Science Frame

The research area Mountain Regions currently hosts 4 IDCs:

All IDCs share the same regulations and students as well as researchers are motivated to join events and lectures from other IDCs. The multiple scientific backgrounds of the involved researchers provides the opportunity to investigate pressing research questions in mountain systems from various viewpoints.

PhD student - opportunities, rights and duties 

Please also find the Rights and Duties document online.

Background and research perspectives


The Doctoral School in Mountain Research is embedded in the Research Area “Mountain Regions” of the University of Innsbruck and consists of four Innsbruck doctoral colleges (IDC); (i) Alpine Biology and Global Change, (ii) Mountain Climate and Environment, (iii) Natural Hazards in Mountain Regions and (iv) Mountain Tourism and Leisure.
It provides a fruitful multi-disciplinary environment for educational training of excellent national and international PhD students based on international quality assurance standards. The Doctoral School forms an outstanding platform aiming at intense exchange between PhDs and their supervising researchers as well as affiliated Post Docs and at providing manifold opportunities for early career scientists to present research, and network with their peers in a supportive and inspiring environment.

The IDC: Mountain Climate and Environment

This IDC focuses on core scientific questions related to the interactions between climate / atmosphere and the environment in the past, present and future, specific to mountainous regions. It utilises a wide range of world-leading expertise in atmospheric, cryospheric, biospheric, hydrospheric, atmosphericchemical, geomorphodynamic and palaeoclimate sciences to address interconnected questions around the themes of: Climate -Regional Modelling; Climate - Atmospheric Composition; Climate - Cryosphere, and; Palaeoclimate. The DP MCE addresses the need to train a new generation of young scientists with the creative, cross-disciplinary and innovative skills necessary for the next generation of Earth scientists so that they can successfully tackle current and future challenges in climate sciences.

Admission as a PhD student


The applicants have to be enrolled and registered at the University of Innsbruck. The main PhD supervisor and/or one co-supervisor are members of the Doctoral School/IDC with different research foci. It is recommended to involve an international expert acting as second or third supervisor.

Application procedure

An expression of interest in the form of the exposé (contents, time and finance plans) on the planned thesis topic has to be submitted to the Executive Board (EB) of the IDC by the main supervisor (see application template). The application is checked by the EB of the IDC. If the EB has no concerns about the feasibility of the PhD project, the EB invites the PhD student to present his or her PhD project and motivation for joining the IDC in the frame of an “introduction colloquium” as a part of dedicated IDC/Doctoral School events offered at least twice a year. The final admission of the PhD student follows upon a successful presentation of their PhD project in the event.

Rights and duties

Access to a broad international and interdisciplinary research environment

By participating in dedicated courses and interacting with other PhD students as well as experienced senior scientists from a wide range of disciplines at the University of Innsbruck and collaborating research institutions, the PhD students are embedded in a broad and stimulating research environment. In this context, PhD students can reflect on their own thesis and their field, learn from the work of others (including their methods and scientific insights) and build a network. They can also get in touch and learn from the experience of alumni of the Doctoral School.

Membership in the PhD student board

All PhD students are members of the student board, which meets at least twice a year. It discusses ideas for future events and suggestions for possible improvements of the education and research program and forwards them to the scientist board.

Financial Support

  • PhD student members are eligible to various grants awarded and handled by the leaders of the IDC, such as travel grants to conferences and summer schools, financial support for various scientific activities that foster the interdisciplinary exchange or potential student paper awards.
  • The PhD membership supports applications for small doctoral grants (Excellence scholarships for Doctoral Colleges) issued by the University of Innsbruck.


PhD students receive a Diploma Supplement certifying that they have successfully completed the Innsbruck Doctoral School in Mountain Research/IDC. 

Specific Duties of PhD students

  • Participation in courses: PhD Students are requested to participate regularly in the courses organized in the frame of the Doctoral School/IDC. The lecture “Characteristics of Mountain Research” offered in winter semesters needs to be attended by each student, ideally at the beginning of the PhD studies. Annual participation in the “Umbrückler Alm retreat” organized each fall is encouraged.
  • Presentation and discussion of research findings: PhD students should present their research activities at least once a year within the frame of regularly organized IDC meetings or appropriate Doctoral School events, and are expected to provide a presentation at the dedicated seminar.
  • Participation in summer/winter school: As specified in the IDC statutes, PhD students should participate in at least one summer/winter school. Participation in and contribution to any summer/winter school offered by the Doctoral School (e.g. S4SSS) is encouraged.
  • Contribution to and participation in Doctoral School events: PhD students are encouraged to develop, organize, contribute to and participate in events of the Doctoral School. Participation in at least one Doctoral School event is required within the first year of the membership.
  • Reporting of publications and conference contributions: In the Research Documentation Database (FLD) of the University of Innsbruck all publications and conference contributions related to the thesis must be reported and linked to the respective IDC. PhD students are encouraged to prepare short, publicly accessible summaries of their publications to be highlighted in the Science Flash section of the Doctoral School/IDC websites (for guidelines see website).
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