Joint Phd Programs Scholarships

IIT devotes significant effort in PhD students’ supervision most of them jointly with Greek Universities and the rest with foreign Universities in the context of the joint PhD programs scholarships.

International Joint programs

IIT initiated in 2008 a PhD scholarships program, jointly with Universities in Europe and the US. In the case of European Universities, students spend half of their PhD time at the University and the rest at NCSR Demokritos. In the case of US Universities – where the students must attend courses during their first 2 years – students remain there and then return to NCSR Demokritos for about 1.5 year to carry out the core research of their Thesis. In both cases, full scholarships are provided, covered by the university when the student resides there and from IIT when the students resides at NCSR Demokritos. The scholarship also covers travel costs and conference fees. Currently IIT has ongoing research collaborations with the following universities.

IIT’s scholarships

The Ιnstitute offers PhD scholarships in subjects concerning its fields of research.  To view PhD Theses that are currently in progress visit this webpage.

Industrial Research Fellowship Program

The Institute has active participation in the industrial scholarship program of NCSR Demokritos with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and various collaborating companies, which started in mid-2017. This innovative initiative supports 4-year PhD scholarships and 3-year Post-doc scholarships. Currently, IIT participates with 6 PhDs and 2 Post-docs.

To view the last Industrial Research Fellowship Program visit this webpage.

What our Alumni and current Scholars have to say about the scholarship program

Konstantinos Tsiakas

Adapting to America may be difficult in the beginning due to divergent cultures, but through this scholarship program there is a great deal of support, both from researchers at NSCR Demokritos and from supervisors here in Texas, which provides soneone with security. From the outset I knew that part of the research would be conducted at NSCR Demokritos which was an important factor for me to make the decision to move on. Overall, I think it was a very powerful experience, both on a personal and professional level, I would say it has shaped me as a person. I met many people from many cultures and different research backgrounds and it helped me create opportunities for myself. Four years ago, I couldn’t think I would do a post-doctoral degree at Yale University.

Konstantinos Tsiakas did his PhD at the University of Texas at Arlington, at the Human-Centered Computing Laboratory, HERACLEIA, while part of his research was done at SKEL Lab at NSCR Demokritos. His internship took place at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, USA. He has been at Yale University for post-doctoral research since June 2019.


Alexander Papagelis

In America, research in good Universities is very high-level and is more tied to practical applications. The equipment available is usually cutting edge technology, so students – with hard work of course – have everything they need to succeed. Through this program, I was offered several opportunities; most notably to work at the University’s Robotics Research Center (UTARI), where my field of research was expanded and I had the opportunity to learn things that would otherwise be difficult. I was also given the opportunity to intern at one of the most renowned institutes for dialogue research at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies.

Alexander Papagelis has completed his doctoral thesis in the field of adaptive interactive systems in collaboration with HERACLEIA – Human-Centered Computing Laboratory and SKEL Lab at NCSR Demokritos. He then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Articulab at Carnegie Mellon University and as a researcher and head of the interactive systems team at Toshiba’s CRL (Cambridge Research Laboratory). He currently works as a researcher at Uber AI’s Conversational AI team.


Michalis Papakostas

America offers a lot of stimuli. The programs here are mostly multicultural; you work with people from all over the world, so you can see different ways of approaching problems and broaden your horizons. At the same time, you have more networking opportunities. You can attend many conferences that take place here, while from Greece it is quite difficult. The scholarship program is a unique opportunity because it is a step towards moving for a research career in America. It is generally not easy to come to America for research; it is a difficult and costly process. The program not only solves procedural issues but also essential. You know from the beginning which lab and team you are going to work with, you can talk to the professors and see in what context you will be doing research. You also have the opportunity to talk to previous fellows and get an even better view of the experience before making your decision. For someone who wants to do a PhD, it’s a unique opportunity.

Michalis Papakostas is preparing his doctoral thesis at the University of Texas at Arlington, in the field of Machine Learning, with applications in Human-Computer Communication in collaboration with “HERACLEIA – Human-Centered Computing Laboratory” and SKEL Lab at NSCR Demokritos.  During his doctorate, he was interned in England and at Toshiba’s CRL (Cambridge Research Laboratory), as a member of the Speech Technology Group.


  • Eleni Litsa, PhD candidate at Rice University | I think this program is a great opportunity for those who have already decided that they want to do a PhD abroad, but at the same time they want to keep in touch with and contribute to the Greek research community. The educational system and the research in America are quite different from the Greek ones, so a PhD in America is a very important experience that can be transmitted to Greece through this collaboration. One major difference is that in America research is directly linked to industry, enabling students to develop collaborations more easily and to see directly the impact of their research.

Eleni Litsa is in her third year of a PhD in Computer Science at Rice University, in collaboration with Kavraki Lab (Computational Robotics & Biomedicine Lab) and SKEL Lab at NCSR Demokritos. Her research work is on developing algorithms that will enhance the process of developing new drugs. Her research focuses on the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and graph theory.

  • Christos Smailis, PhD candidate at the University of Houston | The Joint PhDs program is a great opportunity to gain experience in two different research environments. It helps you to understand how research and universities work outside Europe, while also being a good way to keep in touch with Greece. It is also a great way to gain experience in US industry through internships. The CBL (Computational Biomedicine Lab) scholarship offers the opportunity to live in Houston, one of the most multicultural societies in the world.

Christos Smailis is a PhD candidate in the Computational Biomedical Laboratory (CBL) at the University of Houston. His research interests are in Machine Learning and Computer Vision?