Integrating interdisciplinary concepts and methods

The endeavour of knowledge and understanding, and how both can make a positive impact on society, lies at the heart of research and knowledge exchange at our University.
Several areas of research excellence are orchestrated within the following areas:

  • Representations and Data Models
  • Time and Process Models
  • Spatialisation, Contextualisation and Society

The Doctoral College “GIScience” is an international PhD degree programme funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. This programme is dedicated to basic research and graduate education in the field of Geoinformatics and GIScience. It is committed to conducting world-class research.


Geographic Information Science (GIScience) as an interdisciplinary field seeks to understand the nature of geographic phenomena and of geographic information. This doctoral college (German language abbreviation: DK GIScience) advances formalized doctoral education and research training in GIScience at the University of Salzburg. The DK seeks to conceptualize spatial principles and to explore scientific uses of geographic information in order to analyse the complex relationships between individuals and society. It provides a framework for explicitly spatial scientific studies of physical and social phenomena.


DK GIScience is an ‘education through research’ programme with supervision, monitoring and assessment procedures which are critically important for the quality of the experience and training of doctoral candidates. DK GIScience focuses on qualification requirements, responsibilities and duties of supervisors; training of supervisors; supervision models; doctoral candidates’ progress assessment; requirements for the doctoral thesis and its defence; and finally, the follow-up “tracking” of doctoral candidates’ career outcomes.


Salzburg is an established hotspot for GIScience research and a well-known trademark in research and education, and combines University with non-university research (e.g. Salzburg Research and Research Studio iSPACE). Within the University of Salzburg, Z_GIS is a flagship institution and has been a research centre from 1988 to 2012. It was transferred to become an Interfaculty Department in August 2012 with some 85 faculty and staff members. Z_GIS is particularly commited to research and postgraduate education. Since 1994, more than 800 students have graduated from the successful MSc programme UNIGIS GIScience, while over 200 students have graduated from the newer onsite international MSc programme – together with some 50 PhDs building the basis of a strong alumni culture!