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 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 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 PhD Club or an initiative similar to a PhD Club?

Please contact the group that you want to join.

Anthropology Club

The Anthropology Club meets once a month either virtual or in person and is directed to anthropology PhD students only. If you are an anthropologist and looking for peer-support, please contact us for more information.

Target group: anthropology PhD students of all stages

Contact: Michael Anranter, Nina Haberland

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

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: Brian Buh, Endale Birhanu Kebede, Ingrid Setz, Sonja Spitzer

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: Alina Nikolaou, Hannah Greber

More information

NEW: 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, Marina F. Thomas

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

Social Spaces & Practices of Governance PhD Club

This PhD Club is primarily a reading club but can also adapt to members’ punctual needs, e.g. to discuss a member’s written work relevant to the club. Its members collectively choose the readings that form the basis of the debates. Selected readings engage with (urban) governance from a sociological or anthropological perspective. More specifically, the club tackles the social processes of making policy, institutions, bureaucracies as well as the state. Local conditions and practices form the basis of our perspective on governance that we analytically connect with global processes.

The club gets together on a biweekly basis to discuss read literature and critically engage with it. It is 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

NEW: 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 organized 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: Marlies Zuccato-Doutlik, Hannah Quinz

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: Svenja Schäfer


#Youth, #Education PhD Club

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

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

Contact: Ralph Chan

More information

Are you already part of a group similar to a PhD Club?

If a ViDSS student is part of a group that meets regularly and has a similar purpose as a PhD Club, they can (but do not have to) join another group. Please let us know of which group you are a member (e-mail to