PromoLi - Opportunities for Everyone

People who have disabilities often have a hard time finding a job. A project at the JKU is committed to pluralism.

Matthias Forstner arbeitet als Soziologe an der JKU.
Matthias Forstner is a sociologist at the JKU.

Nine universities, including the JKU as lead university, are currently taking part in the pilot project "Promotion ohne Limit" (PromoLi). Matthias Forstner (36) from Neuzeug (Upper Austria) currently conducts research at the Department of Empirical Social Research.

How would you assess the PromoLi program?

Forstner: I think the program is very good as it is very important that people who have disabilities benefit from the support and gain a foothold in science. Stronger representation in all areas of science not only helps them, but there is also support when it comes to disability specific views and concerns and this benefits society as a whole.

What does the PhD position mean to you on a personal level and in terms of your academic career?

Forstner: After successfully completing two degrees, I had to then find a job but I wanted something in my range of interests, especially a position that would meet my special needs. I really wanted to make the leap and pursue a career but as a person with disabilities, the job search was extremely difficult. One idea was to find a job at the university, but this was also difficult due to tight budgets. When I heard about the PromoLi program, new perspectives opened up.

What does your dissertation research focus on?

Forstner: I work at the Institute of Sociology / Department of Empirical Social Research and I study disability models and conceptions. I will first focus on theoretical and conceptual models, then later I will also conduct research and develop models to empirically measure disability. This undertaking requires many important fields and disciplines, including disability studies and sociology in health and medicine.

Do you think it would have been more difficult to get a dissertation/position without the PromoLi program?

Forstner: It would have been rather difficult. Many people wanted to help and give me a chance, but the institute operates on tight budgets and many outstanding candidates apply for these positions, making it very difficult for people with disabilities, especially those who, despite their qualifications, also have special needs.