Phd in Data Science. Salzburg. Austria.

"Being more than just a sum of existing subjects,
the new field of Data Science provides
a modern synthesis of key disciplines,
driven by today's research questions,
and driving the world of tomorrow."

You love the fascination to draw relevant information from big data, and make sense of it? You are an innovative thinker? You enjoy to develop computer programs? Then, the Data Science PhD in Salzburg may be just the right thing for you!

No Master's Degree yet? Check out our MSc. program in Data Science (in German only), the first Data Science Master's program in Austria.

Data Science: CareerCast Best Job 2016!
Salzburg: The most attractive university city in Austria, and one of the top 10 places in Europe for studying (see below).
Data Science in Salzburg: Shaping the future. While enjoying the present.

General information about PhD studies in Salzburg:
General Doctorate School at Salzburg University
Doctorate School Statistics and Applied Data Science

Depending on the topic, graduate students may obtain a doctorate in natural sciences (Dr. rer. nat.) or in technical sciences (Dr. techn.).

Source: Tourismus Salzburg

What does a Data Scientist do?

A data scientist is fit in statistics and computer science, a good team player, and s/he doesn't lose the big picture in spite of many details. Therefore, today's data scientist first has to understand very well the origins of data from which information is to be extracted. To this end, it is essential to have a good communication basis with subject matter experts from different areas, and to speak a common scientific language. After understanding how the data have been generated, they are analyzed using state-of-the-art statistical techniques and the results are presented in an understandable and clear manner. That is, a bow is drawn from raw data to information, from information to knowledge, and from knowledge to making well-informed decisions. Today's data scientists play a central role in this endeavor.

What is a Data Scientist? (SAS)

Why Data Science?

The term describes a mixture of skills that is and will be in high demand - namely knowledge in statistics, data analytics, business analytics, business intelligence, several areas of computer science, as well as legal and ethical principles. Successful graduates of data science programs have excellent and interesting job prospects. As early as 212, more than 90% of of Fortune 500 companies had started data science initiatives. Existing data science teams of larger companies are being dramatically expanded. Considering the fact that collecting data is done in quasi automatic manner in several technology areas (keyword process mining), and doesn't require large financial resources, experts however are scarce who can analyze the collected data in analytically sound ways, one can safely assume that the demand for data scientists will not drop in the near future, but instead continue to increase.

Currently, we are experiencing a revolution of data mining and "big data" into a more and more quantitatively founded science and research area. As a logical consequence, societally relevant ethical and legal questions are increasingly being posed, and quality and reproducibility of the used methods become a focus of attention. Our society urgently needs people who profoundly understand the benefits and limitations of collecting and analyzing data, who are capable to estimate the positive potential of information latent in data, and to make it usable for the common good.

Why Data Science in Salzburg?

International students regularly vote for the Wissensstadt (city of knowledge) Salzburg as most attractive university city in Austria, and one of the top 10 places in Europe for studying. Why?
Studying in Salzburg means studying in a fantastic environment. Salzburg is well-known as festival city, as Mozart city, as a city with extraordinarily varied and attractive outdoor and cultural offerings. Salzburg's famous old city with an ensemble of baroque building has been on the UNESCO world cultural heritage list since 1996. The fortress is among the most visited sights in Austria. After work, one may, for example, go for short or extended jogging or cycling tours, starting directly at our department building, either in the Salzach valley or onto the surrounding mountains. Or you do laps in the nearest public swimming pool which is within 400m walking distance.

And the academic environment?
Our students say that it is motivating and dynamic. An excellent faculty-to-student ratio and the personal atmosphere in the departments at Salzburg University distinguishes our university from the educational mass production at some other locations. Here, quality matters. Among the top scientists who have joined forces for Salzburg's Data Science initiative, there are several (also younger) professors for whom dedicated advising is a top priority. Many of them are responsible for Salzburg being placed on the map of international first class science locations. And, people here love to do research across departmental boundaries. Therefore, Salzburg is an ideal place to do interdisciplinary work.

Admission Requirements

With a Master's Degree in Statistics, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, or Data Science, you may be able to obtain admission without any additional requirements. However, admission requirements are checked on an individual basis. If you have questions, please contact us!

Application Deadline

For admission for Winter semester 2017, you application should be received by mid November 2017.

