ViDSS PhD Clubs

The ViDSS aims at increasing the interaction between students within and across departments. Therefore, it supports the establishment and continuation of PhD clubs.

What is a ViDSS PhD Club?

  • PhD clubs are disciplinary or thematic groups of active doctoral candidates in the social sciences who meet (at least) on a monthly basis to discuss their work in progress.
  • By participating in a PhD club, doctoral candidates receive regular feedback on article drafts, dissertation chapters or (preliminary) analyses of data.
  • Doctoral candidates learn to comment on and discuss the work of others within a peer group based on mutual trust.
  • Doctoral candidates can practice holding (conference) presentations, their public presentation at the Faculty or their public defence.
  • Although postdoctoral researchers are welcome to join PhD clubs, the core group should consist of doctoral candidates.
  • Each PhD club is organised by one or two advanced doctoral candidates or early postdoctoral researchers.
  • ViDSS students are expected to join a PhD club and participate in it regularly.
  • Students who are not (yet) members of the ViDSS can join the PhD clubs that are supported by the ViDSS.

The ViDSS supports PhD clubs…

  • in setting-up a club and finding interested doctoral candidates (e.g. announcement on the ViDSS newsletter and the ViDSS website).
  • in organising regular meetings (e.g. support in creating a mailing list or a Moodle course, in finding suitable rooms).
  • by providing financial support to invite guest speakers or hold annual networking events (applications via the ViDSS administration team).
  • by organising networking events and workshops for organisers of PhD clubs.

Are you interested in starting a ViDSS PhD Club?

If you are interested in starting a disciplinary or interdisciplinary PhD club, please send us a short description of the thematic area and, ideally, name a few colleagues who would be interested in joining your PhD club (email to We will provide tips and tricks for getting started and support you in establishing the PhD club.

If you do not want to organise a club yourself (or if you are not at an advanced stage of your research), we will help you get in touch with advanced doctoral candidates or postdoctoral researchers who work in this field and might be interested in organising a club for, ideally, two semesters.

Are you interested in joining a ViDSS PhD Club?

Please contact the group that you want to join.

Anthropology Club

The Anthropology Club meets once a month to offer PhD students a shared space to receive feedback on circulated writing pieces, discuss fieldwork material, practice paper presentations, and more. The club is directed to anthropology PhD students to create a safe forum for exchange and peer support. When possible, we meet in person but have switched to virtual formats when necessary for everyone’s safety. Once per semester, we plan to invite researchers on the post-doc level, e.g. to learn about further career steps or discuss challenges such as fieldwork ethics and grant writing. Please contact us for more information.

Target group: anthropology PhD students of all stages

Contact: Nana Iashvili, Sofie Kronberger, Lisa Rail, Pierre Wenzel

Buena Vista Social Club

This PhD Club on Latin America represents a reading club and concurrently provides a space for sharing and discussing the own research. Its members collectively choose the readings that refer to (recent) Latin American developments and issues, such as (neo-)colonialism, elitism, (neo-)extractivism, misogyny, and/or racism. In light of this, the group discusses the role of the state, asymmetric power relations within the regimes, and sheds light on the struggles between the ruling forces as well as counter-hegemonic movements to debate on radical alternatives.

The members meet monthly and welcome all doctoral candidates with a research focus on Latin America. Meetings are held in English. The Buena Vista Social Club is affilited with the Research Network Latin America.

Target group: doctoral candidates in the social sciences with a research interest in Latin America

Contact: Nina Schlosser, Tobias Boos, Isabella Radhuber

Computational Social Science PhD Club

The Computational Social Science PhD Club is an interdisciplinary meeting point for PhD students who work with computational methods within the social sciences. Computational social science methods include techniques such as network analysis, natural language processing, machine learning, and agent-based modelling, among others. The club seeks to promote the advancement of computational social science by exploring the latest research and trends and fostering critical discussions on the methodological challenges and ethical considerations of using computational methods in the social sciences.

The club is intended as an informal platform for PhD students to ask questions and seek advice from colleagues on their methodological approaches, helping them to overcome challenges and improve the quality of their research. Further, the club promotes more collaboration among graduate students and supports the student’s professional development as researchers in computational social science.

Target group: PhD students working with computational methods within the social sciences

Contact: Petro Tolochko

Critical Approaches to Policy and Governance PhD Club (CPG-Club)

This PhD Club gathers junior researchers (PhD students and post-docs) interested in governance and policy as a social process. We tackle questions concerning policy, institutions, bureaucracies and the state while paying due analytical attention to both local conditions and practices and global processes. The Club adapts to members’ needs through its flexible structure. As such, it is sometimes a reading club and sometimes a space to share and discuss our own work. Decisions are made collectively.

