Austrian Doctoral Research Fellowship

Since 1992, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) has awarded 10-month doctoral research fellowships (with stipends of €1,500 per month) to advanced doctoral students attending universities with Austrian Studies Centers. Opportunities abound for visiting graduate fellows to attend seminars and lectures, work with world-class University of Minnesota faculty, conduct archival research, and get involved with administrative and research projects at a major research university.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are consistently rated as one of America’s most livable regions, with abundant parks, lakes, and bicycle trails, two symphony orchestras, numerous theaters, 
jazz and rock clubs, and sporting opportunities. Come discover the metropolitan area that almost 4 million people call home!

Opportunities at the University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota is one of America's top research universities, offering numerous resources for young scholars:

  • Libraries: over 8.2 million volumes and subscriptions to over 114,000 journals
  • Faculty: over 4,000 world-renowned scholars who willingly give time to visiting graduate students
  • Research Centers include Immigration History Research Center, North America’s leading research center and archives devoted to migration issues; Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World, a new national multidisciplinary research project on premodern society; Minnesota Population Center, the world’s most important center for interdisciplinary demographic studies
  • Outstanding academic departments including history, political science, economics, sociology, geography and geographic information systems, German studies, philosophy, art history, American studies, psychology, and many more
  • Academic Center for Writing: a resource to help foreign students improve their English-language academic writing and presentation skills
  • Opportunities for Networking on a university, national, and international level
  • A welcoming scholarly community and intellectual environment: the Center’s close ties with the Institute for Global Studies, International Scholar and Student Services, and various departments and research centers provide a social and intellectual community that introduces scholars to the university, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and Minnesota

A Fellow's duties are excellent preparation for an academic career:


My year at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Austrian Studies was nothing less than a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The libraries and databases at the U of M offer an amazing scope of material. The people at the U in general—and at the CAS in particular—made me feel welcome and comfortable from the very first day. It was easy to make friends, both inside and outside the university. Minneapolis as a city leaves nothing to be desired, with its lakes, parks, and—most important to me—its vibrant theater scene. Thanks to the BMWFW Minnesota Doctoral Fellowship I had the opportunity to broaden both my academic and my personal horizon in many respects.
- Michael Streif, 2016–17 fellow

In my year in Minneapolis and at CAS I made considerable progress on my PhD and also appreciated the social life in the Twin Cities. I was able to deepen the research for my dissertation by visiting specific courses, finding useful literature that I probably would not have had access to in my home university, and just reading and deepening my knowledge. I made wonderful friends with people from all over the world but especially with the people from CAS and IGS. I would recommend everyone who is interested in the program to apply; it’s a lifetime experience you will never regret.
- Martin Baresch, 2015–16 fellow  

The BMBWF Fellowship at the University of Minnesota provides you with many opportunities: access to a comprehensive library, approachable faculty who will happily discuss your research, interesting lectures and classes covering your research topic. But most importantly, it will give you time to read, think, and write. You will leave the Twin Cities with happy memories of bike rides along the Mississippi and the lakes, improved English language, as well as academic skills, and a significant part of your dissertation finished.
-Verena Stern, 2013–14 fellow

Past Fellows
2023-2024: Claudia Kumpitsch, Law, University of Graz
2022-2023: Hannah Myott, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna
2020-2022: No awards given due to COVID-19 Pandemic
2019-2020: Peter Wegenschimmel, East and Southeast European Studies, University of Munich
2018–2019: Silke Niklas, History, Andrássy University Budapest
2017–2018: Sarah Oberbichler, History, University of Innsbruck 
2016–2017: Michael Streif, American Studies, University of Salzburg
2015–2016: Martin Baresch, Economics, University of Linz
2014–2015: Carl Neumayr, Sociology, University of Graz
2013–2014: Verena Stern, Political Science, University of Vienna
2012–2013: Matthias Falter, Political Science, University of Vienna
2011–2012: Thomas Hörzer, History, University of Graz
2010–2011: Thomas Schmidinger, Politcal Science, University of Vienna
2009–2010: Jan Surman, History, University of Vienna
2008–2009: Thomas König, Political Science, University of Vienna
2007–2008: Simon Loidl, History, University of Vienna
2006–2007: Barbara Reiterer, Sociology, University of Vienna
2005–2006: Silke Stern, History, University of Graz
2004–2005: Mirjam Marits, Anglistik-Amerikanistik, University of Graz
2003–2004: Manuela Steinberger, Art History, University of Graz
2002–2003: Harald Stelzer, Philosophy, University of Graz
2001–2002: Stephan Hametner, European Folk Music, University of Vienna
1999–2000: Stefan Riegler, Business Administration, University of Graz
1998–1999: Johanna Ortler, Philosophy, University of Vienna
1997–1998: Anita Eichinger, Philosophy, University of Vienna
1996–1997: Rudy Weissenbacher, Political Science, University of Vienna
1995–1996: Thomas Winderl, Political Science, University of Vienna
1994–1995: Thomas Burg, History, University of Vienna
1993–1994: Manfred Blümel, Political Science, University of Vienna
1992–1993: Sonja Kröll, American Studies, University of Salzburg