Application Procedure

Fill out the "Antrag auf Zulassung" (Application for Admission), following the instructions on that document.
Application Guidelines

Data Science Faculty (will be available in English soon)

Nikolaus Augsten is a full professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Salzburg, where he heads the Database Group. He received his PhD degree in Computer Science from Aalborg University, Denmark, in 2008, and holds a MSc degree from Graz University of Technology, Austria. Prior to joining the University of Salzburg in 2013, he was a researcher at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy. He was on leave at TU München, Germany, in 2010/2011 and visited Washington State University in 2005/2006. In his research, Augsten deals with technical issues of efficiently storing, updating, and querying large amounts of data. He is particularly interested in similarity queries, which do not require an exact match but allow some degree of fuzziness. His research is motivated by concrete applications and results in new algorithms that are implemented and tested on the motivating application. More than a dozen of his works were published in the most prestigious outlets of the database field. He is the first author of an article that was selected among more than 500 submissions to receive the Best Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on Data Enginering, Long Beach, CA, in 2010. Augsten regularly serves on the program committee of the most important international database conferences and is currently an associate editor of the VLDB Journal.

Arne Bathke was born in Hamburg and grew up in Northern Germany and Norway. He studied mathematics in Göttingen, spent study time abroad in Italy and the USA, and obtain his doctoral degree in 2000. Afterwards, he has worked for 11 years in the United States as statistics professor at the University of Kentucky, where he was also inaugural director of the Applied Statistics Laboratory, a comprehensive statistics consulting facility on campus.

Arne Bathke's research deals with developing and evaluating new statistical methods, and he has given numerous invited talks, lectures and workshops on five continents. On the other hand, he is also interested in the application and improvement of statistical procedures in interdisciplinary cooperations with colleagues from other fields, from medicine and biology to economics. About half of his more than 70 publications in international journals result from cooperation projects.

Among other awards, Arne Bathke was named "Henry Clay Ambassador" by the Mayor of Lexington (Kentucky) for his civil engagement, and he has received two university-wide awards for excellence in teaching and advising. Furthermore, he is on the board of the Austrian Statistical Association (ÖSG), on the advisory board of the International Biometric Society - Region Österreich-Schweiz (IBS-ROeS), and on the editorial board of three international statistics journals (International Journal of Biostatistics, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Statistical Papers).

Why am I fascinated by Data Science?
"It is exciting to find structures hidden in complex data. And, since Data Science already plays a central role today in many areas, we have the opportunity to not only advance scientific methodology, but also to work on interdisciplinary teams with remarkable researchers from a diverse array of fields, and to learn from these colleagues about their own subjects."

Thomas Blaschke studied Geography and Geoinformatics and worked as a researcher, senior lecturer and professor in Germany, Austria and the UK. He also held temporary affiliations as visiting scientist and guest professor in several countries including a US Fulbright professorship. He is full Professor and Co-Director of the Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS, Director of the Doctoral College GIScience and vice-president of the Society for Geoinformatics, GeoIT & Navigation. His research interests include methodological issues of the integration of GIS, remote sensing and image processing also with aspects of participatory approaches, decision making and human-environment interaction. His academic record yields 370+ scientific publications including 125 journal publications. He is author, co-author or editor of 17 books, received several academic prices and awards including the Christian-Doppler Prize 1995 and was elected as a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 2015. He has been and is project leader in various international and national research projects and serves on various editing boards of international journals, conference committees and for a dozen national research councils.

Why am I fascinated by Data Science?
"I was always fascinated by spatial questions and spatial analysis as a key methodology. Over the last years I collaborated with other disciplines and learned from integrated projects which include e.g. text or sentiments which may then be put in a space-time context - whether it's big or small data."

Klaus Nowotny is associate professor of economics at the University of Salzburg and member of the research staff at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research WIFO. He studied economics at the University of Linz and earned his doctorate from the University of Innsbruck in 2006, after which he worked full-time at WIFO. In 2012, Klaus Nowotny joined the University of Salzburg where he habilitated in 2017. In 2013 he also spent some months as a visiting researcher at the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research mainly focuses on regional economic aspects of international migration and cross-border commuting with an emphasis on applied econometrics..

Why am I fascinated by Data Science?
"The most interesting economic and scientific questions are, for me, always empirical. A sound knowledge of empirical methods and the ability to use them effectively to solve complex problems provide a solid foundation for exciting careers."

After studying mathematics and completing his PhD at the Vienna University of Technology Ass.-Prof. Wolfgang Trutschnig was Associate Researcher at the interdisciplinary European Center for Soft Computing (Spain), where was PI in various applied projects.

Complementing his basic research mainly in the field of copulas and dependence modelling he enjoys working in interdisciplinary research projects. Additionally, over the last ten years he has gained a lot of experience in applied projects and statistical consulting.

