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The PhD programme which is starting in March 2011 incorporates both theoretical and practical components. The theoretical component consists of four courses, all created specifically for this programme and tuned to its interdisciplinary nature. Three courses (Lecture series, CogBio seminar and Journal Club) are held on a weekly basis per semester, throughout the programme; one course (the ‘hot topics’ PhD retreat) takes place on two and a half consecutive days over one weekend, and held once a year. Completion of these courses is obligatory for all PhD students. Exceptions for participating includes visits to other labs, scientific meetings, field research and research stays abroad. e-Learning and CSCW are integral parts of all lectures and courses emerging from the programme.

The more flexible practical component is characterized by multiple options: students can choose between several courses and workshops offered at the University of Vienna to develop mastery in various research methods pertaining to the specific research topic(s) or for training of complementary skills. Additionally, students can acquire a wide range of skills and key competences by participating in lab-rotations (2-6 weeks, between faculty members and/or international partners) and international training courses such as summer schools and workshops before/after conferences. Such options are possible at any time, but need to be agreed with the supervisory committee.

In addition to the considerable local resources available to students in or around Vienna, research stays abroad up to six months are encouraged. These may include visits to field sites and/or labs of international collaboration partners.

At the end of the third year, the students organize a conference (two days) on a topic nominated and agreed by the students with oversight by the faculty, with oral presentations and posters by the students and invited guest speakers, to practise organizational skills, academic networking, and to present the outcome of their research.

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