APPLICATION DEADLINE 31. DECEMBER 2021

Selection Process

The Selection Process shall be guided by the principles laid down in the European Charter for Researchers, öffnet eine externe URL in einem neuen Fenster and the Code of Conduct for the Rcruitment of Researchers, öffnet eine externe URL in einem neuen Fenster. The composition of the committees shall ensure transparency and accountability at each stage of the process. The reasons for rejection of candidates will be documented in the required reports to the European Commission. All members of the Assessment Committees (ACs), Recruitment Committee (RC) and Appeal Board (AB) , öffnet eine externe URL in einem neuen Fensterwill be required to sign a declaration of confidentiality and of conformation to the European Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Should there be a case of conflict of interest[1] the members commit to declare it and will be excluded from the specific selection step. A briefing document on best practice for recruiting will be prepared by the Management Team (MT) and handed to all AC and RC members.

[1] Conflict of interest: family or personal relationships of any kind; previous employment in the group of an ET, IAB or AB member or in the group of a close associate; reference person for applicant, workplace friendship, relationship involving social activity outside work.

Assessment of application materials

The review panel is subdivided into three separate ACs, representing the three research areas. In the 1st round each AC receives the eligible and anonymized applications from the TUW Application Management Unit according to their fields of expertise. In the 2nd round the (so far anonymous) personal information and the uploaded CV of the invited candidates is passed over to the relevant AC.  As seen in here, öffnet eine externe URL in einem neuen Fenster, each AC consists of the PC and different members of the ENROL Team, öffnet eine externe URL in einem neuen Fenster (ET) and IAB, öffnet eine externe URL in einem neuen Fenster, depending on the candidate and the choice of research project. 

While all applications are anonymized in the 1st round, each AC member will declare any potential conflicts of interest (or no conflict of interest) for every application he/she has assessed, as part of the assessment procedure. Nevertheless, should a conflict of interest exist the affected AC member will be replaced by a different ET or IAB member and this step will be documented for the EC.

Once all formally eligible applications are collected by the TUW Service Unit Application Management they are grouped by their first and second choice research projects, and are anonymized. All eligible candidates are allocated a number. Additional information on sexual orientation, social or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, physical or mental abilities or other characteristics that might be referred to in their documents are blinded, thereby ensuring an unbiased assessment process. The ACs are provided with the applications from their field of expertise together with the gender-neutral data-sheet, which the applicants were asked to upload during their application, as well as a gender-neutral table where all information submitted by the candidates (degrees, working experience, qualifications etc.) is listed. Prior to the teleconference interview, the AC members and each candidate will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, not to disclose any information concerning the questions asked during the selection process before a final decision is made. This agreement applies both to the teleconference interview and the hearing.

Ranking

1st selection round

In the 1st selection round, we aim at identifying the 60 best candidates. To guarantee an objective and transparent manner of handling and assessing applications, all applicants will be scored according to the evaluation criteria shown in Table 1. Candidates with an averaged total score < 4.0 will not be further considered, unless one of the ACs concludes that an especially positive partial score justifies it. In cases of “ex aequo” or doubt, the ACs have the right to invite more than 60 candidates for the teleconference interview.

2nd selection round

In the 2nd selection round, we strive at selecting 40 candidates. In this round, the (so far anonymous) personal information and the uploaded CV of the invited candidates is passed over to the relevant AC. The 2nd selection round will be based on individual teleconference interviews of each candidate by the respective AC. Interviews will have a duration of 30 min. The respective AC will engage into a conversation with each candidate, discuss the motivation in pursuing a PhD degree, the professional goals and plans to achieve them and the impact the candidate foresees for the particular PhD project. Additionally, each candidate will have to answer 2 key questions on the fundamentals of the chosen project or the proposed project by the candidate and prospective supervisor. These key questions will be formulated by the supervisory team of the corresponding research project prior to the teleconference interviews and will be identical for all candidates applying for the same project. Applicants will be scored according to the evaluation criteria shown in Table 2. After all teleconference interviews are completed an AC assembly of all members ranks the candidates according to their scores and compiles the list of candidates that will be invited to the hearing. Candidates with an arithmetic average total score < 4.5 (see Table 3) in this round will not be further considered for the hearing, unless the RC concludes that an especially positive partial grade justifies such a decision. In cases of “ex aequo” ranking or similar scores but also in order to ensure gender balance (quota of female candidates <30%), the ACs have the right to invite more candidates to the hearing.

3rd selection round

The 3rd selection round aims at identifying the 20 candidates for the ENROL programme. It consists of a hearing of all selected candidates by the RC, which shall take place at TUW. In case of travel restrictions, the hearings will be held by teleconference. The prospective supervisor(s) are asked to participate in the hearing, can address field-related questions to the candidates and may submit statements to the RC on the candidates. However, they do not participate in the decision process. Five days of hearings will be planned, each day scheduled for interviewing 8 candidates[1]. An impartial host (preferably from the HR Development Unit, either internal or external, with relevant training in hosting academic hearings) will chair the hearing.

During the 1h hearing the candidates will:

  • present themselves, their MSc thesis project, and justify their interest in completing a PhD in the specific area/motivation (ppt talk, public, 15 min). The RC and the prospective supervisor will ask field-related questions (10 min).
  • present a paper relevant to their preferred research option; the paper will be sent to the candidate two weeks prior to the hearing (ppt and black board style, public, 10 min). The RC and the prospective supervisor will ask questions about the paper (10 min).

The hearing will proceed with a closed session, in which each candidate will be confronted with a case study[2], which has to be analyzed from the candidate´s point of view (15 min). This approach will assist the RC to transparently assess each candidate’s attitude as well as the skills for teamwork, communication and perseverance.  Eventually, all applicants will be scored according to the evaluation criteria shown in Table 3.

