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Founding Declaration

I. INTRODUCTION

The Doctoral Academy Graz is the central institution for the support of doctoral researchers at the University of Graz.  

The Doctoral Academy provides an institutional framework in the field of structured doctoral education for internationally oriented and third-party funded research groups consisting of doctoral researchers and faculty members (hereinafter referred to as Consortia).

As a competence centre for doctoral training, the Doctoral Academy offers services and information for all doctoral researchers and thesis supervisors, regardless of their affiliation with a Consortium.

The curricular requirements of the doctoral programmes as well as the statutory part of the study regulations of the University of Graz serve as a legal basis for the Doctoral Academy.

The Doctoral Academy reflects the diversity of research carried out at the University of Graz and provides Consortia of all faculties, upon fulfilment of the admission criteria (see section 13), with a platform for inter-faculty and interdisciplinary cooperation.

As an umbrella body for structured doctoral education and as competence centre for doctoral training at the University of Graz, the Doctoral Academy strives to establish contacts with similar institutions at home and abroad. Concerning Consortia, active collaboration with doctoral groups from other universities in Austria and abroad is explicitly encouraged, with the total size of the Consortium (incl. doctoral researchers of the partner institutions) being crucial for the admission to the Doctoral Academy. Funding by the Doctoral Academy for inter-university Consortia is primarily available to faculty members and doctoral researchers of the University of Graz, however, in justified individual cases, it can also be offered to other parties.

External funding sources (Austrian Science Fund, EU, etc.) contribute significantly to the financing of doctoral researchers in the Consortia. If required, cooperation with non-university partners is possible, provided that the quality criteria of the Doctoral Academy are met.

II. OBJECTIVES

Support of Doctoral Researchers in Consortia
The Consortia of the Doctoral Academy Graz offer their doctoral researchers a research-intensive environment with additional educational elements that go beyond the standard curriculum. Targeted international recruitment combined with financial support, high-quality research training, promotion of mobility and additional qualification opportunities for subject-specific and general transferable skills are among the cornerstones of the Academy.

Services for all Doctoral Researchers and Thesis Supervisors
The Doctoral Academy offers the following services for all doctoral researchers and thesis supervisors of the University of Graz: information on doctoral studies, funding opportunities, Good Scientific Practice, events for doctoral researchers. Everyone interested in pursuing a doctorate or having questions concerning doctoral training may contact the Doctoral Academy for the arrangement of a personal consultation.

Equal Opportunities
The Doctoral Academy provides measures and support offers to contribute to equal opportunities in the early stages of research careers. The Academy puts a particular focus on equal opportunities regarding gender, social background, (enforced) international mobility, care responsibilities and disabilities/chronic illnesses.

Office of Ombudspersons
The Office of Ombudspersons of the Doctoral Academy offers independent and non-partisan counselling and mediation. The ombudspersons are experienced researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds who follow the principles of strict confidentiality, independence, and neutrality.

Fields of Excellence
The Doctoral Academy strongly endorses the application of Consortia that have a research focus close to one or more fields of excellence or research networks of the University.

Publication Strategy
The doctoral researchers of the Doctoral Academy produce high-quality publications. Publications by doctoral researchers are documented by the Doctoral Academy and made available on the university’s research portal.

National Networks
The Doctoral Academy supports the participation of its doctoral researchers in lab rotations at Austrian universities. Funding is granted by the Rector’s Office on recommendation from the Director of the Doctoral Academy and in accordance with the available resources.

Internationalisation
The Doctoral Academy supports doctoral researchers’ research visits abroad. Requests for such subsidies may be submitted to the Doctoral Academy by the spokesperson of the Consortium. Funding for research visits abroad is granted by the Rector’s Office on recommendation from the Director of the Doctoral Academy and in accordance with the available resources.

The Doctoral Academy funds selected courses which are offered solely for doctoral researchers. The Consortia may submit proposals for such courses to the Doctoral Academy. Funding of courses is granted by the Rector’s Office on recommendation from the Director of the Doctoral Academy and in accordance with the available resources.

Work contracts of doctoral researchers funded by the Doctoral Academy contain the opportunity to teach a course within the three years of the duration of the contract.

Transferable Skills
The Doctoral Academy offers doctoral researchers on-demand and tailor-made opportunities to acquire general transferable skills and organises events to support early-stage researchers.

