Austria International PhD Program 2016 ~ helpBIOTECH

30 October 2015

Austria International PhD Program 2016

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IST Austria - Institute of Science and Technology

PhD Program

The deadline for PhD applications is January 8, 2016 11:59PM CET, for a start date in September, 2016. Reference letters are due by January 15, 2016 11:59PM CET. Please read the page on how to apply, or refer to the detailed instructions (as PDF).

Our PhD program

Scientists require multidisciplinary skillsets and indepth knowledge of their research area to be able to carry out excellent research. At IST Austria, our mission is to equip students with the technical know-how and skills to communicate and perform research across disciplines. This interdisciplinary spirit is fundamental to the excellence of scientific research conducted at IST Austria. The PhD program at IST Austria is therefore designed with both breadth and depth of scope in mind.


The interdisciplinary core courses are designed to encourage the exchange of knowledge between students from highly diverse backgrounds and promote the conditions which allow for interdisciplinary research. A broad view of topics are presented to students to encourage them to think beyond the boundaries of their primary research focus. In addition, the courses fulfill a community-building function in terms of fostering exchange between students from different disciplinary backgrounds.

In addition to the interdisciplinary core courses, students also take specialized and advanced courses as part of the PhD program. For further details of our course offerings, see our list of courses.

Laboratory rotations

Students perform at least three rotations with three different research groups. A rotation is a period of roughly two months in which students perform research in a laboratory on a research project. It is on the basis of this experience that students can choose to affiliate with a research group. It is also an excellent opportunity for students to learn to think across disciplines and build up cross-disciplinary skillsets.

Training in teaching

Teaching skills are an important asset for an academic career. At IST Austria, PhD students are required to act as teaching assistants for at least one course. There is a Golden Sponge teaching award which rewards outstanding teaching by students.

Qualifying exam

In the qualifying exam, students’ knowledge within their proposed research area, their ability to identify important research problems, and their capability to come up with ways to tackle these problems, are assessed by the thesis committee. The qualifying exam takes the form of a presentation and oral exam. Students must pass the qualifying exam to continue on the PhD program and perform thesis research.

Thesis research

Upon passing the qualifying exam, students conduct thesis research within a research group. There are biannual reviews which evaluate the students’ progress, and ensure that they stay on track towards completion of the PhD. Students are also encouraged to present their results at scientific conferences, and in the third year, present their research within the Institute.

Other program activities

IST Austria hosts a range of seminars, colloquia, and conferences which aim to encourage interaction between scientists and which allow students to become familiar with a diverse range of scientific research areas. See events, for a list of such program activities.

Financial support

All our PhD students are fully funded, at internationally competitive salary levels, and receive full social security coverage. There is also financial support for students for attending scientific conferences and workshops.

Length of the PhD program

The length of the PhD program is typically 4 to 5 years, depending on whether a student has a bachelor’s or a master’s degree when starting their PhD.

Subject areas we offer

We invite master’s as well as bachelor’s students, who have a degree in the natural sciences, mathematics or computer science, to apply for our PhD program.
It is possible to do a PhD on a research topic which aligns with the interests of our faculty, which currently falls within the following broad research areas:

Grad School

How to apply

The deadline for PhD applications is January 8, 2016 11:59PM CET, for a start in September, 2016. Reference letters should be submitted by January 15, 2016 11:59PM CET. Please read the page on how to apply, for detailed instructions. All application materials should be submitted via our online application page.

You might also be interested in doing an internship at IST Austria, and it is possible to do so before the start of your PhD. For more information, have a look at the internship options we offer.

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