What is the VBC PhD programme?
The VBC PhD programme ensures that its students all have a productive, worthwhile experience during their PhD. Students in the programme are part of a strong, supportive community made up of fellow students and the post-docs, staff scientists, and group leaders that make up the campus.
VBC PhD students receive attentive scientific guidance from their advisors and all members of the community. From the practical side, the programme assists students with administrative issues related to obtaining their degrees through the University of Vienna.
How long will it take you to get a PhD at the VBC?
A PhD at the VBC usually lasts three or four years. The initial contract for incoming PhD students is for three years. If students are making progress in their research and would like to stay in the lab for an additional year, the thesis committee can grant an extension. All students are expected to complete their degrees within four years.
Who will mentor you during your PhD?
Your primary mentor is your advisor. Because of the limited teaching responsibilities of VBC faculty, the group leaders have lots of time to work directly with PhD students. Scientific discussion as well as practical advice usually start with your advisor but often extend throughout the VBC community.
In addition to the advisor, every student in the VBC PhD programme chooses two VBC faculty members to form a thesis committee. The thesis committee meets once a year to discuss the research plan and its progress or any other issues that may arise.
The VBC is a very communicative place and all VBC scientists, from technicians to group leaders, are interested in discussing projects, offering suggestions, or helping out with an experiment. Much of the scientific discussion takes place at your annual Monday Seminar, a short, formal talk describing your PhD research to the VBC scientific community.
What will you learn in the VBC PhD programme?
The goal of a PhD is that you learn how to think critically and formulate intelligent hypotheses. In biology, this means asking questions, designing experiments, analyzing data, and putting the results in a general context to understand how systems function. This learning happens everywhere at the VBC: in your lab, at journal club, during seminars, at conferences. The entire VBC community develops together.
From a practical side, the VBC campus is a great place to learn new experimental techniques. There is a huge diversity of research approaches, so it’s easy to find someone doing just the thing you’d like to try. Support from the scientific services is essential in this respect: they are there to help you get the best results possible using the most up-to-date technologies, including cryo-electron microscopy, quantitative mass spectroscopy, massive parallel sequencing, and live-cell imaging.
The VBC PhD programme lecture series introduces students to the current state of research in essential topics in biological and biomedical sciences. The programme offers approximately ten lectures per semester. Speakers include members of the campus faculty as well as invited guests from around the world.