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The Center for Doctoral Studies was founded to support all doctoral studies offered by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the University of Art and Design Linz, Upper Austria, for both PhD-candidates and their supervisors. It was newly established in March 2014 with the help of structural funds for universities provided for a period of three years by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, and it is located at the office of the Vice-Rector for Art | Research at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. The rising number of PhD-candidates enrolled at Austrian art universities, along with the enormous development of doctoral studies at such universities in recent years, have necessitated structural measures to accompany doctoral programs. The Center for Doctoral Studies thus serves as the new organizational interface that pools already existing activities and offers relating to our doctoral studies. Additionally, the Center develops new offers, triggers structural measures and coordinates initiatives shared by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the University of Art and Design Linz with regard to PhD studies.

Description of activities:

1. Information on Doctoral Studies

The Center for Doctoral Studies is developing an online information portal where information on all doctoral studies can be found, including a comprehensive FAQs section.

2. Competency Development for PhD Candidates, Visualization, Integration and Networking of PhD Candidates

For the purposes of developing competencies in PhD candidates, and of making young researchers and artists more visible, to integrate them and establish a network among them and with the researchers and artists working at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, regular events such as the Graduate Conference and the International Spring Symposia will be continued and organized centrally by the Center for Doctoral Studies.

The Graduate Conference, which takes place at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna twice a year, offers young Academy graduates the opportunity to present and discuss their dissertation, or an aspect thereof, in public. These presentations are not only regarded as a major contribution towards promoting the discussion of PhD theses and projects, but also trigger debates between disciplines which, in everyday Academy life, do not normally exchange ideas on a regular basis.

The International Spring Symposium hosted by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna takes place every other year. The first Spring Symposium was organized in the summer semester of 2013. It was created with the aim of creating a space for exchanging ideas with colleagues from other art or related universities. Young researchers from international art universities that offer PhD programs have the opportunity to present and discuss their dissertation projects beyond their respective institutional boundaries. The International Spring Symposium has a workshop character, which means that it focuses more on the exchange of ideas and on the joint discussion of content, text organization, methods etc. than on presenting or even defending any final research findings. The next International Spring Symposium is planned for early 2015.

Moreover, the Center for Doctoral Studies is working on the development of new, innovative workshops for PhD candidates, to enable them to acquire academic key competencies and for the optimal advancement and qualification of young artists.

3. Supervisor Peer Workshops

The Center for Doctoral Studies regularly organizes workshop meetings of dissertation supervisors as well as additional events relating to the supervision of doctoral candidates, if required. Such meetings, seminars and other events aim to develop a common understanding of "good practice" in supervising doctoral theses at art universities, and some of them are done in cooperation with the University of Art and Design Linz.

4. Grants for PhD Candidates

In the course of the implementation of the Hochschulraumstrukturmittel project (project for the structural funding of the Higher Education Area), two new types of grants have been designated for the duration of the project, starting in the academic year 2014/15: the Dissertation Completion Fellowship and the Travel Allowances for PhD-candidates. For more information, look here: Grants for PhD Candidates

5. Support of PhD Candidates in Applying for Grants

The Center for Doctoral Studies supports PhD candidates of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in drafting grant and research applications in cooperation with the Art | Research | Service. Doctoral candidates can make counselling appointments during office hours.

6. Publication of the Guideline "Handbook for Doctoral Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna"

During the three-year term of the project, the Center for Doctoral Studies will be the venue for the production and publication of the "Handbook for Doctoral Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna", which aims to serve as a good-practice guideline for both PhD candidates and their supervisors.