Giving a voice to doctoral candidates in Austria is the mission of the initiative “doktorat.at – ÖH Doktorat”. Despite being researchers, Austrian doctoral candidates are registered as students during their doctoral training. Thus, by this legal definition, around 16,000 doctoral candidates are represented by the Austrian National Students Union (Österreichische HochschülerInnenschaft, ÖH), which responded to this mandate in 2004 by establishing “doktorat.at – ÖH Doktorat” as a platform by doctoral candidates, for doctoral candidates, but also for young researchers in general, including post-docs. The activities of doktorat.at – ÖH Doktorat can be structured along the triad “information – networking – representation of interest”. In more detail, this means:
- Providing information for doctoral candidates in fields like mobility, financing, etc. and promoting the transfer of information from research and higher education policy to doctoral candidates and their representatives at Austrian universities.
- Promoting scientific communication among young researchers, including interdisciplinary and inter-university dialogue, establishing a networking platform for doctoral candidates to overcome traditional isolated apprenticeship-like relations and dependencies.
- Introducing the interests of doctoral candidates in national and European research, science, university and education policy as well as pointing attention to problems concerning doctoral candidates, suggesting solutions and offering expertise to improve the practice at Austrian research institutions.
To encompass all these activities into a common form, the webpage http://www.doktorat.at/en was launched as an open platform for a diverse target group including doctoral candidates and junior researchers, Austrian research and education policy makers and media.