Organisation of the Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution (VDSEE)

  • Directorate
    consists of the Director and Vice-Director. The Directorate will be elected from the Principal Investigator Panel (PIP) for a period of two years with the possibility for another term of two years. The associated PIs from external institutions are also parts of the PIP but cannot take the administrative roles (i.e., Directorate and Steering Committee). The Director and the Vice-Director will represent the two major subjects, Ecology and Evolution, respectively, in alternating terms. Tasks of the Directorate include
  • To represent the VDSEE vis-à-vis the faculty, the faculty conference and the study conference, the rectorate and to the outside world (incl. public relations);
  • To negotiate, oversee and manage the budget of the VDSEE;
  • To call in and chair the meetings of the VDSEE’s bodies as outlined;
  • To oversee the compliance of the members of VDSEE with the Code of Good Practice as well as the governance rules.
  • Steering Committee (SC)
    consits of the Directorate and four additional PIs (two from each pillar, ecology and evolution) and four Student Representatives. The PI SC members will be elected for two years by the PIP and can be re-elected for another two-year term. The Student Representatives will be eleceted by the VDSEE student body and will serve a two-year term.  The SC shall reflect the diversity of the Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution.

The SC will be responsible for the administrative and managerial tasks such as acceptance/approval of the PhD students, the annual budgetpplan and its distribution, and the annual VDSEE report. Further tasks and responsibilities include taking strategic decision concerning the future development of VDSEE, deciding about upcoming VDSEE events, proposing and electing SAB, conflict solving and appionting juries. The SC will meet at least twice per semester.

  • Principal Investigator Panel (PIP)
    consists of all Principal Investigators (PIs) being member of the VDSEE. The PIs contribute to the teaching program of the Doctoral School and help to organise retreats, symposia, etc. Tasks of PIs include:
  • To propose initiatives to the SC;
  • To give feedback to the strategic plans of the VDSEE as proposed by the SC;
  • To nominate the Director and the Vice -Director;
  • To propose and to elect the SAB;
  • To elect the Steering Committee.
  • Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)
    Usually, only members of the PIP can be part of a TAC for the individual PhD student. However, if necessary due to a lack of adequate scientific expertise within the PIP, also one out of the three members of the TAC can be appointed from an external institution, beyond the PIs having associated status.
  • Student Representatives
    consists of four PhD students of VDSEE (2 from each field Ecology and Evolution) and are part of the Steering Committee and are elected from the PhD students in the Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution.
  • External Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)
    consists of four renowned international scientists in the fields of ecology and evolution. They will accompany the VDSEE for four years. Their term may be prolonged for two additional years. The SAB will advise the Directorate in all management aspects and provide feedback to quality control, support of collaborative interactions and decision-making processes. The SAB shall visit the VDSEE every other year at the occasion of the annual retreat with all PhD students, PIs and associated PIs.
  • Executive Manager
    assists the Directorate and supports all students. She is responsible for all management aspects, i.e., organisation of conferences, internal and external communication, budget management, organisation of the advertisements and selection procedures, collection and survey of progress reports, preparation of reports to the SAB and Rectorate.

She is the first point of contact for PhD students in all technical, administrative or other questions in the context of the doctorate. She also ensures regular coordination with the administrative units within the university, e.g. the StudyServiceCenter and/or Center for Doctoral Studies.


  • We strive for consensus on all votes in all bodies. If this is not possible, a simple majority will be used for votes. In case of absences, body members are entitled to vote, others can be authorized to vote by proxy.

  • The Code of Good Practice for Doctoral Schools provides guidelines for good practice that are binding for all members of the Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution. It includes the responsibilities of the directors, supervisors and as well as the responsibilities of doctoral candidates.