The club gets together regularly to discuss literature and critically engage with it. We also exchange our writings to get constructive feedback and supporting each other's endeavours. Many members are closely affiliated with the research platform The Challenge of Urban Futures.

Target group: early stage researchers looking at policy as social processes

Contact: Tatjana Boczy, Catherine Raya Polishchuk

More information

Critical Perspectives on Economics PhD Club

This PhD Club aims at bringing together doctoral researchers across different disciplines who have an economic element in their PhD thesis or want to explore critical perspectives on economics and socio-economic inequality. The research interests of the group enclose a broad range on economic topics, including changing capitalism and world economy, criticism on dominant economic thought, and impact of the economy on state and society. Planned activities include a reading group on selected blogs, journals or book chapters; provision of peer feedback on presentations or written texts; feedback on preparation of fieldwork and data collection; common writing sessions; and (in perspective) organising guest lectures. The members meet monthly and welcome doctoral researchers in social sciences across all disciplines.

Target group: doctoral researchers in social sciences interested in critical perspectives on Economics

Contact: Valentina Ausserladscheider, Beata Boór, Dominik von Gehlen

More information

Demography PhD Club

The Demography PhD Club was established in 2020 as a meeting place for doctoral candidates to share and discuss their latest research, working papers, methodological and theoretical issues. It is a chance to receive feedback and gather as a community to learn from others and strengthen the research of the department. All doctoral candidates and early stage researchers focusing on a topic within the field of demography are invited to join the monthly meetings. Meetings are held in English and have an international focus.

Target group: doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers, research assistants or others writing in the field of demography

Contact: Leora Courtney-Wolfman, Andrea Tamburini

Emerging Media PhD Club

The Emerging Media PhD Club is an interdisciplinary club directed at PhD students at all stages working on emerging media. Emerging media are defined as novel technologies with the capacity to transform our perception of and navigation through the sociopolitical space. Examples are Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Deep Fakes. Theoretical frameworks of interest include presence, immersion, agency, embodiment, reality, anthropomorphism, human-computer interaction, persuasion and ethics.

To obtain a deeper understanding of the academic and practical implications of the research area, and to also provide networking opportunities, guest lecturers will be invited on a trimonthly basis. Meetings will take place online or in person once a month.

Target group: doctoral candidates studying emerging media technologies and their societal impact

Contact: Hannah Greber

More information

Empirical Political Science PhD Club

The Empirical Political Science PhD Club was founded in 2022 and is hosted by the Department of Government. This club provides opportunities for doctoral students at all stages working in the field of political science to discuss their current research (e.g., research proposal, working paper, conference presentations, preliminary data analyses) and to practice giving feedback to peers. Each semester, one session will be dedicated to discussing mental health issues in academia, reflecting on our personal experiences and providing peer support. Our sessions are held once a month or more as needed and last two hours for two presentations. Each presentation is assigned a discussant and each session is assigned a chair. Although we meet in person, we also offer the opportunity to join virtually.

Target group: PhD students in the field of political science

Contact: Koichi Osamura, Dylan Paltra

More information

Media Psych PhD Club

The Media Psych PhD Club is an interdisciplinary club focused on the widely established research field of media psychology that is cross-cutting, ranging from health to consumer behaviour. The PhD Club is directed towards researchers and students who deal with topics of various traditional media and social media uses, psychological processes, and media effects ranging from dating apps over political communication to media literacy.

The methodological focus is on quantitative methods such as experiments as well as qualitative methods such as focus groups. The PhD club meets once a month. During each session, one person presents their current research or study plans. Interested participants are invited to provide their feedback and exchange knowledge in an informed discussion. By doing so, presenters can gain deeper understanding and insights into various areas of media psychology field.

Target group: doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers, research assistants or others who investigate media effects

Contact: Anja Stevic, Melanie Saumer

Nursing Science PhD Club

The Nursing Science PhD Club was founded in 2021 and meets once a month. It is a disciplinary club directed at nursing science doctoral students of all stages. The club is a space for students to discuss theoretical and methodological issues in nursing science and research and to share and discuss work in progress related to their dissertation projects (e.g., drafts of articles, dissertation chapters, conference presentations, preliminary data analyses).