Event Participation and Organisation
The Doctoral Academy supports the active participation of its doctoral researchers in academic events (talks/presentations) as well as its Consortia’s’ participation in subject-specific workshops, guest lectures, joint seminars, conferences, summer schools, etc. Doctoral researchers and Consortia may submit proposals for such events and activities to the Academy. Funding for events and activities is granted by the Rector’s Office on recommendation from the Director of the Doctoral Academy and in accordance with the available resources.

Doctoral Programmes
Doctoral Programmes, established by the Rector’s Office and not identical with Consortia may receive funding for academic events if the funding criteria are met. Funding is granted by the Rector’s Office on recommendation from the Director of the Doctoral Academy and in accordance with the available resources.

III. LEGAL & ORGANISATIONAL FRAMEWORK

The Doctoral Academy is fully subject to all internal university regulations and directives.

The Rector’s Office establishes the inter-faculty Doctoral Academy in accordance with section 19 of the Organisational Plan of the University of Graz. The Doctoral Academy reports to the Vice-Rector responsible for early-stage researcher support. The Doctoral Academy is represented by an authorized Director and a Deputy Director and consists of the Consortia, the Internal Advisory Board and the External Advisory Board.
A coordination team is responsible for the high-quality implementation of the objectives and tasks of the Doctoral Academy, taking into account the requirements established by the Rector’s Office.

The Rector’s Office appoints a Director on the recommendation of the Internal Advisory Board.
The Director is responsible for the management of academic and economic affairs of the Doctoral Academy as well as its external representation. For legal transactions on behalf and on account of the University of Graz, according to section 28 of the Universities Act in conjunction with the Authorisation Directive of the University of Graz, the Rector grants the Director of the Doctoral Academy or his/her Deputy authorisation.
The Rector’s Office appoints a Deputy Director based on a recommendation made by the Director of the Doctoral Academy. In the case of a long-term absence of the Director of the Academy the Deputy acts as Director of the Academy until an interim or new Director is appointed.

Doctoral researchers are recruited internationally.

The standards for the publication of vacancies for academic staff (pre-docs) apply. In addition to general databases such as EURAXESS, open positions will be advertised via organisations, platforms and databases specialised in the respective field of research.

All doctoral researchers of a Consortium of the Doctoral Academy are funded. The duration of employment is three to four years. The level of employment amounts to at least 50% (target 75%).

At least 50% of the doctoral researchers in a Consortium are financed by externally-evaluated funded projects (FWF, EU etc.). As a rule, every doctoral supervisor has at least one externally-funded doctoral researcher.

The Doctoral Academy funds a maximum of 50% of doctoral researchers in a Consortium, who are not supported by externally-evaluated third-party projects (Austrian Science Fund, EU, etc.). These doctoral researchers are selected according to subject-specific, international standards.

Consortia that exclusively consist of doctoral researchers that are financed by externally funded projects may receive reimbursement for training expenses and non-monetary resources from the Doctoral Academy.

Allocations of doctoral positions or training expenses and non-monetary resources are made by the Rector’s Office on recommendation from the Director of the Academy and in accordance with the available resources.

Doctoral researchers of the Doctoral Academy remain associated with the respective departments of the University of Graz in relation to their official research, teaching and administrative duties and are subject to the directives of the respective head of department or organisational unit.

Internal Advisory Board
The Internal Advisory Board advises and supports the management of the Doctoral Academy and the Rector’s Office and makes recommendations on strategic agendas, the admission of new Consortia, the preparation of the annual programme and the potential replacement of the Director of the Doctoral Academy. It is convened at least once a year by the Vice-Rector responsible for the Doctoral Academy.
The Internal Advisory Board consists of the Research Deans or other representatives of the Dean’s Offices, the spokespersons of the Consortia and a maximum of two representatives of the doctoral researchers of the Doctoral Academy. Once the number of Consortia exceeds twenty, it may be necessary to limit the number of spokespersons on the Internal Advisory Board. The Internal Advisory Board is chaired by the Vice-Rector responsible for the Doctoral Academy; as deputy chairperson acts a second member of the Rector’s Office, either the Vice-Rector for Research or the Vice-Rector for Studies and Teaching.

External Advisory Board
The External Advisory Board advises the management of the Doctoral Academy as well as the Rector’s Office as regards matters concerning strategic orientation. It consists of six international experts, who ideally have a broad subject expertise, and convenes once a year at the invitation of the Vice-Rector responsible for the Doctoral Academy and the Director of the Doctoral Academy. The term of membership of the External Advisory Board is four years.