[1] The travel expenses (incl. accommodation) of the invited candidates will be reimbursed by the TUW (international flights, economy class max. 1000 EUR, EU flights, economy class max. 500 EUR. For candidates with flights longer than 6000 km budget accommodation for 3 nights (instead of 2) will be offered).

[2] Case study; the candidates will be presented with a situation, depending on which skills would like to be assessed (e.g. perseverance, teamwork, communication skills etc.) and will be asked to analyze it or describe their course of action in the given situation.

Decision & Negotiations

The RC will compile a ranked short list of recommended candidates after examining the given scores and the statements from the supervisors during a consensus meeting chaired by the PC. An offer will be made to the candidates with the highest scores. In cases of extreme differences in scores the AB will be involved in the decision. Within the two weeks of negotiations the top ranked candidates are offered their preferred project (with a top-down approach in case more candidates with very high scores have opted for the same project) and this project/supervisor is removed from the availability list.

Once the preferred supervisor or project is not available anymore the remaining shortlisted candidates select from the remaining available supervisors and projects or are given again the opportunity to select a supervisor from the remaining ones and propose their own research project in consultation with the EST, öffnet eine externe URL in einem neuen Fenster.

Should a candidate reject the offer, an offer will be made to the “next-in-line” candidate that fulfills the requirements; if no-one of the “next-in-line” candidates fulfill the requirements a second call will be launched.

In case that not all available positions are filled with excellent candidates after the completion of the selection process, a second call will be issued preferably in the first quarter of 2020. Equivalent processes and criteria (see above) will be implemented for the next call(s).

Redress procedure

At any stage of the recruitment process all candidates have the right to a redress procedure if they feel that their application was unfairly evaluated, or if they believe that the results of the eligibility checks were incorrect. Upon notification of rejection they will be informed about this right, and about the appeal deadline of 2 weeks. The redress requests have to state a clear description of the reasons for appeal and can relate to the handling of the evaluation process and the eligibility checks, but will not call into question the judgment of appropriately qualified expert reviewers. The redress requests will be addressed to tuwdk.appeals@tuwien.ac.at and they will be examined by the AB. All requests for redress will be treated in confidence.

Evaluation criteria

The ACs and the RC will evaluate the applications based on merit and scientific potential. We are aware of the difficulty in appropriately assessing the candidates’ scientific potential, hence we opted for a multifaceted evaluation scheme with two rounds of oral interviews, which provides more possibilities for candidates to demonstrate their strengths. Moreover, in cases of doubt the ACs may invite more candidates to the 3rd selection round. As quantifiable criteria we will use academic excellence, personal achievements, motivation letters, references, and the performance of the candidates during the two interviews.

To enable an open and transparent selection the evaluation criteria (see Tables 1-3) will be published at the ENROL website together with the call.

Evaluation Criteria 1st Selection Round

In the 1st selection round, we try to identify candidates with high academic qualifications, who are exceptionally interested in the ENROL research fields. To ensure this, the ACs will evaluate candidates according to the scoring system shown in Table 1.

Evaluation Criteria 2nd Selection Round

The interviews aim at assessing particularly the candidate’s motivation and engagement, as well as the fundamental knowledge for the selected research project (Table 2).

Evaluation Criteria 3rd Selection Round

In the final round the RC will rate each candidate for the presentations and the case study analysis and give scores for each of these criteria as listed in Table 3. The selection of candidates will further follow the diversity and equal opportunities guidelines of TUW for the admission process. If positions are not filled after this process, these will be re-advertised following the same procedure as outlined above in a subsequent call. A sufficient time reserve has been scheduled for a potential second call in the timeline of the DP

Table 1: Evaluation Criteria assessment of applications

Evaluation Criteria

Indicators

Source

Weight

Score[1]

Academic qualifications

(30%)

BSc grade point average

Transcripts

10%

0-5

MSc grade point average

Transcripts

10%

0-5

Reference Questionnaire

Assessment by RC

10%

0-5

Research interests, motivation and compatibility

(50%)

Motivation

Assessment by RC, based on letter

25%

0-5

Knowledge and previous experience relevant to the PhD research area chosen by the applicant

Assessment by RC, based on uploaded data-sheet and on the MSc thesis research

25%

0-5

Complementary skills

(20%)

English language skills

International English test (e.g. TOEFL), English language certificates, graduate studies in English or native speaker

15%

0-5

General skills and advanced experience (e.g. grants, awards, stays abroad, professional experience etc.)

Assessment by RC, based on uploaded data-sheet

5%

0-5

Table 2: Evaluation Criteria teleconference interview

Evaluation Criteria

Indicators

Source

Weight

Score

Motivation and engagement

(50%)

Motivation on pursuing a PhD

Assessment by RC

20%

0-5

Professional goals and plans

Assessment by RC

10%

0-5

Impact of their PhD research

Assessment by RC

20%

0-5

Fundamental knowledge/Scientific aptitude

(50%)

Question 1

Assessment by RC, based on answer provided by the relevant supervisor

25%

0-5

Question 2

Assessment by RC, based on answer provided by the relevant supervisor

25%

0-5

Table 3: Evaluation Criteria hearing

Evaluation Criteria

Indicators

Source

Weight

Score

Presentations

Self-presentation, MSc thesis, motivation

Assessment by RC

40%

0-5

Scientific article (ability to quickly convey and interpret relevant scientific information)

Assessment by RC

40%

0-5

Case study

Skills and attitude

Assessment by RC

20%

0-5

[1] 0: reject 1: poor 2: fair 3: good 4: very good 5: excellent

Co-funded by the European Union

EU flag

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101034277.