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Founding Declaration

I. INTRODUCTION

The Doctoral Academy Graz provides an institutional framework for structured doctoral education including internationally funded doctoral colleges and programmes as well as research groups involving doctoral candidates (hereinafter referred to as Consortia). By establishing the Doctoral Academy, the University of Graz supports international initiatives for early-stage researchers, which are aimed at the promotion of excellent doctoral candidates within structured educational programmes. The curricular requirements of the respective doctoral studies as well as the statute of the study provisions 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 at the University of Graz, the Doctoral Academy strives to establish contacts with similar institutions at home and abroad. Active collaboration with Consortia from other universities at home and abroad is explicitly encouraged, with the total size of the Consortium (incl. doctoral candidates 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 candidates 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 candidates 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

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

Research core areas
The Doctoral Academy strongly endorses the application of Consortia that have a research focus close to one or more research core areas of the University.

Publication Strategy
The doctoral candidates of the Doctoral Academy produce high-quality publications. Publications by doctoral candidates are documented by the Doctoral Academy and made available on its website.

Internationalisation
The Doctoral Academy supports doctoral candidates’ 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 supports selected doctorate-specific taught modules. The Consortia may submit proposals for such modules to the Doctoral Academy. Funding of taught modules 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 lists the taught modules offered to doctoral candidates at the University of Graz in comprehensive form in order to provide doctoral candidates and international applicants with a complete overview of the existing range of modules.

The Doctoral Academy offers doctoral candidates on-demand and tailor-made opportunities to acquire general transferable skills. In addition, the Doctoral Academy supports selected events and activities. The 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. The Doctoral Academy supports the active participation of its doctoral candidates in events (talks/presentations) as well as its members’ participation in subject-specific workshops, guest lectures, joint seminars, conferences, summer schools etc. and publishes this on its website.

III. LEGAL & ORGANISATIONAL FRAMEWORK

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 for Research and Early-Stage Researchers’ Promotion in the Rector’s Office. The Doctoral Academy is represented by an authorized Director and consists of Consortia, an Internal Advisory Board and an External Advisory Board.

The administration of the Doctoral Academy, which is coordinated by Faculty and Student Services (Lehr- und Studienservices, LSS), follows high-quality university-management standards, which take into account the requirements established by the Rector’s Office.

n the three-year initial phase, the Doctoral Academy will be under the directorship of the Vice Rector for Research and Early-Stage Researchers’ Promotion. After the initial phase the Rector’s Office will appoint 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 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 candidates are recruited internationally.

The standards for the publication of vacancies for academic staff (prae-docs) apply. In addition to general databases such as EURAXESS, open positions will be advertised in certain professionally relevant organisations and databases.

All doctoral candidate members of a Consortium of the Doctoral Academy are financed. 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 candidates 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 candidate. The Doctoral Academy funds a maximum of 50% of doctoral candidates in a Consortium, who are not supported by externally-evaluated funded projects. These doctoral candidates are selected according to subject-specific, international standards.

Consortia that exclusively consist of doctoral candidates that are financed by externally funded projects 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 candidates 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 for Research and Early-Stage Researchers’ Promotion.

The Internal Advisory Board consists of the Research Deans or other representatives of the Dean’s Office, the spokespersons of the Consortia and a representative of the doctoral candidates of the Doctoral Academy. Once the number of Consortia exceeds twelve, 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 for Research and Early-Stage Researchers’ Promotion while the Vice-Rector for Studies and Teaching acts as deputy chairperson.

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 Director of the Doctoral Academy. The term of membership of the External Advisory Board is three years. In the first term, the membership of the External Advisory Board will be divided as follows: two members will have a membership term of three years, two of four and two of five years.

Composition of a Consortium
A Consortium is composed of the Faculty (doctoral supervisors) and the doctoral candidates. A spokesperson represents the Consortium externally. The names of members of the Faculty and the doctoral candidates 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 candidates per Consortium
A Consortium of the Doctoral Academy consists of ten doctoral candidates (recommended number), however, should comprise at least seven candidates.

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

High-quality training programme
In order to ensure research-intensive and future-oriented training, the following elements should be considered: completion of a supervision agreement outlining targets to be met by the doctoral candidate and the doctoral supervisor in the first year of study; ensuring regular exchanges between members of the Faculty and doctoral candidates; fostering international relations (research visits, joint seminars, external peers); promoting the participation in activities related to the scientific community (publications, organisation of/ participation in conferences, guest lectures, summer schools etc.); participating in the activities of the programme, as well as in the activities organised by the respective department/research centre; 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 management of the Doctoral Academy will communicate the Rector’s Office’ decision to the applying Consortium in a standardised form.

Deadlines: The annual application deadline is September 30th. The decision on the application will be communicated by December 31st .

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). 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 for Science, Research and Economy and be limited to the duration of the target 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.

The Doctoral Academy is limited to a term of five years.
The Doctoral Academy is fully subject to the quality management of the University of Graz. The first evaluation of the Doctoral Academy will take place before the end of term. The results of the evaluation will be discussed by the Director and the Rector’s Office in an implementation workshop. Admitted Consortia are evaluated regularly every four years.
After a positive initial evaluation, the Rector’s Office may decide to continue the Doctoral Academy. In case of the continuation of the Doctoral Academy, this has to be incorporated into development planning.

The five-year term commences on the day following the publication of the present Founding Declaration in the bulletin.

 

Contact

Doctoral Academy Graz

Halbärthgasse 6/I
8010 Graz

Phone:+43 (0)316 380 - 1212


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