Doctoral candidates may be employed as pre-doc assistant at the TU Wien. All employments are regulated by the collective bargaining agreement (German version). Often, pre-doc assistants are employed to work as project assistants on a research project, usually funded by grants or industry partners, with their thesis related to the project’s research topic. There are also university assistants whose salary comes from the university’s budget. Project assistant positions are more frequently offered. The works council is the job-related representation of scientific staff with respect to employment laws.

Please note that an agreement with a professor on the supervision of a doctoral thesis does not necessarily lead to employment! If you plan on being employed at TU Wien for your research work, make sure to inquire about employment possibilities when looking for a supervisor.

There are basically three different types of employment as pre-doc assistant. These are:

  • University assistant (Universitätsassisteninnen und Universitätsassistenten)
  • Project assistant (Projektassisteninnen und Projektassistenten)
  • Within a doctoral school (Kollegiat)

University assistants

They are directly employed and paid by the TU Wien. Currently the university offers contracts for 30 hours employment per week for four years. This contract is not renewed after these four years.  It is possible to be employed as a project assistant afterwards.

The contract of university assistants involves research as well as teaching. The teaching part includes giving lectures, supervising students, helping in the lab, etc. 

Project assistants

Project assistants are paid by a project, often the FWF (Austrian Science Fund) or an industry partner. Their contract only implies research for the project. They only have to teach if both the doctoral candidate and the project partner agree. The doctoral candidate is not paid extra for teaching, only the project will be refunded by the university.

The salary and the number of hours per week you are employed depend on the project partner. The FWF currently closes contracts for 30 hours per week.

You should pay attention that your contract lasts at least three years. A renewal of the contract is possible up to six years (or eight years for part time employment).

Within a doctoral school

At TU Wien there are several doctoral schools. These are structured doctoral programs intended to provide opportunities and sufficient guidance for the students to work and contribute to their field of research. Doctoral candidates within a doctoral school are usually employed for 15 to 30 hours per week. During this time the candidate does research on their topic as well as visit further education. Sometimes the doctoral candidate is further employed by TU Wien for some hours of teaching. The contract is usually closed for three years; in some exceptions a prolongation for a further year is possible. Candidates of a doctoral school have to attend additional courses which extend the curricular part.


In Austria the salary for scientific staff is decided by a collective bargaining agreement. More information and the current salaries can be found here (if you switch the language to German, the exact pay scales are displayed). The salary is raised after three years or even earlier if you have been employed in a scientific field before. This does not include employment as a student assistant or tutor (everything before you finished your master degree).

Further Information

Vice rector for human resources and gender


There is also the possibility to get funding from grants or federal aids to financially support your research work. You can find more information about that topic on our funding page.