TU Wien and UAS Technikum Wien launch a joint doctoral college

  • Internationally staffed program for “Resilient Embedded Systems”
  • Training of highly qualified young academics
  • Fundamental research and application-oriented research create innovations for Industry 4.0, autonomous driving or critical infrastructures

From left to right: Jakob Calice (SG FM of Education, Science and Research), Sabine Seidler (Rector of TU Wien), Fritz Schmöllebeck (Rector of UAS Technikum Wien), and Christoph Neumayer (SG of the Federation of Austrian Industries) (Copyright: TU Wien, photo: Matthias Heisler)

TU Wien and UAS Technikum Wien are launching their first joint doctoral college in the 2018/19 winter semester. With this pilot project in the field of “Resilient Embedded Systems”, the two universities are creating an institutional way to implement a joint, high-quality doctoral course and to conduct joint research. The results of the internationally staffed program are also available to business and industry, thereby creating a direct way to transfer technology for Industry 4.0 applications, as well as for areas such as autonomous driving, traffic control systems and the digitalization of critical infrastructures.

“Innovation is the engine driving our society. In order to find young scientists to help power this ongoing development, you have to look beyond your own institution. With this pilot project, we want to show how a structured admission from the UAS to doctoral studies can be organized. The high quality standard requires partners with corresponding research competencies to be identified and the best students to be found regardless of nationality, gender or previous education,” explains Sabine Seidler, Rector of TU Wien.

“With the joint doctoral college, we have succeeded in creating our own high-quality scientific education course, supported by a university of applied sciences and a university. For us, it is a confirmation of the many years of research work in the field of embedded systems and demonstrates excellently that universities of applied sciences and universities, as long as the framework conditions for long-term R&D work are in place, can do research together and as equals,” said Fritz Schmöllebeck, Rector of UAS Technikum Wien, during today’s press conference.

Objectives and scope of the doctoral college

“Resilient Embedded Systems” are part of the “Cyber Physical Systems” research branch, which is at the heart of Industry 4.0 applications. The 20 doctoral students will work at TU Wien or UAS Technikum Wien for the next five years, depending on the focus or affiliation of their supervisors, and will use their dissertations to develop new findings and solutions for Industry 4.0 and other areas of digitalization. The results are also available to business and industry, thereby creating a direct technology transfer. The graduates are well qualified to manage challenging projects, for example in aerospace and aviation, to advise companies or support them in their research divisions, or to act as founders themselves. The doctoral college also prepares students for a further career in academia.

Christoph Neumayer, Secretary General of the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV), sees the program as an asset for Austria as a hub for industry and innovation. “Training in Industry 4.0 is of enormous importance for domestic industry, especially against the background of the existing shortage of highly qualified personnel in the STEM sector. Every 6th STEM vacancy currently remains unfilled, meaning a total of 1,900 jobs in the manufacturing sector. In particular, we see the clear international orientation of the college as an important lever for attracting talent worldwide. Austria needs young scientists and innovators – in this sense, we rely on the innovative power of young researchers. We also believe that the transfer of research results to industry is important,” says the IV Secretary General. From the point of view of the IV, the program has great potential to bring together the best of universities and universities of applied sciences, the two higher education institutions, in a joint program and to serve as a trigger for future cooperation between the two higher education institutions.

Core research fields

The cooperation between TU Wien and UAS Technikum Wien covers the entire value chain in research from fundamental research to application-oriented research and development with different focal points. The research fields within the doctoral college will be, for example, reliable communication between system components or the construction of self-healing hardware based on asynchronous logic. Other papers deal with the topic of “security”, in particular the protection of security-critical embedded systems against manipulation or hacker attacks. The verification of embedded systems in the field of medical implants will also be dealt with in a dissertation with the aim of ensuring the highest degree of safety for the patient.

Internationally staffed program for “Resilient Embedded Systems”

In a globalized research landscape, the international orientation is an essential component. Each academic year, four to six internationally renowned researchers are invited as guest professors to the doctoral college, who are selected according to their reputation and professional proximity to the dissertation topics. The professors come from Italy, the USA, Belgium, Great Britain, Brazil, Israel and Australia, for example. Naturally, the search for the “best minds” for doctoral positions is also carried out internationally.

“Excellence and innovation result not least from cooperation between strengths and synergies. This applies in particular to cutting-edge research, which is why the doctoral college of TU Wien and UAS Technikum Wien serves as a model for further structured cooperation between universities and universities of applied sciences. It also corresponds to our principle that the right to award doctorates is reserved for universities, but that the strengths of the UAS in applied research are nevertheless taken into account when it comes to doctorates,” says Jakob Calice, Secretary General at the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, in summary. 

Admission requirements for the doctoral college

The “Resilient Embedded Systems” doctoral college is designed as an employed position of 30 hours per week for four years. Ten doctoral students will each be accepted in two cohorts, which will start in October 2018 and 2019. Applicants must apply in writing for the doctoral college. The doctoral candidates are ultimately selected and confirmed by the Scientific Board following a hearing within the framework of a multi-stage selection procedure. The first academic year serves as an introductory phase in which a common knowledge base is created. The doctoral students then start their research work, supplemented by courses with guest lecturers and topic-specific specializations. In addition, courses offer support in areas such as research and career planning, philosophy of science and the basics of innovation.

“In general, the training of doctoral students at our faculty is at the highest level in international comparison, also with regard to the demands placed on the scientific quality of the dissertations and their assurance. Naturally, these requirements also apply to the new doctoral college, although we additionally try to impart the necessary theoretical as well as subject-specific basics in this demanding and diverse field of research to all our doctoral students through the introductory phase in the first year. Irrespective of the institutional integration as a result of the respective supervision, the same structured curriculum applies to all doctoral candidates, with some fixed and some individually selectable portions depending on the dissertation topic, and the scientific evaluation of the dissertation also follows the same processes that have already proven themselves in our faculty,” explains Andreas Steininger from the Embedded Computing Systems Department of TU Wien.

Admission requirements, curriculum and all further information

Press photos can be found at https://www.tuwien.ac.at/dle/pr/aktuelles/downloads/2018/pk_resilient/Do...(reprint free of charge, copyright: TU Wien, photo: Matthias Heisler)