The goal of the ISTA PhD program is to produce intellectually broad, curious, open-minded scientists who can approach problems from different angles and collaborate with diverse types of scientists. To this end, our students complete an innovative interdisciplinary training program consisting of both research and taught elements, and receive close mentoring by world-class faculty from different disciplines.

Required Degree: Bachelor or Master in relevant field

Biology: Biochemistry
Biology: Biophysics
Biology: Cell and Developmental Biology
Biology: Evolutionary Biology
Biology: Genetics and Genomics
Biology: Quantitative Biology
Biology: Structural Biology
Biology: Systems Biology
Chemistry: Biochemistry
Chemistry: Catalysis
Chemistry: Electrochemistry
Chemistry: Inorganic Chemistry
Chemistry: Materials Chemistry
Chemistry: Organic Chemistry
Chemistry: Photochemistry
Chemistry: Physical Chemistry
Chemistry: Supramolecular Chemistry
Chemistry: Theoretical Chemistry
Computer Science: Algorithms and Complexity
Computer Science: Cryptography and Security
Computer Science: Formal Methods and
Programming Languages
Computer Science: Machine Learning & AI
Computer Science: Scientific Computing and
Computer Graphics
Computer Science: Software, Distributed, and
Embedded Systems
Data Science: Bioinformatics
Data Science: Modeling
Data Science: Numerical Simulation
Data Science: Statistics
Data Science: Topological Data Analysis
Mathematics: Algebra / Representation Theory
Mathematics: Analysis and Differential Equations
Mathematics: Discrete Mathematics
Mathematics: Geometry / Topology
Mathematics: Mathematical Biology
Mathematics: Mathematical Physics
Mathematics: Number Theory
Mathematics: Probability Theory
Neuroscience: Biochemistry
Neuroscience: Cellular Neuroscience
Neuroscience: Computational/Theoretical
Neuroscience: Developmental Neuroscience
Neuroscience: Molecular Neuroscience
Neuroscience: Structural Neuroscience
Neuroscience: Systems Neuroscience
Neuroscience: Translational Neuroscience
Physics: Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics
Physics: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Physics: Extragalactic Astrophysics
Physics: High Energy Astrophysics
Physics: Stellar Physics
Physics: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Physics: Biophysics
Physics: Complex Systems
Physics: Condensed Matter Physics
Physics: Computational Materials Science
Physics: Fluid Dynamics / Turbulence
Physics: Materials Science
Physics: Mathematical Physics
Physics: Nanotechnology
Physics: Numerical Simulation
Physics: Optical Imaging
Physics: Quantum Physics
Physics: Soft Matter
Physics: Statistical Physics
Physics: Superconductivity
Physics: Ultrafast Optics

6 PhD Positions in the field of Transition Metal-catalytic Methodologies for Organic Synthesis

We ask you to upload the following documents to the application portal:

  • CV
  • Statement of Purpose (SoP) The Statement of Purpose is an important part of your application. In it, please share with us anything that prepares you for graduate-level research. For instance, you can describe your past research projects, motivation, skills, and background relevant to the research areas and groups you selected on the application form. Try to be as specific as possible about your experiences, with an emphasis on the technical skills you master. Please structure your Statement of Purpose by first addressing the general points above, and finish by addressing the following specific questions:
    1. An important goal of the first year in the Graduate School is to find an academic home by affiliating with a research group. Taking into account that a successful affiliation does not depend only on your own preferences, you might consider multiple options. Based on your research interests and background, which group(s) would be relevant for you, in what order, and why? Please specify up to three research groups at ISTA’
    2. During the first year in the Graduate School, you need to complete three rotations in three research groups. Explain which groups you would choose and why. The Graduate School encourages students to consider one rotation outside of their field of expertise; should you decide to explore this option, which research group would you consider and why?
  • University transcripts and diplomas of all degree programs and all years you have attended and/or are currently enrolled in (in English and in original language)
  • Contact information of 3 referees who can assess your academic and research performance

All documents have to be submitted in English and copies of university transcripts also in their original language.

