Within the application form, the candidates are required to select three preferred thesis projects and respective PIs. Twice a year (after the published deadlines), all complete application documents are forwarded to the three named PIs for evaluation.
Moreover, applications are also screened by the rectorate for compliance with the admission rules as set out by MedUni Vienna. In the first evaluation process, the PIs appraise the documents they receive according to the selection criteria defined and assign up to ten bonus points to each candidate. The candidates with the highest average scores are then invited to come to Vienna for personal interviews.
During these interviews, the selected candidates are asked to give public presentations, which include short CVs, overviews on their personal scientific interests and experiences, and a critical review of a recently published paper. The papers for discussion are chosen by the evaluating PIs and are announced to the candidates at least one week prior to the hearing. In addition to these public presentations in front of the entire selection committee and of all other CCHD members, the candidates have to present posters covering their diploma theses and are interviewed personally by at least four of the CCHD PIs. All the candidates are invited for dinner with previously accepted CCHD students to give them a first opportunity to get to know each other in a more private atmosphere.
After these public presentations and personal interviews, all PIs convene to generate a final ranking list, again by assigning one (worst) to ten (best) points to each participating candidate. At the same time, the applicants are given the opportunity to generate a list of those PIs whose laboratories they would most like to join. On the basis of these two types of lists, the selection committee decides which candidates should be invited to join CCHD and which laboratories they can be affiliated with. These results are communicated to the candidates only after they have returned home. Within two weeks after receiving the invitation to participate in CCHD, the successful candidates had to send a reply fax stating whether they would like to accept the offered positions.