The selection procedure for a DOC Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences takes approx. five to six months.
The applications of the candidates shortlisted in the preliminary selection procedure are reviewed by international experts. At least two meaningful reviews are sought for each application. The committee’s decision to award Fellowships is based on the reviews and the reports of the individual committee members.
After the evaluation procedure has ended, the reviews are anonymised before being forwarded to each applicant.
It should be noted that due to financial considerations applications have to be rejected despite positive evaluation.
Applicants do not have recourse to legal action.
The awards committee comprises scholars and scientists employed at a university or a non-university research institution in Austria. The committee members are nominated by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Universities Austria (uniko).
The applications are assigned to the members of the awards committee according to their fields. Great attention is paid to avoiding potential conflicts of interest. Hence committee members and applicants may not work at the same university or research institute. Furthermore, professional or private relations or rivalry are also taken into consideration, and, if necessary, external experts are called upon to assess an application.
The first stage of selection decides which applications will be sent for external review. This preliminary selection is based on the personal qualifications of the applicants – especially their performance at university and the duration of their studies, their publications and mobility during their Master’s/Diplom degree – and the academic quality of the doctoral project. If the panel is of the view that an application does not fulfil the criteria of the funding programme, it is rejected.
After preliminary selection, the applicants receive a written explanation for their rejection or are informed that their application will be internationally reviewed.
For the applications that are to be externally assessed, the members of the committee suggest reviewers abroad who seem suitable in the relevant fields. Their selection pays close attention to bias and potential conflicts of interest.
There is no set pool of reviewers; for each application experts are sought who are in a position to judge the application on the basis of their own academic experience or research activities in accordance with the international standards in the field in question.
Applicants have the right to exclude up to three experts from the review process (e.g. due to rivalry or to dispute between schools).
The review process
Two reviewers are enlisted for each application in the framework of the DOC programme. In the case of interdisciplinary applications embracing several fields of research this number can be increased.
A review consists of a written assessment and a formal evaluation of the academic qualification of the applicant and parts of the research project on a scale from 1–10 (1–2 = inadequate, 9–10 = outstanding):
- Applicant’s academic qualification and ability to undertake the project
- Academic quality of the research project
- Originality of the research project
- Relevance of the project to the specialist field
- Clarity of the research questions (hypotheses)
- Appropriateness of the methodology (including work plan and timetable)
- Feasibility of the project (institute’s facilities, academic environment)
Finally, the reviewers are requested to provide a summary stating whether they recommend that the application be funded without reservation, should be resubmitted after revision or should be rejected.
If the written statement does not seem particularly meaningful, another review is sought. The reviewers are requested to state potential conflicts of interest. If conflict of interest is established retrospectively, the review is not taken into consideration.
The decision concerning selection of the Fellows is made in the awards meeting.
On the basis of the reviews, the members of the committee rank the applications assigned to them and present them to the committee. The applications are dealt with in comparison with one another; the reviews, but also other criteria – such as performance at university and duration of studies, publication history, mobility – are discussed in detail.
The decision to award the Fellowships is made by the entire committee.
If an application has been submitted by someone with whom individual committee members have a close professional or personal relationship and goes through to the assessment stage, these committee members do not sit in that round of selection.
Information for applicants
After the awards meeting, the reviewers’ written statements are anonymised and forwarded to the applicants