Guidelines & Procedures

The information in these pages is designed to help you - a Vienna BioCenter PhD Program student - to orientate yourself in the program. It is particularly helpful to those that have just arrived and wish to acquaint themselves with the rules of the programme, how to enrol at the University of Vienna and it also gives guidance on the official forms and procedures.

We have tried to make this information as clear and accurate as possible, and intend to update when necessary. However, procedures and links may change and we would therefore appreciate your feedback if there is anything that is unclear or if something is out of date.

General Information and Forms

Throughout their PhD students are expected to:

  • Develop their PhD Projects
  • Assess and revise their progress themselves and together with their supervisor
  • Actively participate in Monday Seminars, journal clubs, and group meetings.

Month 1-6

  • Register with the University of Vienna
  • Attend Priming your PhD course
  • Write thesis proposal, including timeline
  • Establish a thesis advisory committee (TAC) & organise first meeting
  • Submit thesis proposal and relevant forms to the University of Vienna

Month 6-18

  • Present first Monday Seminar
  • Organise and hold the second TAC meeting
  • Submit Annual Report and TAC report

Month 18-33

  • Present second Monday Seminar
  • Organise and hold the third TAC meeting
  • Submit Annual Report and TAC report

Month 33-48

  • Present third Monday Seminar
  • Write and submit PhD thesis, organize PhD defense
  • Write and submit PhD thesis and organize the PhD defense

A copy of each form (pdf) has to be submitted to the Student Reminder Programme. The originals are to be handed-in to Gerlinde Aschauer (Uni. Vienna, Max Perutz Labs Building)

All students need to apply for admission in the Life Sciences at the University of Vienna (note that the processing of your application can take several weeks). Please visit the PhD student lounge for general guidelines and information on curricular and administrative aspects of your PhD. 

You can apply online, throughout the year, via u:space.

Please note that you have to renew your enrolment every semester (Winter semester: 1 Oct - 28 Feb; Summer semester: 1 Mar - 30 Sep).

Checklist for Progress Review

This checklist is designed to help you independently assess your progress in different areas of your PhD and to guide discussions with the supervisor during mentoring meetings and TAC meetings:

First year Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

Six months after the start of your contract, you will have assembled a Thesis Advisory Committee and set a date for your first TAC meeting (also referred as Public presentation).

Take this opportunity to think about which direction(s) you want to explore in your project, and set clear goals and objectives. Additionally, schedule a mentoring meeting before your TAC meeting and shape your personal development goals for the PhD together with your supervisor. In this way you can make the most of out of the TAC meeting, receiving feedback about the scientific project and your personal development.

Here are the templates and forms relevant for the first year TAC:

       To be uploaded to the STREP system two weeks before the first TAC meeting.

       Confidentiality agreement for external TAC members (not IMP/IMBA/GMI/Max Perutz Labs).

       This agreement is mandatory for IMP/IMBA PhD Students. 

       To be filled by TAC Chair during the meeting. 

After the meeting, upload the report to the STREP system and hand in to Gerlinde the University forms for the approval of the thesis project.


Annual Thesis Advisory Committees

Every year after the first TAC, you will schedule a TAC meeting to report your progress and receive feedback on your scientific project and career development plan.

Here the templates and forms relevant for the annual TAC:

       To be uploaded to the STREP system two weeks before the first TAC meeting.

       To be filled by TAC Chair during the meeting. 


After the meeting, upload the report to the STREP system and hand in to Gerlinde the University form

The student is responsible for managing all bureaucratic interactions with the University, with assistance from the PhD Coordinator and University officials. The supervisor and the student will work together to ensure that the doctoral thesis meets laboratory and university standards and is completed within the duration of the PhD contract.

Writing the thesis is a learning experience in its own, and this may require a significant investment of time. Supervisors will help with the quick completion of the thesis by giving feedback to written work in a timely fashion. It is important to note that certain requirements will take some time to complete so students should initiate them well in advance.

You can find detailed information on the administrative procedures at the following University of Vienna website: here

Each student in the Vienna BioCenter PhD Program presents his/her work once a year at the Monday seminar, held on Mondays from 12.30 - 13.30 in the IMP lecture hall. These are attended by other PhD students, post docs and members of the faculty.

As soon as you join as a student a seminar will be scheduled for you here.

The purpose of Monday seminars

The scientific world demands effective communication. The ability to give a good presentation and convey ideas succinctly is built up through a lot of practice as well as constructive criticism. In summary, the benefits of the Monday seminars are two-fold. One, this is essential in the academic development of a PhD student, and two, it helps to nourish an intellectually stimulating environment at the Biocenter.

Useful facts

Speakers are responsible for the organization of a chairperson. The role of the chairperson is the same as in any scientific meeting: To lead the discussion, make sure the speaker keeps to time and for asking a question (in moments of silence). In addition, he/she will briefly introduce the speaker.

The time for each presentation is 15 min (plus 5 minutes for discussion). No overtime will be tolerated. It is the job of the chair to look after this. Also please remember that you have a multidisciplinary audience, i.e. do not save time by shortening the introduction. 

Changes (to the schedule) can only be made under exceptional circumstances – “lack of data” will not be accepted as an excuse. All changes have to be approved by Manuela Steurer at the IMP (ext. 3002). 

Faculty will stay behind after each Monday’s session together with the speakers to give specific feedback on the seminar and to discuss the presentation style.


  • Be selective: pick one project out of the many you may have
  • Techniques should be kept to an absolute minimum
  • Be simple, clear and precise
  • Remember that your target audience comes from a broad scientific background
  • Rough guide: 7min intro, 7min results/conclusions, 1min future plans
  • Remember the 3 Ps: Preparation, Planning and Practice

When Vienna BioCenter PhD Program students are listed as authors the program should be listed as a second affiliation as in the following example:

Doe, John1,2

1. Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) + necessary address details

2. Vienna BioCenter PhD Program, Doctoral School of the University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna, A-1030, Vienna, Austria