FWF Doctoral Programmes (DKs)

Doctoral programmes ("Doktoratskollegs") are funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and are designed to be training centres for highly qualified early stage researchers from the national and international scientific community.

Currently the following Doctoral programmes are in place at the Faculty of Life Sciences or are taking place in collaboration with members of the Faculty:

Speaker: Tecumseh Fitch, Deputy Speaker: Ludwig Huber (VetMed)

The structured Doctoral Programme in Cognition and Communication favours a new approach to the study of cognition and communication, in both animals and humans, with firm roots in both classical ethology and traditional cognitive science. This approach is pluralistic, and follows Tinbergen's injunction to study any given biological trait from the multiple perspectives of phylogeny (evolutionary history), ontogeny (developmental history), mechanism (cognitive, neural and hormonal physiology) and function (adaptation). The approach is strongly comparative: multiple species are studied, and compared within a rigorous phylogenetic framework, to understand the evolutionary history and adaptive function of cognitive mechanisms ("cognitive phylogenetics"). We are strongly committed to experimental evaluation of multiple, testable hypotheses, rather than focusing solely on theoretical or philosophical questions. [read more]


Speaker: Christa Schleper, Deputy Speaker: Michael Wagner

Understanding the contribution of microorganisms to ecosystem processes remains one of the most compelling challenges in ecology and requires a high degree of interdisciplinary research. The graduate student program offers a unique multidisciplinary PhD training on Microbial Nitrogen Cycling approached from the three complementary areas of Microbial Ecology, Functional Genomics and Ecosystem Research at the University of Vienna. Our mission is to provide an excellent interdisciplinary education, extensive laboratory training and international networking [read more]

Speaker: Gerhard Ecker, Deputy Speaker: Anna Weinzinger

"Ion channels and transporters as molecular drug targets" (MolTag) is a PhD/doctoral program in pharmaceutical sciences established at the University of Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna and the Vienna University of Technology . The MolTag offers a broad three-year PhD education in pharmaceutical sciences including specialized field courses such as molecular pharmacology, pharmacoinformatics, structure-function analysis of target molecules, biophysics, imaging and advanced synthetic chemistry [read more]

Speaker: Mitchell G. Ash, Deputy Speaker: Gerhard Müller

The program builds upon the Initiativkolleg entitled “The Sciences in Historical Context”, which was funded internally by the University of Vienna from 2006 to 2010. Faculty members come from History, Philosophy, Physics, Life Sciences, and Mathematics. Central features of the program are: a structured curriculum including intensive conceptual and research seminars; interdisciplinary discussion and academic guidance in the weekly Colloquium; one semester of required study or research visits outside Austria; and, most importantly, joint supervision of dissertations by a historian or philosopher and a natural scientist or mathematician, so far as this is feasible [read more]

Speaker: Christian Schlötterer (University of Veterinarian Medicine, Vienna); faculty member: Ovidiu Paun

Population genetics seeks to describe the distribution of and the change in allele frequencies in natural and domestic populations. It attempts to explain evolutionary phenomena such as adaptation, differentiation, and speciation. As genotypes play a crucial role in determining phenotypes, the major challenge of population genetics has been the development of a theory that describes, with the help of Mendelian and non-Mendelian genetics, the interplay of evolution at the genotypic and phenotypic level [read more]