Evidence syntheses and their methodological challenges are a central scientific focus of the Department of Evidence-Based Medicine and Evaluation. The methodological development and application of evidence syntheses is supported by numerous international collaborations. Cochrane Austria and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Evidence-based Medicine are based in the Department.

The PhD program "Applied Evidence Synthesis in Health Research" covers the following topics:

  • Methods of conducting evidence syntheses, includingsystematic reviews, meta-analyses, network meta-analyses, overview of reviews, rapid reviews, scoping reviews, and meta-syntheses
  • Comprehensive systematic database research techniques
  • Biostatistics and modeling for health sciences
  • Programming with R
  • Specialized applications of evidence syntheses in health care, such ashealth technology assessment and guideline development
  • Effective science communication and visualization

The PhD program "Applied Evidence Synthesis in Health Research" pairs an innovative curriculum with hands-on research at the University for Continuing Education Krems. It provides a platform for collaboration and exchange between established researchers and offers a rich learning environment and active support for PhD candidates in the field of health science research. Students are involved in externally funded projects at the University for Continuing Education Krems (subject to funding availability) setting the stage for a future in independent research.


The PhD-program "Applied Evidence Synthesis in Health Research" degree program spans three-years, divided into six-semesters, and encompasses a total of 180 ECTS credits. Of these, 35 ECTS points are allocated to coursework as follows: PhD colloquia:6 ECTS points; compulsory modules: 17 ECTS points; and an elective area: 12 ECTS points. A significant portion of the program—140 ECTS points—is dedicated to research and dissertation writing. An additional 5 ECTS points are reserved for the final examination.


As part of the PhD program "Applied Evidence in Health Research," the following mandatory and elective modules are to be completed.

Module 1: PhD-Colloquia


Module 1 consists of 3 PhD colloquia, which are annual meetings with the PhD committee to discuss and assess the advancement of your research. The colloquia are held once a year and attendance is mandatory. For each colloquium, students prepare a presentation of their dissertation project and a corresponding progress report.



Module 2: Basics of Scientific Research and Teaching


Module 2 promotes foundational skills essential for scientific work and includes the following courses:


  • Good Scientific Practice, Research Integrity and Ethics (1 ECTS)
  • Project management and grant acquisition (1 ECTS)
  • Scientific Presentations, Scientific Writing, Peer Review and Publications (0,5 ECTS)
  • Theory of Teaching and Didactics (0,5 ECTS)


Module 3: Statistical Methods and Modelling


Module 3 covers statistical methods, data analysis, modeling, and an introduction to the free programming language R for statistical computing and graphic and includes the following courses:


  • Statistics for the Life Sciences (2 ECTS)
  • Statistics for Evidence-based Healthcare (1 ECTS)
  • Data Analysis with R (1 ECTS)
  • Introduction to Modelling for Healthcare (2 ECTS)


Module 4: Methods of Evidence Synthesis


Module 4 covers the core content of the PhD program. It provides knowledge about the methods of different types of evidence synthesis and how these methods can be used in health care. Students learn how to conduct methodologically valid systematic reviews and meta-analyses according to the Cochrane methodology. The methods of diagnostic and prognostic reviews and network meta-analyses are also covered. The module also introduces the essentials of graphical risk and effect plots and consists of the following courses:


  • Methods of Evidence Synthesis (4 ECTS)
  • Evidence-informed Decision Making in Healthcare and Health Policy (1 ECTS)
  • Systematic Literature Searches and Information Retrieval (1 ECTS)
  • Presentation and Visualization of Risks and Treatment Effects (1 ECTS)
  • Certainty of Evidence and Guideline Development (1 ECTS)


Module 5: Further Academic Achievements and Electives


Module 5 is designed to further deepen students' understanding of their dissertation topic. Additionally, the module affords the chance to gain international exposure through the Cochrane International Mobility Program. It also offers hands-on experience in academic teaching, advising on bachelor's theses, and participation in other university-related activities such as conferences. The module allows for considerable flexibility in its design, with elective courses to be finalized in the dissertation agreement. A total of 12 ECTS credits are required for completion. The following courses are available for selection:


  • Cochrane International Mobility I-II (4/6 ECTS)
  • Teaching or University-related Activities I-III (ECTS credits are allocated by the program director based on the nature of the activity)
  • Journal Club I-III (je 2 ECTS)
  • Survey Research and Questionnaire Design (1 ECTS)
  • Qualitative Methods (1 ECTS)
  • Evaluation Research (1 ECTS)
  • Evidence-based Public Health (1 ECTS)
  • Registries and Analyses of Registry Data (2 ECTS)
  • Modelling Approaches for Health Technology Assessments (2 ECTS)
  • Selected Methods of Evidence Synthesis or other topic-specific courses (ECTS credits depend on the chosen course)


Back to top