Our educational program focuses on the mechanisms that maintain or break homeostasis and is designed to afford enough flexibility to provide our students with comprehensive training in all relevant disciplines through courses chosen from the official syllabus of both universities.

Core courses (mandatory):

Electives courses:

Further opportunities:

Quick Timeline:

Throughout their PhD, students will:

Month 1-6
Month 6-18
Month 18-33
Month 33-48

Great opportunities for scientific development

SMICH retreat and symposium

Once a year we will meet for retreat and once for a symposium. The SMICH retreat is a fantastic opportunity to present your work to you peers and to exchange ideas. Of course it is also a great opportunity to get to know your SMICH fellows better 🙂 The symposium will be organized by by you, the students, which allows you to train important soft skills as well as to invite and talk to interesting scientists from all over the world.

External conferences & workshops

As SMICH students you have a budget for workshops, conferences, and lab visits! Make use of it and look into exciting opportunities that would benefit your project, be proactive! Talk to your Program Manager if you have any questions.

4th year of funding

The FWF will cover the salary for the 4th year of PhD for SMICH students that visit a lab abroad for at least six months during the first 3.5 years of their PhD. Use this chance to also gain valuable experiences by visiting labs or workshops abroad. You will learn about new approaches and perspectives while meeting new people and broadening your horizon!


Prime your PhD – PyP

This three-week course takes place twice a year (in January and in Jun/July) and aims to prime skills that are essential for a successful PhD. In the course, our students will:

  • Develop their scientific reasoning skills by critically evaluating and integrating lectures, literature and data, and by keeping on top of new technologies and experimental approaches
  • improve their communication skills by practicing written and oral science communication strategies, but also and importantly by discussing strategies for interpersonal communication to strengthen the PhD student’s networking abilities and resourcefulness on campus 

Career development plan

This module is to prepare the student for successfully completing a PhD and move towards the next career step. It consists of semesterly one-on-one mentoring meetings with their supervisor (1 ECTS per semester) as well as a one-day workshop that teaches conflict, stress and time management, and professional development tools (1 ECTS).

Basic Introductory Course – BIC

The Basic Introductory Course bring all students up to speed with the science covered by SMICH, by providing both the theoretical background and the practical application of the advanced techniques we need.

Journal Club - JC

Journal clubs help you develop critical reading/thinking skills,  learn about new techniques, and find inspiration for your own future work. 

Work in - WiP

Work in progress meetings are th core component of the program, the one that keep our science interconnected. They keep you posted on the new data generated and on the experimental challenges faced by the consortium. And if you are the speaker, your fellow SMICH students and faculty will give you the best advice on how to drive your project forward – from.

Interdisciplinary Monday Seminar

The “Monday Seminar” features talk by PhD students and postdocs of all groups at the Vienna BioCenter. They are essential to maintain  an intellectually stimulating environment  and to foster collaborations on Campus. Find the current schedule here and more on the Vienna BioCenter webpage.

How do you do it?

Monthly meetings where students present their specific methods or pieces of equipment. This format wants to encourage students to learn from each other and to not only learn new techniques but also learn how to teach them. Slides will be uploaded on the expert user group platform.

Expert user Group

Online platform to discuss applications, troubleshooting, and further developments. This is also the platform where presentations that have taken place in the How do you do it? lectures will be uploaded. As it is open to all students and group leaders this should be a place of exchange where everybody can profit from the specific expertise in the program.


Is basically your personal scientific advisory board. The TAC members will monitor your progress and development and will provide advice and support to both you and your supervisor. Within the first 6 months, you will assemble a TAC and organize your first meeting.