Organization, People & Governance

There are people who students will likely interact with over the course of the PhD, and who can provide support or answer queries when the need arises. The sections below outline who they are and in what capacity they act.


Link here 


The Dean is responsible for an inclusive, equitable, safe, and productive environment for the graduate students as well as for resolving conflicts involving graduate students or the Graduate School. The Dean is further responsible for:

(1) upholding the Principles of Graduate Education

(2) compliance with the Rules of the Graduate School

(3) ensuring a fair contribution of faculty members towards Graduate School activities

(4) approving changes to the Graduate School Handbook or any other program rules

(5) granting exceptions to the Rules of the Graduate School

(6) presenting major program rule changes and exceptions for review and approval to the President and the Scientific Board, as appropriate-

(7) interacting with the Advisory Committee for the Graduate School

The current Dean is Eva Benkova 

If you have any issues or concerns related to your study, ideas and suggestions about improving our educational program or any other graduate school relevant topics, you are welcome stop by and talk to the Dean every Thursday from 4 pm to 5 pm in Sunstone Building, 1st floor, small meeting room (room 107, under the staircase).

Deputy to the Dean

The Dean may ask the President to appoint a Deputy to the Dean from the faculty in order to assist the Dean and ensure continuity of Graduate School leadership and operations. Usually the Chair of the Track Representatives Committee is chosen as Deputy to the Dean. The Dean may delegate to the Deputy any operational matters but must personally make final decisions wherever the Dean’s approval is required by the Rules of the Graduate School. The Deputy takes over the Dean’s responsibilities wherever the Dean has a conflict of interest.

The current Deputy to the Dean is Gasper Tkacik

Track Representatives

Faculty Track Representatives, or “Faculty Track Rep” for short, are responsible for shaping the curriculum and for the academic progress of students in their track; they are appointed by the President, in consultation with the Graduate School, typically for two years. They are supported by a Deputy Track Rep (appointed by the Graduate School), who is expected to take over as the next Track Rep.

There are seven tracks, or discipline areas, in the PhD program: Biology, Computer Science, Data Science & Scientific Computing, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, and Chemistry & Materials.

Students who plan to take courses within a particular track should consult the respective Track Rep to help decide which courses are the most suitable for the research area they wish to specialize in. This meeting should take place at the beginning of the academic year before the start of the first semester. Further information about Track Rep meeting times and office hours will be disseminated during the Student Orientation Period.

In addition to Faculty Track Reps, each track has a Student Track Rep who is appointed by the GSA representatives each year. Student Track Reps provide input to faculty on curricular issues and represent the voice of the students in curricular discussions.

Track Reps, Student Track Reps and Track Mailing Lists for AY2023/24
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Mentors are members of the faculty at ISTA who can provide students with general advice about navigating the PhD at ISTA. Mentors are typically outside the immediate subject-area of the student.

Every incoming student is assigned a mentor, and students will be notified of who their mentor is during the Student Orientation period.

Mentors for 2023/24
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Faculty & Supervisor

For a full list of faculty, please consult the section "Research Groups".

The PhD supervisor must be an ISTA faculty member. From the time of affiliation until the thesis defense, a student’s supervisor is the most important support person. The supervisor has financial responsibility for the student, directs and supports the student in their thesis research, and is also part of the Thesis Committee.

Under the supervisor’s guidance, students will perform independent research in preparation for the qualifying exam and in Phase II. It is important that students communicate closely with their supervisors, and update them regularly on the progress of their PhD research. In addition to regular supervision meetings, the supervisor and members of the Thesis Committee will formally evaluate students in biannual progress reviews. The student’s continuation in the PhD program is conditional upon continually satisfactory progress reviews.

Joint supervision is also possible, where the project would benefit from support from two groups. In rare cases, it may become necessary for students to change supervisors after affiliation.


Link here 

Graduate School Office

The Graduate School Office (GSO) provides administrative support for all matters related to the PhD program. The GSO team members work closely with faculty members, the Dean, the Deputy Dean, Graduate Student Association representatives and other administrative staff, including Finance and Human Resources to ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the PhD Program.

Students are always welcome to approach any of the GSO team members if they have questions about the PhD program requirements, or any other generic inquiries. The GSO can be reached through

Current Graduate School Office members
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Maria Trofimova

Head of the Graduate School Office

Jerneja Beslagic

Assistant to Dean

Giorgia Loreti

Graduate School Development

Hania Köver

Graduate School Development

Eszter Nucz

IT Projects Graduate School

Uli Seiss

Student Recruiting and Admissions

Gabriela Caracaleanu

Graduate School Marketing

Jennifer Millar 

Student Recruiting and Admissions

Pilar M

Student Recruiting and Admissions

Kanako Aono

Student Recruiting

Hanna Spiro

Student Affairs

Eszter Fügedi

Student Affairs

Adam Louis Troldahl

Student Affairs

Hitomi Tsukuda

Student Affairs

Welcome Services

Our Welcome Service is a central figure of support – administrative or otherwise – starting before students even arrive at ISTA and lasting throughout the first year, until students affiliate with a research group. They are the first point of contact for questions regarding business trips, travel reimbursements, housing advice, and visas or residence permits.

Current Welcome Services
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Assistant to Professors

Once a student affiliates with a research group, an important contact person will be the Assistant to Professors (A2P), who is assigned to several research groups to provide a limited amount of administrative support to research group members.

A regularly updated list of A2Ps and their assignment to research groups can be found on the Human Resources wiki page (only for ISTA users).

Student Peers and Graduate Student Association
Graduate Student Association

All PhD students at ISTA are represented by the Graduate Student Association (GSA). The GSA serves as a platform for exchanging opinions and fostering communication between students, and constitutes an interface between ISTA graduate students and the rest of the institute (administration, postdocs, faculty). There are two elected student representatives who communicate students’ ideas, feedback and criticism to the faculty. Regular meetings, organized by the GSA, promote the discussion of current issues and support networking between students.

Furthermore, whenever students should get involved in institute-wide decision processes (e.g., joining an organizing committee for a particular event), every student gets the opportunity to take over these tasks as a GSA delegate. Overall, this helps to involve students in decision making and sustains a lively interaction between graduate students and the rest of the Institute, which has been fruitful in the last years.

Please also visit the GSA wiki page (only for ISTA users).


There is a so-called “buddy system” for all incoming students whereby each new student is paired up with one of our current graduate students. Buddies are volunteers who will try their best to help you or point you in the right direction, in case you need help. Feel free to approach your “buddy” for advice, whether it be on life at ISTA, or more generic issues pertaining to life in Austria.

Help, Support and Advice in Special Situations

Link here 

In addition to the individuals listed above, ISTA has an extensive conflict management system that aims to provide support in special situations ranging from interpersonal conflict, inappropriate workload, concerns regarding equity of treatment, scientific misconduct, to (mental) health issues. Students facing such (or related) issues are encouraged to seek advice from people listed in documents below (only for ISTA users).

Navigating Difficult Situations at ISTA
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