The EUA-CDE Annual Meeting in 2018 included perspectives from outside Europe. Speakers from Asia, Africa and North America presented our European community with the global dimension of doctoral education. Thomas Jørgensen looks back how EUA-CDE first started and subsequently developed its international engagement.
A few months after beginning as Head of EUA-CDE, in December 2008, I found myself in Washington DC, at the Annual Meeting of the US Council for Graduate Schools. Hundreds of Graduate Deans were chatting, patting each other on the back, clearly happy to be with colleagues from all over the country to discuss graduate education (and about the recent election of Barack Obama). It was an occasion for EUA to see what its new Council for Doctoral Education might look like. Moreover, at this point in time, Europe was looking to the US for a model to professionalise doctoral education, in particular the institution of the graduate school - so the dialogue with the Americans was important.
At the very same time, other colleagues from EUA were in China to discuss collaboration in doctoral education between EU and China, the rising power of global science. Many of the future “regulars” of EUA-CDE met there with Chinese counterparts.
The two meetings illustrate the geopolitical context that EUA-CDE has always been a part of. It was born at a time when emerging markets gained prominence (the first official BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India and China – summit was held in 2009), and when Europe looked to a new dynamic US under the Obama presidency. Around the world, research – and as a consequence doctoral education – gained importance.
EUA-CDE soon began to play an active role in this global context. In 2010, the CODOC project was launched, examining “Cooperation on Doctoral Education between Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe”. With workshops in South Africa, Thailand, Brazil and Sweden, the project to a large extent rode on the wave of high commodity prices that allowed countries like Brazil to invest heavily in research and innovation. This was a time, when one could see a new, multi-polar world of research taking shape with new countries playing an increasing part on the global research scene.
However, the aim of EUA-CDE was always broader than establishing ties to the new global players, although countries like South Africa, Brazil and China remain very important. The issue of building capacity in developing countries was and is high on the agenda. The Global Strategic Forum for Doctoral Education became a key tool for having a truly global debate and promoting a more inclusive research community. The first of these fora was held in Aarhus in 2011 with participants from six continents and with a very diverse set of countries, from Australia and Singapore to Mongolia and Ghana. The format of a small, but highly-diverse group of participants was continued in 2013 in Dublin and in 2015 in Reykjavik. The spirit of the meetings was well-summarised in the statement from the Dublin Forum, calling for inclusiveness and collaboration based on common principles for doctoral education. This work is carried on in the MIMIr project about building innovation and research management capacity in Europe’s Southern Neighbourhood and the Yebo! project on further developing the internationalisation of doctoral education in South African universities.
In recent years, the global perspective appeared increasingly as an integrated element of EUA-CDE’s work. Tellingly, the 2014 Annual Meeting had the title “Doctoral Education: Thinking globally, acting locally”. Between 2012 and 2015, the FRINDOC project on internationalisation of doctoral education brought together partners from three continents to talk about common issues regarding institutional structures. There seems to be a growing awareness that many of the topics that are relevant for European doctoral education are also relevant elsewhere. As an example, the 2016 thematic workshop about supervision was opened by a keynote from Australia, while the 2018 edition started with an opening address drawing out differences and commonalities between Europe and North America. Recently, the Annual Meeting in 2018 included perspectives from outside Europe. Speakers from Asia, Africa and North America presented the European community with the global dimension of doctoral education.
One of the results of all these activities has been a growing recognition of EUA-CDE as the global voice of European doctoral education. Members of the Steering Committee have represented Europe in yearly global meetings hosted by the US Council of Graduate Schools, and regularly met with similar associations and gatherings, for example a visit to the Association of Chinese Graduate Schools in 2012 and to the bi-annual Quality in Post-Graduate Research conference in Australia.
Altogether, EUA-CDE has been present on all continents (except Antarctica). It has been fascinating to see how the geopolitical context has facilitated the global dialogue over the past decade, and it will be all the more fascinating to see how the global research community will meet future challenges.EUA-CDE
All views expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of EUA Council for Doctoral Education. If you would like to respond to this article by writing your own piece, please see The Doctoral Debate style guidelines and contact the CDE team to pitch your idea.
Welcome to “The Doctoral Debate”, EUA-CDE’s new online forum showcasing articles on the latest trends and approaches in doctoral education in Europe - all through the voices of very different doctoral education professionals, experts and academic leaders. Europe’s universities are uniquely rich in diversity, and therefore offer an array of perspectives and practices. In doctoral education, this is especially evident in the diverse programmes and approaches that have been developed over the past decade to keep pace with rapid evolutions and to strengthen research excellence.
Since 2008, EUA-CDE has been a key player in shaping discussions on these trends and approaches. On the occasion of our 10th anniversary, we are pleased to offer “The Doctoral Debate” as a place for commentary and analysis on the many issues that are relevant to doctoral education today. These include institutional structures, policies and practices, collaboration, and the links between doctoral education, research and innovation, industry and society. In particular, “The Doctoral Debate” will give special attention to new and emerging topics that are of interest to the doctoral education community and will fuel the work of EUA-CDE in the years to come. Each month you will find new articles and commentary from experts in the field, and we encourage any doctoral education professional or expert from a university that belongs to EUA-CDE to write to us with ideas. Not only do we want to hear what topics interest you, but we want you to write as well.
Today, “The Doctoral Debate” kicks off with three articles that address doctoral education from very different angles. Sven Hendrix from Hasselt University in Belgium looks at an issue that is at the top of the European and institutional agendas today – research integrity and ethics. He addresses one aspect that especially affects early career researchers: how to fairly protect both whistle blowers and those they accuse of research misconduct.
Jussi Kivistö from the University of Tampere in Finland looks at doctoral education reform in his country, showing the importance of university autonomy and the role of Europe-wide exchange in developing doctoral education. In his article, he explains how the Salzburg Principles and Recommendations provided guidelines for doctoral education reform in Finland.
Karen Francois from Vrije Universiteit Brussel addresses the role of inter-institutional cooperation and the sharing of diverse expertise and practices. She gives first hand insight into FLAMES, a network project between the five Flemish universities. She points out some of the necessary conditions to make such cooperation between institutions a success.
We hope you enjoy these first articles and we are looking forward to stimulating “The Doctoral Debate”, as always, together with our very rich and diverse membership.Read more
Thematic workshopsInter-institutional collaboration in doctoral education
Hosted by VU Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Annual meetingsThe societal dimension of doctoral education
Hosted by University of Brescia, Italy