We are looking for highly qualified candidates to apply for the PhD program at ISTA.

2022-11-21: a cyberattack in late October/early November has affected all ISTA databases, including the application portal. We are working hard to get the portal back online. However we do not have a timeline when this will happen. If you have created an application, it is very likely that you will need to submit your documents again. We will adjust deadlines accordingly and will keep you posted here. 

Bachelor’s and Master’s Students Eligible to Apply

ISTA welcomes students with different academic backgrounds who can bring their skills and experiences to the scientific setting.

Students with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in biology, chemistry, neurosciencemathematicscomputer sciencephysics, data science and scientific computing and related areas are encouraged to apply.

How Do I Apply?

ISTA processes applications to its PhD program once a year. The application portal will open in the Fall (2nd half of October). To apply, you have to create an online account, which will allow you to track your application through its various stages. We do not accept applications and documents received outside of this system.

Deadline to submit your application is tbd, 2023. Referees have until tbd, 2023 to submit recommendation.

Please download the instructions manual here.

Please fill out the form using a web browser on a desktop computer. Web browsers on mobile devices (i.e. Android, iPhone, iPad, etc.) are not supported.

What Application Materials Are Required?

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

  • CV
  • Statement of purpose that explains your research experience and your motivation for applying to the ISTA PhD program. It should be 1-2 pages maximum. In your statement, specify up to three research groups you find the most interesting. At this stage you do not need to contact potential supervisors.
  • 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

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

What Are the Selection Criteria?

The selection committee uses a collection of indicators to evaluate the applicant’s preparedness, motivation, and potential. The following will be considered:

  1. undergraduate performance: overall, with a special focus on relevant field-specific courses
  2. reference letters provided by professors and senior scientists: one letter from industry is acceptable, but letters from an academic background are given priority; referees are asked to address analytical capabilities, technical proficiency, ability to work independently and motivation/commitment;
  3. statement of purpose: the applicant’s 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.;
  4. additional relevant skills (field-specific): demonstrated in, e.g., internships and/or participation in research projects, participation in science Olympiads, programming languages, lab techniques, etc.
  5. transferable skills: e.g. communication skills, experience with working in teams, previous mobility and international experiences, leadership experience as demonstrated in student organizations, etc.;
  6. diversity: e.g. a woman in computer science/math/physics; an applicant who switched fields, etc.;

Application and Selection Timeline

The information directly below refers to the standard timeline. The timeline will be adjusted for the 2023 call.  

The application call opens mid-October and ends in January. The first review process is completed in early February. Candidates are notified about their status by mid-February.

Shortlisted candidates are invited for interviews in mid-March. Offer letters go out in late March and candidates can accept or decline the offer of admission by April 15. The start of the PhD program is uniformly on September 15.

Application opens mid-October
Application closes tbd
Pre-selection meetings tbd
Student Interviews tbd
Final selection meetings tbd
Offers sent out after the final selection meeting
Offer need to be accepted tbd
Start of PhD program September 15

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For more information about the application process and PhD admissions, please read the FAQ page.

Download an instruction manual here.

If you have any questions about the PhD program, please contact phd.admissions@ista.ac.at


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