MFPL: Minister of Science & Research and president of the Austrian Science Fund FWF visit the MFPL

Further development of the FWF doctoral programs, which benefit the whole student body at the Campus Vienna Biocenter

The minister of Science & Research Karlheinz Töchterle and the president of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Christoph Kratky visited the MFPL to outline their plans for the future support of doctoral students. They met with Renée Schroeder, VIPS postdoc program coordinator, Andrea Barta, coordinator of the doctoral program RNA Bioloy and Nadia Thuktubaeva, doctoral student in the same program.

Additional investments of 18 million Euro will help to further develop the doctoral programs of the FWF, which have been a great success since their introduction in 2004. "The success of this initiative which started in 2004, leads to the question how we can develop the core idea of the FWF-doctoral programs further to ensure a sustainable effect", says FWF president Kratky.

Renée Schroeder summarizes the installment of the doctoral programs in 2004 as a landmark for the development of training and education at the campus. "By now, the MFPL host four doctoral programs financed by the FWF, which have an amazing collateral effect on all students at MFPL, not only the ones in those programs", says Schroeder. She also expressed a specific avenue of improvement: "The minimum length of financial support for a student in a doctoral program should be increased to 3.5 or 4 years, since most doctoral theses in the area of molecular biology nowadays need this time to be finished."

The first doctoral program at the MFPL was "RNA Biology", which now completed its second evaluation and enters its third funding period. "In the years since the beginning of the doctoral program 'RNA Biology', we were able to fund things like the annual PhD symposium, send students to international conferences to present their work or to special seminars abroad to learn new skills", says Andrea Barta, coordinator of the doctoroal program. Andrea also mentions the strong structural effect on the student body for the whole campus.

Nadia Tukhtubaeva as a doctoral student was able to use the funds provided through the program "RNA Biology" to spend six weeks in the lab of Professor Evgeny Nudler at New York University. She used the time to learn from new methods, knowledge that she bought back to her lab at the MFPL in Vienna. Furthermore, she could travel to Spain in December 2012 to present the preliminary results of her work on the discovery of novel regulatory RNA elements in bacterial model organisms at the big "Cell" conference. "From the moment I got the offer from Vienna, I also constantly received administrative support, allowing me to focus on my research."

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