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Overview

The Doktoratskolleg (DK) Molecular Enzymology is an international PhD program for the molecular biosciences. The program is offered jointly by the following two universities

Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (KFUG)

Technische Universität Graz (TUG)

In 2013 the Molecular Enzymology training grant was successfully renewed for another three years of funding by the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF). The DK hosts currently 15 junior and senior investigators. The laboratories of the participating groups are located at various sites on the campus of the University of Graz, including the newly constructed campus for molecular biosciences (ZMB) and the Graz University of Technology, including the Kplus Center Applied Biocatalysis. A network of cooperation between the groups fosters cross-disciplinary interactions.

The DK Molecular Enzymology aims to provide outstanding scientific training to exceptional young scientists in different areas of the molecular biosciences, including bioorganic chemistry. Dissertation research is interdisciplinary and embedded within integrated project areas that aim to understand the molecular structures, mechanisms and the cellular functions of enzymes important to very broad aspects of biology. Moreover, research objectives include the discovery of novel enzymes and the exploitation of these and known enzymes for biotechnological applications.

Excellence in original research is by far the most important determinant for the quality of doctoral education. Our aim is to offer a coordinated training program for PhD students in close connection to the research activities of an inter-university consortium of scientists working in the molecular biosciences. The faculty of this consortium has successfully obtained a series of collaborative grants to support a well-integrated interdisciplinary program of research. That infrastructure includes the SFB LIPOTOX, the GENAU-network GOLD: Genomics of Lipid-Associated Disorders (began 2002), the Kplus Center Applied Biocatalysis (began 2002), the National Research Network AGING and two past projects: the SFB Biocatalysis (1993 - 2003) and the SFB Biomembranes (1995 - 2006).

Based on these areas of expertise, dissertation research within the program addresses questions relevant to cellular lipid metabolism, biocatalysis, or enzyme mechanisms and cellular functions in broader aspects of biology. The program is interdisciplinary in nature with prominent contributions from

biochemistry
biotechnology
molecular and cellular biology
microbiology
pharmacology
organic chemistry
structural biology

Applications to the program are accepted once a year, typically till January, (admissions). Look for our announcements here and in Nature. Student enrollment reached 150 in 2016, after more than 1000 young people from 32 countries applied for positions affiliated with the Molecular Enzymology program.

The DK follows operational recommendations published by higher education agencies (UK Quality Assurance Agency) and (IUBMB). The original research component has the highest priority but laboratory work is supplemented by seminars, local and international laboratory training courses, and participation in international conferences. Intensive workshop programs in research related skills such as research ethics, authorship and plagiarism, scientific communication, research financing, career development, and finally professional coaching in leadership skills and personal management are emphasized for excellent science training as well as preparation for careers as future research leaders (Summer School 2007).

The FWF training grant covers the costs of salaries, laboratory consumables, training activities and research stays of at least 6 months duration at collaborating laboratories within the international community. Generous financial support from the University of Graz and the Graz University of Technology (through the inter-university NAWI-Graz program), the County of Styria, and the City of Graz increase the number of positions available for students in the program and enhance the Programís course offerings and training activities in addition to the project-related PhD research (sponsors).

 

What does "DK" mean?

"DK" is an abbreviation for the German word Doktoratskolleg, meaning an association of PhD students. Specifically, this term is used by the Austrian Science Fund for a funding instrument intended to support large-scale research networks devoted to the training of PhD students.

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