Target group: nursing science PhD students of all stages

Contact: Martin Wallner, Jasmin Meichlinger, Ana Cartaxo

More information

Solidarity and Health PhD Club

Founded in 2021, the Solidarity and Health PhD Club splits each monthly meeting into two segments of approx. 45 min each. In the first segment, we focus on discussing a text suggested by club members; the texts usually focus on concepts of solidarity and/or relate to health from a social science perspective. In the second segment, a club member presents their current work and receives input and feedback. 

Target group: The club started out with doctoral students from political science but we are open to interdisciplinary members (and many of the existing members have interdisciplinary backgrounds). Stages of research can vary; we currently have members who just started their PhD and members who are about to graduate.

Contact: Magdalena Eitenberger, Antonia Modelhart

Soziologische Werkstattgespräche

The “Soziologische Werkstattgespräche” are organised by the Rising Scholars at the Department of Sociology. The Werkstattgespräche provide a space for sharing and discussing working papers, presentations or questions and problems related to the current state of one’s research. All early-stage researchers at the Department of Sociology are invited to join the monthly sessions. Meetings are held in German or English.

Target group: doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers, student assistants and project staff at the Department of Sociology

Contact: Johanna Kiermaier, Agnes Dürr

Website (in German)

STS x Plastics PhD Club

In the beginning of 2021, STS x Plastics was established as virtual meeting space for early career researchers broadly situating themselves at the crossroads of Science and Technology Studies (STS)/ social science research and plastics. STS x Plastics is not limited to PhD students from the University of Vienna, but invites PhD students from other institutions and projects to join our international and interdisciplinary discussion group. Every month, we meet in Zoom and discuss latest research, methodological and theoretical contributions from other STS and social science scholars as well as from our own work. More specifically, STS x Plastics is a virtual PhD Club where we critically, but constructively engage in more nuanced discussions about plastics (including, but not limited to microplastics, nanoplastics, and bio-plastics) and their multiple relations to individual practices, to knowledge production, to societies, to policy-making, to environments, to geographies of responsibility, and many more.

Target group: early stage researchers situating themselves at the crossroads of Science and Technology Studies (STS), social science and plastics

Contact: Laura Bomm, Artemis Papadaki Anastasopoulou 

VieCER PhD Club

The VieCER PhD Club has been convened by the Vienna Center for Electoral Research (VieCER) since 2017 and offers doctoral candidates the possibility to discuss their ongoing research. VieCER is an interdisciplinary research unit; accordingly, also the PhD Club has targeted an interdisciplinary group of students, mostly from the Department of Government, the Department of Communication, but also the Department of Political Science and external research institutes like the Austrian Academy of Science and the Institute for Advanced Studies. Research questions cover a broad range of topics, relating to elections but also more generally, addressing substantive or methodological aspects of political communication research.

PhD Club sessions are organised once per month (usually Friday 3–5pm) and take up two hours, around one hour per presentation/discussion, usually featuring a presenter and a respondent, followed by Q&A with the audience. PostDocs also take part and offer their feedback. After the sessions, we often go for a drink to also get to know each other outside the work context.

Target group: doctoral candidates studying elections and political communication in the broadest sense; but also open to other research questions.

Contact: George Georgarakis


NEW: Vienna Experimental Social Science (ViESS) PhD Club

The Vienna Experimental Social Science (ViESS) PhD Club is a community of social scientists who employ or are interested in experimental methods to investigate social phenomena. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss fundamental and advanced topics of randomised control trials broadly defined to include lab, survey, field, and online experiments. These meetings will cover topics related to the design, analysis, and interpretation of experiments, such as the logic of experimentation, covariate adjustment, moderation, mediation, noncompliance, attrition, interference, panel data, machine learning and adaptive experimental designs, generalisation of experimental results, ethical implications, and open science. Importantly, this club offers a venue for junior scholars (senior MA students, PhD students, postdocs) to present and receive feedback at all stages of their work in all fields of social science, including but not limited to communication science, political science and government, economics, psychology, and sociology.

Target group: early stage social scientists working with experimental methods

Contact: George Georgarakis

More information

Inactive ViDSS PhD Clubs

#Youth, #Education PhD Club

This interdisciplinary PhD Club aimed to provide a space to discuss doctoral research in the fields of youth and education. In our activities we focused on European regions which are characterised by a multitude of factors that influence the life course of young people differently. But we also wanted to expand our knowledge of youth research from the global south. The meetings took the form of interactive workshops that were held regularly and in which members discussed draft articles / dissertation chapters, working papers or preliminary results. In addition, the members of this PhD club discussed other events and collaborations (e.g. organisation of a workshop, invitation of guest lecturers, joint publications, etc.).

Target group: early career researchers working on topics related to youth studies and educational research

Organiser: Ralph Chan