The University of Vienna is the largest Austrian research institution hosting 6,800 academics within 15 faculties and five centres, dedicated to both basic and applied research. Furthermore, 16 research platforms have been established to promote especially innovative interdisciplinary research projects. The Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, which comprises three divisions (Microbial Ecology, Computational Systems Biology, and Terrestrial Ecosystem Research) includes 12 groups and close to 100 research staff members and is internationally renowned for its research on revealing the identity and ecophysiology of microorganisms and their interactions among each other and with the environment or eukaryotic hosts. Specific research aims include (i) understanding the role of symbiotic microorganisms for host function and health, (ii) revealing the function of microorganisms in the biogeochemical carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycles, and their response to global change and (iii) microbial evolution.
University of Vienna lecture halls and laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. Researchers have free access to specialist libraries and to the main library (the oldest in the German-speaking world and the largest in Austria). The University also houses the greatest amount of research infrastructure in Austria60. The Center for Doctoral Studies provides specific support to doctoral candidates in order to successfully pursue and complete their doctoral projects. This includes one to one meetings, transferable skills workshops and training (60 per semester), dissertation writing groups and additional support services for international PhD candidates (e.g. Welcome Days and monthly meet ups). ESRs will also have access to childcare facilities and language courses. The Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science operates the Life Science Compute Cluster61, a medium-sized compute cluster on PC basis. In total the LiSC provides about 1000 CPU cores, 800 TB redundant storage space and up to 1 TB RAM per node. Copies of all relevant biological databases (such as NCBI nt and nr) are available as local copies on high-speed disks in all compute nodes. The main difference to larger, generic computing facilities, such as the Vienna Scientific Cluster (VSC) is the equipment with a rich, flexible and up-to-date bioinformatics software repository and the availability of major biological databases on-site.