In recent years, Vienna has become an important center for comparative behavioral and cognitive research, with a strong and growing research focus on cognitive biology. The Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the University of Vienna and the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna have supported this development, by funding a multi-level, integrative and fully paid PhD training program on Cognition and Communication in humans and non-human animals.

The goal is to train graduate students to conduct interdisciplinary research into cognition from a biological viewpoint, with a focus on how animals including humans solve real-world problems, such as dealing with conspecifics in daily social life. Communication is studied as an important window into cognition, allowing us to design experiments testing specific hypotheses developed through an innovative combination of field observations and experiments, and laboratory work on humans and other animals.

The trainees learn to study animal and human behavior in a variety of cognitive and ethological frameworks in both the laboratory and in the field and work with a diversity of species including amphibians (frogs), reptiles (crocodilians), birds (e.g., doves, corvids, parrots, bower birds, bald ibises, Darwin finches), elephants, pigs, rats, canines (wolves and dogs), humans (including brain imaging), and nonhuman primates (marmosets). The language of the doctoral program is English.

The PhD positions are enrolled at the University of Vienna, Dept. of Cognitive Biology (7 positions), and at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (3 positions). Supervision is in the hands of 10 internationally respected scientists, supported by a coordinator. 

The first CogCom program took place from 2011 to 2015, the second is currently ongoing (2017 to 2021).