The BMBWF Fellowship was a great opportunity to continue and to present my academic research and enjoy the encouraging and intellectual environment at the Center for Austrian Studies and the University of Minnesota in general.
- Matthias Falter, 2012–13 fellow

The CAS eagerly helped me to find people who helped me with my research. Although my study was mostly based in the Minnesota Historical Society the center was always a warm place to be.
- Thomas Hörzer, 2011–12 fellow

My fellowship at the University of Minnesota was one of the most important experiences during my PhD studies. I had time to write, to get to know a great American university, and to get in touch with the American scientific community. I got the opportunity to organize two scientific conferences with CAS and the Institute for Global Studies. The proceedings of one of the conferences were published as an edited volume and the other will be published soon. These publications in English are an important push for my scientific career. I also loved Minneapolis. I made a lot of new friends and learned a lot about political and social movements, the city’s vibrant LGBTQ community and Somali community, and the Anishinabe and Dakota communities in Minnesota.
-Thomas Schmidinger, 2010–11 fellow

The stay in Minnesota turned out to be a formative time in my professional career. I arrived at the beginning of the financial crisis, and I left when President Obama was just a few months in. In the months between, I encountered an entirely new world of intellectual exchange, open-mindedness, and rigorous scientific scholarship (not to mention the harsh winter, which I spent mostly in libraries and hip coffee shops). Minneapolis is so neat, the U of M such a great university, and the small Center for Austrian Studies an unlooked-for beacon of transatlantic exchange.
-Thomas König, 2008–09 fellow

Even though I arrived with high expectations, I could not possibly have anticipated the ample opportunities I would encounter during my time at CAS. Discussing my dissertation plans with faculty and fellow grad students, auditing classes, researching in the libraries and archives, and more generally partaking in the exciting intellectual environment not only inspired me to modify my dissertation topic, but to eventually transfer to the University of Minnesota, where I graduated with a PhD in History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
- Barbara Louis (Reiterer), 2006–07 fellow

Der Aufenthalt am CAS bietet finanzielle und institutionelle Sicherheit und das Kennenlernen des amerik. Wissenschaftsbetriebes sowie die Möglichkeit längerer Forschungs- bzw. Archivreisen innerhalb der USA (etwa nach Washington) und des fachl. Austausches mit Kollegen und die Chance, Mitglied der Community einer der größten Universitäten der USA zu sein, inkl. der Benutzung ihrer Infrastruktur (Bibliotheken, Teilnahme an Vorträgen und Vorlesungen als Gasthörer). Für mich persönlich brachte der Aufenthalt in Minneapolis eine einzigartige Horizonterweiterung und einen besonderen Einblick in eine fremde Kultur und Sprache in einem internationalen Umfeld.  Als Organisatorin der Österreich-Stammtische und diverser Ausflüge war ich in der Position, Studierende und auch Universitätspersonal aus vielen Ländern kennenzulernen, von denen ich mit vielen auch heute noch in Kontakt stehe.
- Silke Stern, 2005–06 fellow

I was, and still am, very grateful for the chance to spend an academic year at the University of Minnesota. I was able to deepen the research for my dissertation and find useful literature that I probably would not have had access to in Austria. I made wonderful friends from all over the world and, thanks to the diverse program at the Center for Austrian Studies, got to talk with experts and professors from various fields. All in all it was a great and unforgettable once in a lifetime chance that I would not have wanted to miss.
-Mirjam Marits, 2004–05 fellow