According to its Development Plan, the University of Vienna endeavours to assume its institutional responsibility for doctoral programmes through the additional creation of appropriate support structures for doctoral candidates. Therefore, the first Vienna Doctoral Academies/Vienna Doctoral Schools (VDA/VDS) were established at the University of Vienna on 1 March 2016. After the first advertisements in 2014, various types of support structures, VDA and VDS were included in the advertisements.


Vienna Doctoral Academies/Vienna Doctoral Schools (VDA and VDS)

The objective of the VDA and VDS is bringing together the most committed doctoral candidates and supervisors. They serve as a platform for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary exchange between doctoral candidates and supervisors. They should contribute to quality improvement in the promotion of doctoral candidates and considerably enhance the student-teacher ratios.

Moreover, VDA and VDS should sharpen and test the skills of both the doctoral candidates and the supervisors to participate in interdisciplinary debates, i.e. to develop the ability to generate and enter into discussion about their own academic findings in interdisciplinary contexts, even if these discussions do not take place in the specific field of the doctoral project.

The VDA and VDS should also increase the visibility of doctoral programmes at the University of Vienna and facilitate cohort formation and establish a group identity of the affiliated doctoral candidates and supervisors.

  • VDS merge occupied doctoral positions and advertise positions that are grouped together in job announcements. Therefore, VDS especially facilitate the development of group identities and cohorts by enabling institutionalised disciplinary exchange, internal quality assurance and external visibility of doctoral candidates' promotion.
  • VDA are established in those areas where a huge number of doctoral candidates are not funded at all or rely on manifold funding schemes. In addition to the creation of group identities and cohorts, VDA focus on timely and quality assured completion of doctoral programmes by improving the student-teacher ratios.

The establishment of the seven VDA/VDS is based on a competitive call for proposals that was initiated by the Rectorate in 2014. An expert jury, in consultation with international specialists, selected the most promising projects from the 19 submitted projects. The Rectorate decided to establish seven VDA/VDS on the basis of the recommendations by the expert jury in late 2015.

Vice-Rector Heinz Faßmann on the objectives

Vice-Rector Heinz Faßmann

"The VDA/VDS that were initiated by my predecessor Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, are a crucial element of modern and high-quality doctoral education ", says Vice-Rector Faßmann, who is responsible for the VDA/VDS and announces the further development of this instrument. "We will draw on the experience of the VDA/VDS that are currently existing, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and change their structure accordingly in the future."