Why am I fascinated by Data Science?
"Working in applied projects with companies makes you realize more then ever how important using state-of-the art data analysis techniques is."

Martin Weichbold studierte Soziologie und Politikwissenschaft und hat sich 2005 an der Universität Salzburg für Soziologie und empirische Sozialforschung habilitiert, wo er seither als außerordentlicher Professor am FB Politikwissenschaft und Soziologie tätig ist. Darüber hinaus engagiert er sich in nationalen und internationalen Netzwerken und Organisationen zu Methodik und Methodologie empirischer Sozialforschung. Sein wissenschaftliches Interesse gilt der Gewinnung von Daten in den Sozialwissenschaften, sei es durch Umfragen oder durch andere Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung. Zahlreiche Publikationen, Herausgeberschaften aber auch Drittmitttelprojekte beschäftigten sich unterschiedlichen Aspekten, einen zentralen Fokus bildet aber jeweils die Frage, wie eine hohe Qualität sozialwissenschaftlicher Daten sichergestellt werden kann.

Warum bin ich von Data Science fasziniert?
"Es scheint, dass wir von einer Datenflut überrollt werden. Sich von der Fülle der Daten nicht blenden zu lassen, sondern immer zu fragen: Was sagen diese Daten eigentlich aus? Wofür stehen sie? halte ich für eine zentrale Aufgabe einer wissenschaftlichen Herangehensweise. Dann aber können wir faszinierende Einblicke in die Gesellschaft - oder einen anderen Bereich - gewinnen."

Charlotte Werndl ist Professorin für Logik und Wissenschaftstheorie und Visiting Professor an der London School of Economics. Sie studierte Philosophie und Mathematik mit Schwerpunkt Statistik in Salzburg. Danach ging sie an die Universität Cambridge, um dort ihr Doktorat in Philosophie abzuschließen. Es folgte ein Postdoc an der Universität Oxford, bevor sie nach Salzburg zurückkehrte, für mehrere Jahre (erst als Assistant Professor und dann als Associate Professor) am Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method an der London School of Economics.

Charlotte Werndls Forschungsschwerpunkte liegen in der Philosophie der Statistik, der Philosophie der Klimawissenschaften und den Grundlagen der statistischen Mechanik. Sie hat zahlreiche Publikationen in den besten Journalen ihres Gebietes und ist eine international führende Forscherin. Dies schlägt sich auch in ihrer Tätigkeit als Editor für die Journale "Philosophy of Science" und "Review of Symbolic Logik" nieder. Für Exzellenz in der Forschung erhielt sie 2011 den Cushing Memorial Prize in History and Philosophy of Physics.

Warum bin ich von Data Science fasziniert?
"Data Science wirft viele grundlegende konzeptionelle und ethische Fragestellungen auf, etwa inwieweit die Privatsphäre im Internet geschützt werden soll und kann und ob das klassische statistische Hypothesentesten wirklich eine gute Methode ist, um Hypothesen zu testen. Diese Fragen interdisziplinär zu behandeln, ist gleichzeitig ungemein wichtig und spannend."

Hannes Winner is Full Professor of Economics at the University of Salzburg, permanent scientific consultant at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), and Research Fellow at the Centre for Business Taxation at the Oxford University. He studied economics at the University in Innsbruck and visited several universities, among others the London School of Economics and the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence. Hannes Winner's research focuses on public economics, health economics and applied econometrics. He has published in leading academic journals such as Journal of Public Economics, Journal of International Economics, or European Economic Review.

Why am I fascinated by Data Science?
"Working with real data gives a fascinating view on economic issues. Improved computer performance and better data access make it easier to handle large individual datasets ("big data"). This requires a sound knowledge of empirical methods, but also it is a lot of fun."

Selection of Industry and Other Cooperation Partners

(for legal reasons only a selection)
Industriellenvereinigung Salzburg
Blumatix Consulting
Eurofunk Kappacher
Wissen:stadt Salzburg
Land Salzburg
Salzburger Landeskliniken
Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg


Regarding general admissions questions:
Alexander Jährig, Central Studies Administration, Salzburg University

Regarding the Doctoral Program at the Faculty of Natural Sciences:
Sandra Reiter, Mathematics Department,

Regarding the Content of the PhD Studies:
Arne Bathke, Head, Doctorate School Statistics and Applied Data Science,

About us
Salzburg University
Data Science Core Faculty
Hellbrunnerstraße 34
5020 Salzburg
Austria, Europe

Vertreten durch:
Arne Bathke, Salzburg University

Telefon: +43. 662. 8044.5312

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