About the program

The goal of this program is to give the candidates a comprehensive education in many aspects of optimization including modeling, theory and implementation. Each candidate will have two supervisors (in some cases we may include additional co-supervisors) from the participating scientists, including the associated faculty. In the regular research seminar organized by the supervisors the collegiates inform about their most recent research and propose synergies with other faculty members. The attendance to these seminars as well as to the end-of-semester conferences is compulsory for all collegiates. 

It is intended to cover by the research topics the broad scope of Theory-Algorithms-Applications. In addition to the main scientific goals, other skills will be trained such as efficient literature search, writing scientific papers, presentation of results, the transformation of mathematical ideas into working algorithms, understanding the peculiar problems of application areas and putting them into a mathematical formulation.

In addition, the collegiates will be exposed to teaching activities at the respective institutions, mostly for exercises at the undergraduate level (e.g. 2 hours per week so that the main scientific work is not affected by the teaching effort).  We strongly believe that the teaching experience will help the collegiates in their future career. However, since the teaching budget comes from the respective universities, the ultimate decision on teaching depends on the corresponding decision makers at the local institutions. 

Within the three-year program, we offer the students about 12 two-week intensive courses on various topics of optimization. While the candidates will (and must) finish their PhD studies under the respective rules of their home institution (Faculty of Mathematics, U Vienna; Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics, U Vienna; Faculty of Computer Science, U Vienna;  TU Vienna; IST Austria), which are quite different in their requirements, there will be some common rules applying to all of them.

The total program comprises (as all 3-year PhD programs) 180 ECTS-points. The intensive two-weeks courses count for 8 ECTS points each, and every candidate has to successfully attend at least 6 out of 12 of these courses. The successful attendance of the seminars will add another 32 points and the rest is attributed to the dissertation and its defense. Due to the diversity in regulations, there may be different ECTS points attributed to the dissertation.

The selection of courses is based on an individual agreement between the candidate and the supervisors (Dissertationsvereinbarung). Every collegiate will get the possibility to spend at least a couple of weeks at a foreign university. For those who decide to spend at least one semester abroad, the funding period extends from 3 years to 3.5 years.