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Application Guidelines and frequently asked questions

When should one apply? NEW ROUND OF APPLICATION FOR 2017 NOW OPEN
Applications will be accepted from Dec15, 2016 until Jan 22,2017

Please follow the guidelines.

Who can apply for admission to the DK? Students of all nationalities are encouraged to apply. The language of instruction is English and applicants are expected to be highly proficient in this language. Applicants should hold a Masters degree (or equivalent degree) in biological sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, biotechnology, or a related discipline including a written Master thesis. Enrollment at either the University of Graz (KFUG) or the Graz University of Technology (TUG), requires that international students fulfill all eligibility requirements for entering a PhD program that normally apply in the country where they completed their Masters education. Candidates will be selected on a competitive basis. We are seeking talented and ambitious young scientists who are interested in pursing a research career. Candidates are selected without regard to sex, race or nationality.

Open positions: The DK Molecular Enzymology is currently accepting applications for 12 PhD Positions to begin in 2017. For information about the open positions and the supervisors involved see: projects
At least 2 positions will be dedicated to interdisciplinary research projects involving 2-3 supervisors in different fields of the molecular biosciences and bioorganic chemistry, depending on the applicant’s interests. Therefore please indicate in your application the research area(s) and supervisor(s) you are interested in!

Where and how should one apply?Applications will be accepted from December 15, 2016 – January 22, 2017 . Candidate seminars and interviews will be held in Graz the exact date will be announced (probably April or May). Accepted candidates may start their research projects as early as June.
Please send your application (in English!!) by email to Kristina Schild, the DK manager (kristina.schild@uni-graz.at). You should write the following text into the "subject" line of the mail in order to circumvent our spam filter:
"DK Molecular Enzymology: Application 2017"
The email should contain ONE attachement (if possible as pdf files) with the following items:
1. your CV
2. a description of your previous studies
3. a letter describing your scientific interests. Please mention the group you are interested in
4. names and email-addresses of at least two scientists who know you well enough to write a recommendation letter. We will contact your references for the recommendation.
5. any other information which you feel could improve your chance of acceptance.

Applications with more than one file and longer than 5 pages will not be accepted. Name your file as follows: AP_2017_last name, initial of first name (for example: AP_2017_SchildK). Please do NOT send your application to supervisors

Can I apply to more than one project? Yes, if you are interested in the work of more than one supervisor you can mention your interest for both groups in your letter of interest.

Can I apply if I have not yet finished my masters degree? Yes, provided it is clear that you will graduate within the next three months. The masters supervisor will have to confirm this in his/her letter of recommendation.

What advantages does the DK program have to offer? The DK Molecular Enzymology operates on the premise that the most significant factor assuring the quality of graduate student training is the excellence of the underlying research program. Accordingly the DK Molecular Enzymology was founded as an interdisciplinary graduate program that provides the academic complement to the strongest areas of biomolecular expertise in Graz, namely:

cellular lipid metabolism
enzyme mechanisms
and cellular functions in broader aspects of biology

Research activities in these areas are internationally renowned, well funded, and productively coordinated through several competitive, externally-financed collaborative research grants (FWF). Because of this long history of collaboration interaction among DK laboratories is extensive and synergistic. In pursuit of project objectives, DK students easily circulate within DK labs to access additional teams of researchers, expertise in methodologies, facilities or instruments outside of their home lab. DK students are employed for the duration of their training (3 to 4 yrs). Research stays abroad of 6 months or longer are expected and financed by the program, as is student participation in international research conferences, and graduate “summer school” courses. Discipline-specific and research-related training courses are offered by the DK and the host universities.

Is it necessary to know German to be eligible?No, it is not, the DK is an international program. However, students are expected to be fluent in English.

What is the salary which students accepted for the DK can expect? Students of the DK will receive the normal FWF salary for PhD students, which amounts to a net annual income (after deduction of taxes, health and pension insurance) of approximately EUR 20.500. Given the cost of living in Graz, this is not extravagant but sufficient for a decent living.

How long does it take to obtain a PhD for a DK student?Funding is initially granted for a period of three years, which will be a typical duration for the PhD thesis. Subject to the approval of the thesis committee, a fourth year can be added. Students who spend 6 months or longer in a laboratory abroad can extend their thesis to a maximum of four years.
Of course, the initial acceptance to the DK is not a blank check for three years salary, there is a constant monitoring of the performance of the student. In case the PhD committee is dissatisfied with a student's performance, it is obliged to take actions which - in extreme cases - may include a premature termination of the employment contract. Details for the function of the thesis committee can be found under "Courses of the DK".

What are the formal requirements a student has to fulfil in order to obtain a PhD?DK - students are enrolled at the University of Graz (KFUG) or at the Graz University of Technology (TUG) as PhD students, and they have to conform to the requirements of these universities. Basically, the university curricula require participation in a number of lecture courses (in fact, rather few, typically 2 hours per week) during the PhD work. At the end, the student has to submit a written thesis. After its approval, there is a PhD exam, which consists in a presentation of the thesis results by the student, followed by questions from two examiners. These questions almost always relate to the thesis work and its scientific background.

DK students are expected to plan and pursue a training program that goes beyond this "legal minimum" imposed by the university laws. As outlined under "Description of the DK", students take responsibility in organizing guest speakers and student initiated training events, they participate in all DK events, and contribute to the open laboratory policy of the consortium. Dissemination of scientific results is crucial to the program’s goals. Students are expected to report regularly to their thesis committees, to present annually at the DK Graduate seminar and to conclude their projects with publications in international journals. Publication is not a formal degree requirement, but an objective in the joint interest of the student, the supervisor and the DK. A key indicator of the quality of the program as a whole is the publication record of DK students.

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