Neue Option: FH und Doktorat
Philipp Eder, member of staff at FH JOANNEUM, is writing his doctoral thesis on the subject of tyre behaviour, particularly in autonomous vehicles. (© FH JOANNEUM / Stefan Leitner)

New option: FH and doctorate


It has recently become possible to work in science at FH JOANNEUM while completing a doctorate at Graz University of Technology; Philipp Eder is one of the first to do so.

Ten years ago Philipp Eder began his degree studies on what was then the Diploma programme in Automotive Engineering. After graduating he worked at Audi before going on to complete the Master’s programme of the same name. Since 2013 he has been a member of staff at the FH JOANNEUM Institute of Automotive Engineering. He currently teaches and, assisted by students, undertakes project work including the Ultralight Wheelchair and leads three research projects. One of these projects examines the transferable lateral force between tyres and road surface, which is also the subject of his doctoral thesis.

Autonomous vehicles replace drivers – and with it the sensitivity to tyre behaviour – with sensors, signal processing algorithms and actuators. For that reason the mathematical description of the vehicle tyres plays an important role in enabling accurate forecasts of their behaviour in various driving situations in order to guarantee road safety. Philipp Eder is working on a specific research issue in this field. What is new is that he is writing his doctoral thesis at the Doctoral School of Mechanical Engineering at Graz University of Technology.

“I feel very much at home in a university environment which cooperates closely with industry. The doctorate was the logical next step for me,” reasons Philipp Eder. In his doctoral thesis Philipp Eder is involved not only with the two universities, but is also engaged with a third cooperation partner, AVL List GmbH. The subject of his thesis was firmed up in conversations with the company, while AVL’s existing contacts were also used in the search for a supervisor at TU Graz. Philipp Eder will subsequently integrate his newly acquired know-how into his teaching, passing on his knowledge to students in two new courses at FH JOANNEUM.

Working with a company is not compulsory, but has the advantage of offering access to the latest technology and, to some extent, as yet unpublished knowledge available within that company. The scientific supervision is primarily provided by professors at TU Graz. Philipp Eder also has experienced contacts with whom he can confer both in the company and at FH JOANNEUM.

Doctoral agreement
“This is a ground-breaking cooperation for FH JOANNEUM. Doctoral candidates were previously forced to leave the University of Applied Sciences in order to carry out doctoral research and write their theses at a university. Now FH JOANNEUM staff can complete their doctoral degrees in technical subjects at one of the doctoral schools at TU Graz in cooperation with FH JOANNEUM, allowing the candidates to remain at FH JOANNEUM or be employed on research projects,” explains Karl Peter Pfeiffer, Scientific Managing Director at FH JOANNEUM.

The duty of supervising the thesis falls to a supervisor from TU Graz, supported by lecturers, and associate or full professors at FH JOANNEUM. Consequently, the subject of the doctoral thesis can also be partly linked to research activities at FH JOANNEUM. This is made possible through an agreement concluded between TU Graz and FH JOANNEUM in May 2017. More information is available here.