Instructions – Overview and Timeline
The application portal will be available in the application period only (2nd half of October to January 8). To apply to the PhD program of ISTA you have to create an online account, which will allow you to track your application through its various stages.
You do not need to complete the application process in one session. You can return to your account
and save your application as often as you like, up until you are ready to submit it.
We recommend using a desktop computer; performance on mobile devices such as tablets and
mobile phones cannot be guaranteed.
Read the FAQs carefully.
Step 1: Create an account
Register online by entering your e-mail and choosing a password. Note that the field is case-sensitive.
You will receive an e-mail with a link to confirm and finalize the registration of your user account immediately.
Step 2: Read the instructions
Read the instructions carefully to make sure you complete all steps and upload all necessary
documents. Consult the FAQs before sending an email.
Step 3: Enter application data
There are five parts to your application. Make sure that you click “Save” regularly before moving on
to a different section.
Step 4: Submit your application
Ensure that your application is complete and correct before submitting it. Once you have submitted
your application, you will not be able to make further changes.
The submission deadline for applicants is January 8, 2024, 03:00 PM CET. Referees need to submit
their recommendations by January 14, 2024, 11:59 PM CET. The deadline to change the details of
your referee is January 8, 2024 noon 03.00 PM CET. These deadlines are firm and extensions are not
granted. Beware of the time zone!
ISTA will only process complete and submitted applications; all others will not be reviewed.
If your application is incomplete (e.g., sections left blank, documents and/or references missing,
misspelled e-mail addresses of referees, and so on…), we will not contact you to inform you that it is
If there is an urgent matter regarding your application submission that is not addressed in the
instructions or FAQ, please contact our administrator at
Applicants should note that ISTA cannot answer telephoned queries. Please note that we receive a large
number of applications and a high volume of applicant inquiries as the deadline approaches. We aim
at answering all written inquiries within 48 hours during standard office hours (Mon – Fri 9 AM – 5
PM CET), but may take longer during peak times. Requests submitted outside these times and on the
weekend (Sat and Sun) will be answered on the next working day. Keep in mind that December 24-
26, Dec 31, Jan 1, and Jan 6 are public holidays in Austria.

All complete applications are forwarded to at least three different professors at ISTA, for scientific
review and evaluation.
The assignment is based on these criteria in descending order:
(1) name of a professor listed by the applicant
(2) based on the research interests indicated in the application; every professor is matched with
a predefined list of research fields; the research interests match, then the application is
assigned to the professor
(3) spread of the workload among professors; if the applicant indicated only very general
research interests, then the work load of each professor is taken into account as well. All
experts have the opportunity to add one or more experts to the application if they deemed
A bundle of indicators is used to evaluate the candidate regarding the applicant’s preparedness,
motivation, and potential. The following will be considered (in no particular order):
a. course performance overall, with a special focus on relevant field specific courses
b. reference letters provided by professors and scientists who have supervised the applicant in
an academic setting. One letter from a non-academic work environment is accepted, but
letters from an academic background should be given priority; referees are asked to address
analytical capabilities, technical proficiency, ability to work independently and
c. statement of purpose past research experience and motivation for applying to this particular
PhD program, is it a good academic fit, does the program contribute to the candidate’s future
career plans, etc.
d. additional relevant skills (field-specific) F.ex. demonstrated in internships and/or participation
in research projects, participation in science Olympiads, programming languages, lab
techniques, etc.
e. transferable skills F.ex. communication skills, experience with working in teams, previous
motilities and international experiences, leadership experience as demonstrated in student
organizations etc.
f. diversity F.ex. a woman in computer science/math/physics; an applicant who switched fields;

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by ISTA professors (March). Interviews will either be
conducted online OR onsite. Professors will decide whether to interview a candidate online or
remotely. Professors will decide whether to interview a candidate online or remotely.
Online interviews will take place in the first half of March. Onsite interviews will take place either in
the week of week Mar 18 OR Apr 1, 2024. In the case you are invited to onsite interviews we will
cover the travel costs, provide you with an invitation letter should you need a visa, and on-site
accommodation for the visit up to a maximum specified.
Shortlisted candidates will be assigned to 3-5 professors for interviews. The assignment is based on the
professors you listed in your application and wishes of professors, and overall time constraints.
Candidates can request early interviews (f.ex. if under time pressure from another institution). In that
case an online interview is the most likely interview mode.
Candidates who are designated for onsite interviews may request to switch to online interviews.
However, candidates who are designated for online interviews, will not be able to request to be
interviewed onsite.
The final selection committee takes place in the week after the interviews and the admission offer will go
out shortly thereafter. The deadline to accept or decline an offer is April 30

The application deadline is 8 January 2024 (15:00 CET) for entry in September 2024. Please note that reference letters need to be submitted by 14 January 2024 (23:59 CET). Late submissions will not be considered.

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