European University Association (EUA) debate on the future of doctoral studies

The Council for Doctoral Education (CDE) of the EUA has brought together 240 participants from 34 countries in its 8th annual meeting to debate the current and future state of doctoral studies. The URV attended the meeting, which took place on 18 and 19 June at the Technical University Munich. Tarragona will host the next meeting of the DCE on 16 and 17 June 2016

The participants in the meeting of the Council for Doctoral Education in Munich.

This is the largest international meeting on doctoral training. During the last 15 years, universities have brought their doctoral courses into line with their research strategies and have created structures to ensure the highest levels of professional management during this stage of postgraduate study. Consequently, universities have moved away from the traditional format of doctoral studies, which were limited to a simple supervisor-student relationship, to a model in which the institution plays an ever more important role.

The Council has analysed how doctoral courses are influenced by five important challenges that universities face, namely digitalisation, MOOCs, ethical dilemmas, competitive funding based on good management and the need to demonstrate research impact. Research and doctoral training are increasingly important, which prompts the question, how should we train future doctoral students?


The meeting consisted of the following five plenary sessions: 1) The Challenges for Universities; 2) Open access, Research Ethics and Capacity Building – Three Case Studies; 3) Collaborative Doctoral Education; 4) EUA-CDE 2014-15; and 5) The Salzburg Achievements – Professional Management, Transferable Skills and Better Supervision.

The Council’s aim was to provide a forum for debate among the key players in doctoral training, namely university leaders, researchers, politicians, and funding and quality agencies, among others.

Discussions from this year’s meeting will be incorporated into the EUA- CDE’s new political initiative regarding doctoral training: The Shape of Things to Come

The next annual meeting of the CDE will be held in Tarragona in 2016, after the URV’s candidature was chosen from those presented. The CDE was created in 2008 and since then has met in a different European city each year, namely Liverpool (2014), Warsaw (2013), Stockholm (2012), Madrid (2011), Berlin (2010), Lausanne (2009), and, this year, Munich.

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