EUA Council for Doctoral Education


Presenting “The Doctoral Debate”: commentary and analysis on trends in doctoral education

As EUA-CDE marks its 10th anniversary, we are pleased to offer a new forum for exchange. Doctoral education professionals, experts and academic leaders are invited to share their diverse perspectives and experiences in our rapidly-evolving field.

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.

“The Doctoral Debate” is an online platform featuring original articles with commentary and analysis on doctoral education in Europe. Articles focus on trending topics in doctoral education and state-of-the-art policies and practices. The Debate showcases voices and views from EUA-CDE members and partners.

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.

Alexander Hasgall

Dr. Alexander Hasgall is Head of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE). He is responsible for the largest European network in this field, covering 36 countries and bringing together a community of academic leaders and professionals from over 250 universities awarding doctoral degrees and institutions working on issues related to doctoral education and research training.

Before assuming this position, he coordinated the Swiss University Rectors conference’s “performances de la recherche en sciences humaines et sociales” programme on research evaluation in the social sciences and humanities and was based in the University of Geneva.

Alexander studied philosophy and history at the University of Zurich and the Free University of Berlin. He received his Doctorate discourse of truth, justice and recognition in dealing with the last military dictatorship in Argentina. Outside of the higher education sector, Alexander acquired different working experiences in the NGO-Sector incl. being a human rights observer in Guatemala, in market research and as a freelance journalist.