Doctoral Programmes in Europe’s Universities: Achievements and Challenges

A new report published this week by EUA gives an important insight into the state of doctoral education in Europe.

Doctoral Programmes in Europe’s Universities: Achievements and ChallengesIt highlights the latest trends in this key sector of higher education, such as, the introduction of new organisational structures to manage doctoral education, the increasing focus on learning ‘transferable skills’ and the growth in new types of doctoral programmes such as “professional doctorates”. Equally, it underlines the challenges that Europe faces if it is serious about attracting and retaining the best young research talent.

Amongst the findings, EUA’s work underlines that stakeholders (universities and public authorities) must do more to widen participation, to improve mechanisms for supervision and assessment, and to promote the international mobility of doctoral candidates. They must also take steps to ensure professional skills development is an integral part of all doctoral training.

The report also shows that national funding policies for doctoral education are too often fragmented, with a lack of coordination between government ministries, research councils and other funders. This fragmentation does not create favourable conditions for Europe to attract and retain the best doctoral candidates, who are often held back by inadequate funding and a lack of career opportunities.

Source :  European University Association News Sept. 6, 2007.


The role of Higher Education Institutions in the knowledge economy

Laura Williams, Senior Researcher with The Work Foundation, investigated the role of Higher Education Institutions in the knowledge economy in UK.

Looking at what the knowledge economy means for Higher Education Institutions and cities, she challenged some of the myths that contribute to confusion.

Myth 1 – The knowledge economy is only about graduates
Broadly, the knowledge economy is what you get when you bring together highly trained workers and powerful computers. Successful Cities – those that are thriving in the
knowledge economy, such as Manchester, London and Edinburgh – tend to have a broad mix of skills. The growth of an affluent and mobile knowledge workforce stimulates demand for services, retail, leisure, housing and schools, meaning that a successful knowledge city needs more than a critical mass of graduates, it also needs people with other skills to work in these important sectors.

Myth 2 – A University is an essential 'ingredient' of a knowledge city
Certainly, a University have an important role. But other Higher Education Institutions will also be important. What is important, then, is not a University, but the whole
system of higher and further education institutions that combine to make the City successful and attractive for investment and to students.

Myth 3 – Regional strategies should focus on science parks
Although there are a number of success stories, science and technology is just a small part of the knowledge. It is also important to consider how to develop the
relationships between the private sector, public bodies and Education Institutes) to benefit other sectors.

She recommends :

1. Relationship between Cities and Higher Education Institutions should be for developed and measured against tangible economic and social outcomes.

2. This relationship should involve three parties : private sector, organisations that would seek to invest in and capitalise on research activities and, Higher Education Institution.

3. There needs to be clarity about what the priorities are. Tough decisions need to be made about what is relevant to the area, what can be achieved and who best to involve.

4. A recognition of the importance of Higher Education Institutions is a relatively new phenomenon and for outcomes to be achieved a successful approach needs to also focus on cultural change.

Source : Williams L. - In the know. Public Service Review : Transport, Local Government and the Regions, 10, 2007.


The European Research Area : New Perspectives [Green paper]

ERA : New perspectives GREEN PAPER

With the Green Paper on the European Research Area (ERA), the European Commission launches a broad institutional and public debate on what should be done to create a unified and attractive European Research Area, which would fulfil the needs and expectations of the scientific community, business and citizens.

The debate is open to everyone with an interest in the realisation of a European knowledge society. In particular, the Commission expects to receive responses from research institutions (including universities), researchers, industry, civil society organisations, national and regional public authorities as well as the general public. The Commission will use the results of the debate to prepare initiatives that will be proposed in 2008.

How to participate in the debate?

The best way to engage in the debate is to express your views in the on-line consultation linked to the Green Paper. We are interested in receiving your views on the overall priorities for ERA, as well as on six main dimensions on which the consultation is focused, namely :

  • Realising a single labour market for researchers ;
  • Developing world-class research infrastructures ;
  • Strengthening research institutions ;
  • Sharing knowledge ;
  • Optimising research programmes and priorities ; and
  • Opening ERA to the world.
We are invited to comment on as many or as few of these dimensions as you wish depending on your areas of expertise and interest.

The online consultation will remain open for 4 months, from the 1st of May 2007 to the 31st of August 2007. You can access the questionnaire here.

16:51 Posted by St Wojcik in News EN | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: research, higher education, university |  Facebook |


The engineer in the European Union of knowledge

International seminar 9th and 10th February 2007, Brussels

Within the context of the Lisbon Summit*, this international seminar wishes to emphasize research, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit and to demonstrate the role of the engineer in these three fields.

The seminar will provide a forum for :
- the industrial world
- institutions of higher education
- the engineering profession
- individual engineers
- who have an active interest in the added value of engineers towards the realisation of the Lisbon objectives

More details on Council of Associations of long-cycle Engineers, of a university or higher school of engineering of the European Union [CLAIU-EU]

* The main objectives of the Lisbon Summit are : reach an average economic growth of 3% and create employment for 20 million by 2010.


LERU argues case for prioritising public procurement

The new LERU report Universities and Innovation : The Challenge for Europe issued on Nov. 20, 2006, argues for increasing of public procurement budgets. But this comprehensive document recommends also several interesting points for universities. Universities should :

• realistically analyse where their own strengths lie and where they might best achieve excellence and economic and social relevance ;

• understand, engage and promote the optimal economic strategy for their region, and understand how their own particular strengths can best be mobilised to support regional and national economic development ;

• ensure that academic and departmental structures and their flexibility enhance and do not impede cross-disciplinary efforts ;

Universities and Innovation : The Challenge for Europe

• ensure that their processes of selecting university leaders and governance mechanisms are well designed to identify and pursue broad institutional goals in their areas of strength whilst encouraging the academic freedom that is the university’s greatest potential strength.

In Brussels-Capital Region, the strategic regional R&D domains where defined by the Ministery of Economy and implemented through the ISRIB.

But what about the other LERU recommendations ?

Full report >>

LERU (League of European Research Universities) was founded in 2002 as an association of research-intensive universities sharing the values of high-quality teaching in an environment of internationally competitive research.