Dubrovnik by Spencer Davis / unslpash.com

"The first 100 days of the PhD journey"

The PRIDE Master Class is organised in cooperation with the University of Zagreb, CAAS, in Dubrovnik.


When PhD candidates embark on their journey, much is uncertain and unclear. At the same time, supervisors as well as support staff often assume, perhaps unconsciously, that these newcomers are familiar with the organization, the academic culture, or even the research process. While these assumptions are especially mistaken in the case of international students, they are not the only ones. But who cares or feels responsible to change this? 

In non-academic settings, great emphasis is placed on a frequently formalized onboarding process. This process may even be professionally managed, because the organisation recognises that employees who start well in the company are more satisfied, more productive, and more likely to stay. 

Why should this be any different in universities, where satisfaction and productivity are also important and high drop-out rates are a recognized issue? In this year’s Master Class we will shed light on these aspects and focus on how onboarding can be done in a way that doctoral candidates quickly grow into the organization and become familiar with the internal structures and the expectations placed on them? 

We know from different studies which factors ultimately influence the successful completion of a doctorate. We need to think about how we can best lay the foundation for this in the initial phase.

The preliminary programme can be downloaded here.

The Master Class will address the following questions:

  • What communication is relevant with doctoral candidates, even before they actually enter the program for which they have been selected?
  • What do doctoral candidates need to know about their program, their organization, about relevant bodies and who can help in which situation?
  • What options and best practices exist for getting information to novice doctoral candidates in a way they will understand and retain?
  • How should supervisors ideally begin their supervisory work, clarify expectations, and get the relationship off to a good start?
  • How do we prepare doctoral candidates on the research project so they can plan and proceed with purpose?

Having these questions in mind, the objectives are the following:

  • Understanding the broader concept of the onboarding process for early stage researchers;
  • Identifying key steps and components necessary for a smooth onboarding process;  
  • Enabling participants to develop an individual action plan to improve the onboarding process at their institution;
  • Sharing good practices and exchange on proven onboarding tools;
  • Identifying critical aspects for starting a productive supervisor-supervisee relationship:
  • Learning an effective method to support doctoral candidates in preparing their research proposal

Target Group

Professionals in Doctoral Education from PRIDE and non-PRIDE institutions 

Vice-Rectors/Heads as well as 

Managers of Doctoral Schools/Programmes


HR Managers

Organizer Team 

Alexandra Bitušíková

Melita Kovačević

Hans Sonneveld

Lucas Zinner