What we offer

The Vienna Doctoral School “Molecules of Life” advances PhD education by providing a forum for excellent PhD students and their supervisors to freely exchange and critically challenge ideas.

The curriculum has a minimum duration of three years, and extension is possible. The students obtain a PhD Degree conferred by the University of Vienna or by the Medical University of Vienna, depending on the affiliation of the supervisor, and /or based on the topic of the thesis.

The activities in „Molecules of Life“ are entirely driven by the principle of active learning and complement the in-depth, specialist training offered by the existing PhD tracks.

Interdisciplinary Molecules of Life activities

How would you do it?

Monthly meetings designed to promote creativity and problem-solving skills. A group of students selects a recent publication and presents its theoretical background and main scientific question(s), while another group of students strives to find a theoretical solution, which will then be compared to the experimental one described in the paper. Background and the scientific questions should be presented from the point of view of different disciplines.

Expert user groups

Success in Molecular Life Sciences depends on constant technological developments and on the refinement of existing techniques. In Molecules of Life, expert user groups of students and group leaders interested in specific techniques communicate via an online platform to discuss applications, troubleshooting, and further developments. The platforms are open to all students and group leaders so that everybody can profit from the specific expertise of the VDS.

“Out of the box” stipend

As an incentive to address complex problems using creative, non-standard approaches, we award a yearly stipend for designing the best curiosity-driven, high-risk experiment. One or more students can participate in the design and implementation of the experiment, which does not necessarily have to be within the immediate scope of their own projects, and which can be performed in any laboratory of their choice.

Molecules of Life Lectures

Top-notch scientists, chosen and hosted by the students of the different modules, discuss their latest result preceded or followed by two short talks held by VDS students.

Annual Retreat

Designed to bring together students and group leaders, organized by the students. The students present short talks identifying the main questions and unsolved problems in their areas and how their work contributes to answering them.

Interdisciplinary Symposium

A three-day event featuring outstanding scientists covering a broad range of topics. Organized by the students every second year.