University of Vienna: Presenting early stage researchers: Wanda Spahl on the Health Needs of Refugees

Wanda Spahl conducts research on the health needs of refugees and investigates whether and how these needs are met. She is a PhD candidate at the Vienna Doctoral School of Social Sciences.


Practical barriers to make use of the right for health care
Austria has one of the best health-care systems in the world. However, the system has holes, and people fall through the social welfare net. Wanda Spahl conducts research on the health needs of refugees and investigates whether and how these needs are met. She is currently also involved in a large COVID-19 study. It is titled Solidarity in Times of a Pandemic. The study shows that the pandemic reinforces social inequalities. Wanda Spahl is a PhD candidate at the Vienna Doctoral School of Social Sciences.

Doctoral schools at the University of Vienna
At universities all over Europe, doctoral schools have proven successful in offering the best possible support to doctoral candidates by providing an appropriate framework for their doctoral education. “The new doctoral schools at the University of Vienna correspond to international standards and meet the highest quality criteria,” says Jean-Robert Tyran, Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs at the University of Vienna.

Based on an increase in funding for the doctoral programmes in combination with a fundamentally reformed structure, the doctoral schools enable independent academic research and adhere to the principle of education through research. “Graduates of the doctoral schools are actively involved in the international academic community and have gained experience in working independently. This qualifies them for their future professional careers, either inside or outside universities,” Jean-Robert Tyran explains.

Peer culture and international exchange
Doctoral candidates participating in the University’s doctoral schools have the opportunity to complete special courses and acquire knowledge of the latest methods and techniques, discuss their own research in detail in seminars and enjoy the open exchange with supervisors and other doctoral candidates. Workshops, seminars, research excursions, retreats and summer schools contribute to a lively and international peer culture.

Wanda Spahl is a doctoral candidate at the Vienna Doctoral School of Social Sciences (VidSS). With her research, she aims to find ways to provide solutions for those who have struggles to use their rights for health care.

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