Composition of a consortium
A Consortium is composed of the Faculty (doctoral supervisors) and the doctoral researchers. A spokesperson represents the Consortium externally. The names of members of the Faculty and the doctoral researchers of a Consortium are published on the website of the Doctoral Academy. Changes in the membership of a Consortium must be reported to the Director of the Doctoral Academy immediately.
For regulations concerning inter-university Consortia see section 3.

Minimum number of doctoral researchers per Consortium
A Consortium of the Doctoral Academy consists of ten doctoral researchers (recommended number), however, should comprise at least seven doctoral researchers.

Minimum size of Faculty and supervisor-doctoral researcher ratio
The Faculty of a Consortium consists of at least five members, who usually supervise two doctoral researchers each.

High-quality training programme
In order to ensure research-intensive and future-oriented training, the following elements should be considered: ensuring regular exchanges between members of the Faculty and doctoral researchers; ensuring regular exchanges between the doctoral researchers; fostering international relations (research visits, joint seminars, external peers); promoting the participation in activities of the scientific community (publications, organisation of/participation in conferences, guest lectures, summer schools, etc.); participating in the activities not only of the Consortiums but also in the activities organised by the respective department/research centre, the research network, and the field of excellence; offering opportunities to acquire general transferable skills.

Language and international links
The language of business of the Doctoral Academy is English. Other working languages may be used within a Consortium if justified.

Application manual and guidelines
A detailed list of application guidelines will be published in the form of a separate manual for applying Consortia.

The Rector’s Office decides if a Consortium is admitted to the Doctoral Academy.

Consortia approved by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) or other funding agencies with similar evaluation procedures do not have to undergo the quality-control process of the Doctoral Academy.

Applications from Consortia that have not already been evaluated and approved by the FWF or other funding agencies are audited by the Internal Advisory Board based on the guidelines in section 13 and the application manual. Following examination of the application, the Internal Advisory Board makes a recommendation to the Rector’s Office. In justified cases, an external peer-review process may be initiated by the Rector’s Office on the recommendation of the Internal Advisory Board.

The Director of the Doctoral Academy will communicate the Rector’s Office’ decision to the applying Consortium in a standardised form.

Deadlines: Applications are possible throughout the year. Applications will be discussed in the next Internal Advisory Board meeting taking place after the application.

The Rector’s Office decides upon awarding the status as candidate Consortium.

Prerequisite for becoming a candidate Consortium is the fulfilment of parts of the admission criteria as well as a concise plan to apply for third-party projects to be able to meet not only parts but all admission criteria in the foreseeable future.

The conditions and procedures for being awarded with the candidate status will be published in the form of a separate manual.

The membership of a Consortium in the Doctoral Academy ends when for a period of longer than a year the membership criteria are not met and, further, when there is no strategy on behalf of the Consortium to meet the membership criteria in the foreseeable future.

Possible reasons for ending the Academy membership are discussed in a meeting of the speaker of the Consortium, the Director and/or the Deputy Director of the Doctoral Academy. The Director of the Doctoral Academy informs the Vice-Rector responsible for the Doctoral Academy of the outcome of the meeting.

The Rector’s Office decides on ending the membership of a Consortium. The Director of the Doctoral Academy informs the Consortium that its membership in the Academy will expire at the end of the respective semester at the latest.

The Doctoral Academy is authorised and obliged to use the university infrastructure such as the Human Resources Department, Accounting Department, University Library System and general administrative departments (Buildings and Equipment, Uni IT including High Performance Computing facilities offered by the Uni IT).

Further support has to be included in the target agreement with the Rector’s Office.

Financial support as well as the provision of resources to the Doctoral Academy have to be agreed upon as part of the performance agreements between the University of Graz and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and be limited to the duration of the performance agreement.

In the case of an impending budgetary deficit, the Director of the Doctoral Academy must inform the Rector’s Office immediately and submit a coherent recovery plan.

The Director of the Doctoral Academy has to present an annual report to the Rector’s Office.

After the successful evaluation of its first five-year term, the Rector’s Office decided to continue the Doctoral Academy and incorporated it into the development plan.

The Doctoral Academy is fully subject to the quality management of the University of Graz.

Admitted Consortia are evaluated regularly every four years.

The revised version of the Founding Declaration commences on the day following its publication in the bulletin of the University of Graz.

Contact

Doctoral Academy Graz

Halbärthgasse 6/I
8010 Graz

Phone:+43 316 380 - 1212


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