by Ana Christina Freitas

DocTalent4EU – Transforming Europe Through Doctoral Talent and Skills Recognition

DocTalent4EU is a two-year HORIZON EUROPE funded project (2023-2024) aimed at improving training and career development for PhD candidates.

While the number of researchers in Europe has increased substantially in the last years, this growth was higher for junior research positions than for senior research positions (European Commission, 2021).

Given that junior positions are often associated with more precarious conditions (Hnatkova et al., 2022) and do not necessarily lead to permanent contracts, it is crucial that doctoral programmes develop training curricula and services preparing PhD candidates for careers both within and outside academia.

Building from the results of DocEnhance, a previous Horizon project, DocTalent4EU will enhance transversal skills training and career development of PhD candidates by focusing on four interrelated pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Boosting skills intelligence and identifying the most demanded transversal skills

DocTalent4EU project aims to enhance PhD employability through a strong, visible and innovative recognition-system of the most in-demand transferable skills (relying on the ESCO framework) that early-career researchers (ECRs) acquire or will acquire through their doctoral training and research activities. The project will also develop a new prototype based on machine learning to support ESCO in continuously updating and predicting the most in-demand skills on the labour market concerning the 8 EQF level, according to the expected skills from job offer collections.

  • Pillar 2: Developing an interdisciplinary curriculum on selected transversal skills

The consortium will adopt a multi-actor approach involving non-academic stakeholders (e.g. public authorities, industries or business) to improve transferable skills training and 3 blended courses will be piloted

  • Pillar 3: Implementing a digital credential system to facilitate and boost recognition of skills earned during the PhD

The 3 pilot courses will have micro-credentials issued to the participants and the consortia will be trained on how to develop micro-credentials

  • Pillar 4: Providing career orientation support through the creation of local talent management Services

Also, at least 7 local talent management centers will be created with the purpose of identifying and monitoring skill gaps and implement services for skill training and recognition, mentoring /career coaching, support recruitment, post vacancies, facilitate short term placement in non-academic sectors, create alumni networks and organize gatherings

The results and outcomes of the project will be summarised in clear guidelines and policy recommendations with the aim of building capacity and informing policies in the domain of doctoral education


The DocTalent4EU consortium consists of 7 higher education institutions and one higher education European network: Université Côte d´Azur (France), University of Alcalá (Spain), University of Porto (Portugal), University of Limerick (Ireland), Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iasi (Romania), UiT The Arctic University of Norway, and the European University Foundation