Financed PhD positions of the Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution (VDSEE) are advertised internationally, either in a bundled call or by individual PIs.

Currently, single Principal Investigators (PIs) may announce positions by using either the application and selection procedure as outlined below (valid for all bundled calls) or a fast-track procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend to read the information on how to submit the application for each position very carefully. In the future all applications will have to be submitted via the Apply@VDSEE recruitment tool.

Independent on funding instrument (employment at the University of Vienna, fellowship programme, or other), an application to admission to PhD studies is required.

Application guidelines for opened financed positions - Apply@VDSEE

VDSEE is devoted to educating students in advancing our knowledge on the ecology and evolution of extant and ancestral organisms, populations and communities. In Ecology, the ambition is to better understand the mechanistic and evolutionary drivers of patterns and processes from gene regulation to the structure and function of ecosystems and the impact of communities on the biogeochemical cycles and their adaptive capacity in response to environmental change. In Evolution, we address the evolutionary processes leading to changes in organisation and temporal dynamics of organisms, populations and species at the molecular, developmental, morphological and physiological level.

Eligibility criteria & profile

Eligibility criteria

  • Early-Stage Researchers: VDSEE is open to all early stage researchers of any nationality with a Master’s degree or equivalent and who have not been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • The applicant needs to hold a Master degree or equivalent in the field of the open position or in another relevant discipline entitling the researcher to embark on a doctorate. The degree certificate must be available before being accepted into the doctoral program.
  • The VDSEE program language is English; therefore, written and oral English proficiency is expected and essential (at least B2 level).

  We expect from all applicants 

  • interest and experience in the research field of the open position(s) and strong interest in scientific work;
  • high level of motivation to complete his/her PhD studies within three years;
  • strong interest to publish in peer-reviewed journals (cumulative dissertation);
  • good analytical and/or lab skills needed in the field of the announced position is an asset;
  • collaborative attitude & teamwork;
  • good communication skills in English.

How to apply?

Only online submission via the Recruiting Tool Apply@VDSEE of the Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution are accepted.

Applications by Email or other means and applications not fulfilling the formal criteria (e.g. completeness) are not considered for review; as well unsolicited applications are not accepted.

To apply via Apply@VDSEE, you first have to register at the University of Vienna and open an u:account. With your u:account user ID you can apply through this platform.

Recommendation: do not deactivate "Don't notify me" after you submitted your application. In case you do so, you will not receive any update on your application status.

Application Portfolio

Please submit the following mandatory Application Portfolio in English as a single PDF document and composed of:

  1. A motivation letter explaining why you apply to VDSEE, addressing your qualifications and summarising your previous research experiences.  (max. 1 page).
  2. Abstract of your Master thesis (max. 2000 characters, please note that this abstract must be identical to the one you will use in the online application form).
  3. Curriculum vitae (CV) indicating your educational path with time line and academic degrees, addressing your technical proficiency, past/ongoing projects you were scientifically involved along with your publication list, presentations at congresses and awards if applicable (preferable Europass format).
  4. Transcript of records of your MSc curriculum and copies of Bachelor and Master Diploma: certificates in German or in certified English translation in addition to their original language. Self-translated transcripts of your certificates will not be recognized.

Please add additional documents if the following points apply:

  • Confirmation letter: The Master certificate must be available before admission to the doctoral programme. If the Master's thesis has not been completed yet, a letter of confirmation from your supervisor is required, stating the date on which the Master degree is obtained at the latest.
  • Please be aware that English is the prevailing programme language. If available, please provide relevant document(s) of proficiency in English, e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate, School leaving certificate with English as graduation subject.

Selection process

Based on academic performance, research experience and motivation to apply to the VDSEE programme, our selection committee will evaluate the quality of your application. Thus, a first round of selection will be made solely based on the submitted documents. This stage of the selection process is to be completed within four weeks after the application deadline. The selection committee selects candidates for interviews based on the criteria outlined above.

The selected candidates will be requested to prepare short summary talks (max. 5 min) of their Master thesis and motivation. A small panel of PIs (3-5) reflecting the respective research field will participate in the interviews. The interviews are held online or in presence and last 15-30 min.

Successful candidates are notified approx. two weeks after the interview, and expected to accept their position within two weeks of their notification.

Ideally, the selected PhD candidates should start their PhD studies within three months after the final decision has been made. However, under certain circumstances (e.g. visa issues) – exceptions are made.

VDSEE values diversity and encourages applications from all qualified candidates.


The selection procedures are expected to last about 6-12 weeks after deadline, but may last longer dependent on the number of applications.

  • Application closes: earliest 21 days after opening date
  • Pre-selection meeting: approximately four weeks after submission deadline
  • Interview days: within two weeks after the pre-selection meeting
  • Final selection meeting: within one week after the last interview
  • Offers sent out: about one week after the final selection meeting
  • Offer needs to be accepted: within two weeks
  • Start of the position: to be expected within three months after the date of final decision*

* dependent on VISA obligations and procedures, the period until start may be extented.

If you have any questions about the VDSEE programme, please contact the Executive Manager by email or phone +43-(0)1-4277-50030.

Gender equality, diversity and non-discrimination

© Manuel Lavoriero

The University pursues a non-discriminatory employment policy and values equal opportunities, as well as diversity ( The University lays special emphasis on increasing the number of women in senior and in academic positions. Given equal qualifications, preference will be given to female applicants.

The University of Vienna has an institutionalised gender equality policy and within this framework VDSEE strives to strengthen the career development of female scientists at all qualifications levels and to support compatibility between family and work/training.

The Gender Equality and Diversity unit of the University of Vienna provides services which, based on the issue of gender equality, aim at ensuring equal opportunities for all university members.