that provide the degree. This is ensured by a jointly designed IT4BI-DC doctoral process (see figure above). Each candidate will be involved on a research topic proposed by two institutions (i.e., home and host). The Doctorate thesis will be co-supervised by two professors, one from each of the proponent institutions using a co-tutelle model. All IT4BI-DC partners have extensive experience in doctorate co-tutelle arrangements.

During the first two months after enrolment, the candidate together with his/her co-advisors will draft a Doctoral Project Plan (DPP), which formulates and concretises the elements involved in the research process. In addition, the DPP will specify the candidate's personalised education and training programme taking into account his/her previous background and future career prospects. It also specifies the expected mobility periods at the host university.

With respect to mobility, candidates start the first year at their home university, spend (a part of) the second year at their host university, and return for the third year to their home university. Further, shorter stays at the host university are planned during the first and third years. Thus, Doctoral candidates will spend at least 33% of their doctorate at their host university, divided in three visits (two short visits will be at least 1 month, and a longer one at least 6 months).

Three milestones are planned in the programme: M1, at the end of the first year, candidates present a Thesis Proposal Report (TPR, extension of the DPP); M2, at the end of the second year, candidates present a Research Progress Report, including a description of the main issues, early research results, and plan for the remaining work; and M3, at the end of the third year, candidates submit their Doctoral Thesis.

The education and training programme fosters a wide range of both core and transversal competencies, with the aim to improve the career prospects of candidates and to prepare a generation of future innovative leaders and entrepreneurs. Indeed, besides academic and research institutions, a doctoral degree is increasingly requested in enterprises, industry, or government. This programme comprises the following activities:

  • Research-specific courses, providing doctoral candidates with focused state-of-the art technical skills pertaining to their research topic.
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship courses, complementing the scientific training of candidates with business-related aspects such as entrepreneurship, intellectual property rights, etc.
  • Methodological and communication courses, introducing the necessary research methods and communication skills.
  • Language courses, introducing the local language at each partner HEI.
  • Knowledge dissemination through mandatory conference presentations and journal publication, allowing candidates to present and confront their findings, thereby familiarising themselves with essential practices such as peer-review and public debating.
  • External cooperation, ensuring that the candidate participate actively in another research environment outside his/her home and host universities. This is realised typically through internships at associated partners.

Notice that the doctoral programme includes the participation to theEuropean Business Intelligence Summer School (eBISS) organised by the Erasmus Mundus Master course IT4BI and the Doctoral Colloquium organised by IT4BI-DC.

How to Apply

Scholarship applications open on October 1st. To apply for the programme, please fill the application forms at the following URL:
Self-funded candidates may apply all year long at the following URL:

Candidates are informed that their personal data may be sent to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and may be used by other bodies involved in the management of Erasmus Mundus (i.e. European Commission, Erasmus Mundus National Structures, EU Delegations, Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association) for facilitating the student/doctoral candidate access to the joint programme.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Students have been awarded the equivalent of 300 ECTS of studies with a major in computer science, from an accredited university (listed in the IAU's List of Universities of the World). At least, 60 of those ECTS must correspond to a Master's degree.
  • Students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in English by means of an internationally recognised test equivalent to level C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). These tests include, e.g., Cambridge English First A, IELTS (academic) 7.0, TOEFL (paper based) 637, TOEFL (computer based) 270, TOEFL (Internet based) 95, etc.

Application Deadlines

Important dates are summarized below.

Opening of the scholarship application October 1st, 2015
Deadline for scholarship application December 11th, 2015
Deadline for uploading reference letters December 14th, 2015
Deadline for receiving certified true copy of official documents January 26th, 2016
Preliminary decision of the scholarship End of February 2016
Formal confirmation of the scholarship End of May 2016
Deadline for uploading proof of Master degree (Non-European) Mid May 2016
Deadline for uploading proof of Master degree (European) June 30th, 2016
Deadline for application of self-funded students
Open all year long
Deadline for application of self-funded students
Open all year long
Start of the academic year September 2016

Notice that Programme Country students currently on their last year of Master can submit their application even if they have not yet their diploma. If they are selected, they need to submit their diploma and final grades for the last year of studies not later than June 30th, 2016.

Selection Procedure

Applications abiding by the above eligibility criteria will be scored according to the following selection criteria:

  • Domain of the Bachelor and Master (15/90): Points will be assigned proportional to the percentage of Computer Science credits in the curriculum according to topics defined in the ACM curricula, (Business Intelligence credits will score double).
  • Academic results (35/90): Computed as the weighted average of the marks in the different subjects, according to a translation table defined for each country.
  • Research experience (10/90): Specially appreciated will be publications in journals or conferences (either national or international).
  • Professional experience (10/90): Points will be given per year of work on IT or BI position (internships will score half of that).
  • Reference letters (10/90): Points will be assigned based on the following categories: Level of detail, specific information about the candidate, knowledge of the candidate, characteristics of the candidate, language used, overall impression.
  • CV, research proposal and motivation (10/90): Points will be assigned based on the following categories: organisation, sequencing, content, vocabulary and word choice, critical thinking, originality and creativity, accuracy of facts.

Candidate Agreement

Selected candidates will have to sign a Candidate Agreement prior to their enrolment in the IT4BI-DC programme. The template of the Candidate Agreement can be found here.


In 2014 the support structure of Erasmus Mundus was transferred into the European Commission’s new programme Erasmus+. This change affects the scholarship scheme for IT4BI-DC starting from student intake in September 2015. The application process and the admission requirements remain unchanged. For more information about the Erasmus+ programme, in particular about eligibility conditions and scholarships, please refer to the Erasmus+ Programme Guide.

The Erasmus+ programme distinguishes students who are nationals or residents of Programme Countries and Partner Countries. Students of Programme Countries are:

  • Students who are nationals or residents of one of the 28 EU Member States: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, UK, Sweden, Bulgaria, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Croatia.
  • Students who are nationals or residents of one of the following countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey, and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRoM). Students who have resided or carried out their main activities (studies, work, etc.) for more than 12 months over the past five years (counted backward starting from the end of February following the official deadline for application to the master) in any of the above countries. For applicants applying for student intake in 2016, this is the period from March 1, 2011 to February 28, 2016.
Students of Partner Countries are all other students.

Please note:

  • Doctoral candidates from Partner Countries who have previously received an Erasmus Mundus masters scholarship, can be awarded a fellowship as Programme Country student.
  • Doctoral candidates benefiting for an EMJD fellowship cannot benefit from other Community grants while carrying out their Erasmus Mundus doctoral activities.
  • For Programme Country fellowship holders, the IT4BI-DC universities of the co-tutelle must not be located in the country in which the doctoral candidate has obtained his/her last university degree.
  • You can only apply to maximum three Erasmus Mundus Programmes.

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