by Lisette Schmidt, PRIDE Board Member, University of Vienna
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How do I get started? Policy and Research Papers

When I started to work at the Center for Doctoral Studies in 2010, I was new in the field of doctoral education. Thus, to get a broader understanding of the developments in doctoral education at the University of Vienna, my senior colleagues recommended me to read the 10 Salzburg Principles from 2005, which mark the beginning of new developments in doctoral education in many European countries.

Today, I think that being aware of the key milestones of higher education policy is essential to do a good job as a professional in doctoral education. The better you know about and understand the policy environments you work in, the more suitable and sustainable services you are able to develop!

In the following, I suggest that there are four main strategies to inform about past and future policy developments in doctoral education:

  1. Read the following key policy papers

2005: Salzburg Recommendations, Bologna Seminar on Doctoral Programmes for the European Knowledge Society – the “10 Salzburg Principles”

2010: Salzburg II Recommendations. European universities’ achievements since 2005 in implementing the Salzburg Principles by the European University Association

2011: Principles for Innovative Doctoral Education by the European Commission

2016: Taking Salzburg forward. New EUA-CDE recommendations on doctoral education

LERU Papers ( ):

2014: Good Practice Elements in Doctoral Education

2016: Maintaining a quality culture in doctoral education: At research-intensive universities

2018: Delivering talent: Careers of researchers inside and outside academia

A short overview about the policy development in doctoral education you can also find in the first chapter of the handbook “Professionals in Doctoral Education” (verlinken).

  1. Get updated by attending EUA CDE events and by reading EUA TREND reports

The European University Association (EUA) was the main driving force in bringing forward the Salzburg Recommendations in 2005. Three years later, the EUA established the Council for Doctoral Education. Since then the EUA-CDE is the most important platform for discussing policy developments in doctoral education. The mission of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) is to contribute to the development, advancement and improvement of doctoral education and research training in Europe.

I attended several events of the EUA-CDE and I think that they give you a good overview and many ideas about how the different universities implement institutional strategies on doctoral education.

In addition, the EUA publications like the Trend reports are an excellent resource for various relevant topics in Doctoral Education. They provide quantitative and qualitative data on the different aspects of the implementation of the Bologna reforms across Europe.

And, of course at the EUA CDE events you meet a lot of other professionals in Doctoral Education which leads me to the next point:

  1. Talk to other colleagues about institutional implementation strategies

I believe that you can learn a lot from other colleagues. There are many good practices available and most people are happy to share them and to discuss openly about their experiences, problems and challenges in the implementation of concrete measures to enhance the quality of doctoral education. Hopefully, the PRIDE Association (Link zur PRIDE mission) will be a vivid platform to exchange good practices!

  1. Read scientific literature

I consider research in the field of Higher Education Research as an interesting source of reflection. Sometimes we are captured in the mindset of the local institution and reading scientific literature makes you seeing things from different angles.

There is a range of relevant journals available for example ‘The Journal of Higher Education (JHE)’ or ‘Higher Education. The International Journal of Higher Education Research’ or ‘The Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management’ and ‘Higher Education Policy’.

On the topic Higher Education policy the following articles are interesting:

Kehm, B. M. (2007). ´Quo Vadis Doctoral Education? New European Approaches in the Context of Global Changes´. European Journal of Education, 42 (3), 307-319.

Kehm, B. M. (2015). ´Higher Education as a Field of Study and Research in Europe´. European Journal of Education, 50 (1), 61-74.

Nerad, M. (2012). ‘Conceptual Approaches to Doctoral Education: A Community of Practice’. Alternation, 19 (2), 57-72

Further Readings

Learning about PhD Supervision

If you start working as a professional in the field of doctoral studies, you soon come across the topic of “supervision” or the question: how can we as a university, but also as service providers, ensure or at least contribute to the quality of supervision by our researchers. And this of course means, on the one hand, thinking about quality in supervision at all, and on the other hand reflecting on the complexity of the topic of supervision. One way to immerse yourself in the topic is to take a closer look at the handbooks on the topic of “PhD Supervision”.

Read More »

Research Integrity

The need to promote good research conduct and research integrity, and how to achieve it has been debated by Universities, funders, and publishers alike for many years. However, in this current pandemic climate it has never been more timely to highlight the importance of good trustworthy, reliable research.

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