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PhD Student Postion, Austria


The group of Christiane Druml at LBI-RUD, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases in Vienna, seeks to fill the open position of a


The focus of the research group is on evaluating the ethical implications in cutting-edge biotechnological research and emerging clinical therapy options. In the context of this work, Christiane Druml as a key researcher of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD) works in collaboration with the other research groups at the LBI-RUD to combine knowhow concerning the ethical and legal implications of scientific and clinical progress (e.g. dealing with incidental findings, data protection in -omics research projects) with highly up-to-date scientific knowledge about state-of-the-art genetic and genomic technologies including next generation sequencing and a wide range of cellular and molecular techniques. The LBI-RUD will be the first institution in Austria where basic research, medicine and ethics are working hand in hand to explore the situation of rare diseases.

We are looking for a highly motivated and well-organized PhD candidate to join our research group and support us in researching ethical and legal questions arising in research projects in the field of life science. The candidate would work mainly with Christiane Druml, UNESCO Chair of Bioethics at the Medical University of Vienna, based at the “Josephinum (Druml C, Stem cell research: towards a greater Europe, Cell 2009; ESPEN guideline on ethical aspects of artificial nutrition and hydration, Clinical Nutrition 2016; Druml C, Bioethics internationally and in Austria: a sense of solidarity, Wien Klin Wochenschr 2016). Although the main focus of the work will be in the field of ethics, complete inclusion into the standard CeMM international PhD program is required, but will be individually structured. The following projects are currently under development:


Rare diseases pose a major health problem to modern societies. Recent discoveries made by key researchers of the new established LBI-RUD could lead to the identification of unknown disease-causing genes (Boztug K et al Nature Genet 2014; Willmann K et al Nature Commun 2014; Dobbs K et al New Engl J Med 2015). This project aims at investigating ethical and legal implications emerging from the possibilities of such modern genomic technologies and specific issues related to rare diseases research.


Ethical considerations of rare diseases research in Austria and beyond

Rare diseases research raises a number of ethical issues that will be investigated by the team of LBI-RUD, with the goal of providing concrete, justified recommendations to clinicians, researchers, and other stakeholders.

This research project will be based on a detailed review and consideration of the relevant national and international literature, and on extensive stakeholder interviews and discussions. Close interaction with external Austrian and international institutions, including physicians and their professional organizations, patients and patient advocacy groups, politicians and lawmakers, and many further groups will be needed. The full integration of ethics research into the work program of LBI-RUD follows in many ways the principles of “responsible research and innovation”.

Additionally, the candidate will be involved in the organization of rare disease stakeholder conferences; in the publication of an Austrian stakeholder report and in continuous public outreach activities.


Requirements and desired qualifications:

The successful candidate is a proactive and independent thinker with a strong background in two or more of the following disciplines: Ethics, philosophy, law, genetics/molecular biology, statistics/bioinformatics, or medicine, and holds a final degree (at least a four year Bachelor’s degree equivalent). The ideal candidate will have an excellent work ethic and very good communication skills. Enthusiasm, self-motivation, creativity as well as a proactive approach to solving problems and developing new ideas are highly desirable. We are looking for a candidate who is able to connect different scientific disciplines and think outside the box.

The official language at CeMM is English, additionally for this field perfect knowledge of German is required. The program starts in October 2016.


We offer:

• a challenging position in a meaningful, inspiring, international setting

• an excellent work climate and the possibility to join our social activities

• a generous scholarship which will cover all research costs, university fees, work related travel, salary and health insurance for 4 years. The degree will be awarded by the Medical University of Vienna.


The Institute:

The newly founded Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD) is directed by Kaan Boztug and is situated in a bright and perfectly designed building that is strategically located next to one of the world’s largest university hospitals. The institute is deeply integrated with its renowned partner institutions, namely the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Medical University of Vienna, and the Children’s Cancer Research Institute of the St. Anna Children’s Hospital, and, therefore perfectly situated to benefit from strong translational research long established by leading-edge research groups.


Institute homepage will be available shortly:

The UNESCO Chair for Bioethics at the Medical University of Vienna is based at the Josephinum in walking distance to the CeMM:


Applicants should please submit: A cover letter (describing their career goals and explaining why they are the ideal candidate for this position), a CV and names and contact details of 2-3 referees, in a single PDF file to: application(at) using the reference code #PhD/CD16 in the header. Application deadline is 31st August 2016.

Further Information

Application Deadline : 31 August 2016

PhD Student Postion : PDF

Contact Email:

Posted on 2016-07-25 04:05:54

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