Opportunities at HFT Stuttgart

The Baden-Württemberg State Universities Act (Landeshochschulgesetz) permits universities of applied science (UAPs) to set up cooperative doctorates. A cooperative doctorate places responsibility for supervision and examination with both a UAP professor and a professor from a domestic or international university.

Independent right to award doctorates: the Baden-Württemberg Association for Doctoral Studies was officially established on 29 June 2022, you can find more information here.

There are various options available:

An independent doctorate sees you choose your topic yourself and select a suitable supervisor at HFT Stuttgart. You also select another supervisor from a university (your supervisor at HFT Stuttgart may be able to assist you in this regard). Your doctorate is financed on an independent basis, for example in the form of a personal scholarship.

HFT Stuttgart regularly secures external funds for research projects. The projects are staffed by research assistants, each of whom is allocated a specific role within the overall project. Roles are almost always defined in a way that allows for the writing of a doctoral thesis on the topic at hand alongside the achievement of the specified project outcomes. As such, doctoral candidates who opt for this route are employed to carry out a specific task, funded for the duration of the project and also have the opportunity to write their doctoral thesis.

HFT Stuttgart works with numerous industrial partners in the fields of not only education, but also research and knowledge transfer. Industrial partners often come to us with a specific brief that requires our expertise but must be executed locally at their premises, for example for reasons of data secrecy.

During a doctorate at an industrial partner you will be employed by the company, based at their premises for the majority of your doctoral period and given a specific brief defined by the company. Your doctorate will be supervised by a professor from HFT Stuttgart alongside a supervisor from another university.

Cooperative doctoral colleges affiliated to HFT Stuttgart are financed by external funds. This means that doctoral candidates who are accepted into the respective college receive a scholarship from an external funding body. The colleges themselves are established further to a request from a network of partners, focus on a joint interdisciplinary topic and usually only exist for a fixed term. Scholarships are generally advertised and ideally awarded as close to the start of the college window as possible.

Doctoral candidates benefit from participation in a doctoral college in the following ways:

  • Cooperation between partner institutions, joint participation of supervisors from HFT Stuttgart and universities alike, clearly defined parameters;
  • Interdisciplinary cooperation between doctoral candidates within the college;
  • Opportunities to engage in non-specialist further education;
  • Financial security (private scholarship).



All doctoral candidates at UAPs in Baden-Württemberg are at liberty to take part in opportunities for further education provided by the Baden-Württemberg Center of Applied Research (BW-CAR). Events such as specialist colloquia and non-specialized qualifications are organized throughout the year and generally take place in Stuttgart. In most cases events are held in combination on the same day.

Doctoral candidates with a supervisor who is a BW-CAR member can also opt to join the BW-CAR College. Membership gives them a binding contractual right to supervision, access to a specialist network spanning all UAPs in Baden-Württemberg and assistance in the development of their key qualifications. An overview of the services and support on offer is available on the BW-CAR website (German language only).

Information on research thrusts and corresponding professors is also available on the BW-CAR website (German language only).

Reasons to choose a cooperative doctorate at HFT Stuttgart:

  • Acquisition of additional expertise thanks to contact with universities.
  • Application-oriented, interdisciplinary research;
  • A leading doctoral program at regional, national and international level;
  • Direct, intensive contact with supervisors;
  • Contact with project partners (often regional companies);

The majority of our research projects are characterized by highly interdisciplinary cooperation that facilitates the holistic investigation of complex, future-oriented topics.

Reasons for a cooperative doctorate at the HFT
  • Application-oriented, interdisciplinary research
  • Leading in BW, Germany and internationally
  • Direct and intensive contact with the supervisors
  • Contact to project partners, often regional companies
  • Additional expertise through university contact
Person in Robe hält Urkunde in der Hand
Your way to a doctoral degree

That's what our PhD's say:

Cooperative doctoral colleges

With cooperative doctoral colleges, the HFT Stuttgart offers the opportunity to participate in a further qualifying teaching programme in addition to work on your own doctoral project. A regular exchange is encouraged among the doctoral students in the college, whereby the organisation and setting of priorities is the responsibility of the members themselves. The aim is to offer high-quality support to excellent graduates from various types of universities. The doctoral collegia provide a thematic framework for the nevertheless very interdisciplinary research projects.

All PhD students at HAWen in Baden-Württemberg are also offered a further qualifying teaching programm through BW-CAR.


Former cooperative doctoral colleges

Windrad-Modelle stehen auf einem Tisch

Windy Cities


The interdisciplinary approach in the doctoral college Windy Cities includes projects on the following topics:

  • Simulation and visualization
  • Development of new energy storage technologies
  • Testing of prototypes in urban small wind turbines
  • Intelligent load management
  • Duration: Since 2016


Joint doctoral college of

  • HFT Stuttgart
  • Stuttgart University
  • University of Esslingen


Further information is available at www.windycities.de

Studierende sitzen im Innenhof bei Sonnenschein zusammen



The project "Energy Systems and Resource Efficiency - ENRES" focused on the integrated consideration of energy systems and resource efficiency - both in technical and socio-economic terms.

  • Duration 2016-2019


Joint doctoral college of

  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Pforzheim University
Bibliothek der HFT Stuttgart



CI-NERGY is the name of the EU project in which eleven young researchers are given the opportunity to qualify for a doctorate in the field of "Smart City" research.

  • Duration 2013-2017

Projekt partners

EIFER European Institute for Energy Research EDF-KIT EWIV, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Integrated Environmental Solutions Limited, The University Of Nottingham, Politecnico Di Torino, Siemens AG, University College Dublin, National University Of Ireland, Wien Energie GmbH, Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, City of Vienna, Canton of Geneva, Technische Universität Wien

Frequently asked questions

Students or research coworker intending to do a doctorate should contact a professor in the field of their particular interest directly. A possible doctorate will then be coordinated directly.

The preceding Master's degree (or diploma) is generally needed.

The doctoral project must be approved by the doctoral committee of the faculty of the supervising university professor. Therefore, the requirements for the doctorate are individually dependent on the choice of the supervising person.

The doctoral students decide on the topic together with their supervisors. Finally, the doctoral project must be accepted by the doctoral committee of the supervising university professor's faculty. Therefore, the requirements for the doctorate are individually dependent on the choice of the supervising persons.

This depends strongly on the individual circumstances. On average, one should assume about four years.

At the HFT Stuttgart, professors work on a wide range of research projects. They are supported by young scientists, who often strive for a doctorate. These employees are usually paid via project funding and therefore also work specifically on a research project. Another possibility for financing is through personal funding via scholarships or industrial doctorates. In the latter case, the doctoral students are employed by a company, but are supervised by the HFT.

BW-CAR stands for Baden-Württemberg Centre of Applied Research. It is a supra-regional network for professors of HAWen who are strong in research. The aim is to network thematically in research areas to generate synergies for high-level research.