Doctoral education in Europe: Where are we heading?

The EUA Council for Doctoral Education is organising an online focus group on 20 January. The event contributes to the development of a new EUA-CDE vision paper on the future of doctoral education in Europe. The paper will be presented at the 2022 EUA-CDE Annual Meeting.

The world of higher education and thus doctoral education is quickly evolving. Digitalisation, the green transition, serious underfunding, calls for more equity and diversity, reforms of academic assessment and a changing geopolitical context have the potential to significantly modify the landscape of doctoral education. This affects many of its key elements, including research practices, supervision, skills training and research ethics and integrity. It also has an influence on how doctoral education is organised and structured.

There is at the same time also an increased focus on impact and societal engagement and their relevance for future careers in academia and beyond. Some are concerned that the growing list of demands for widening the scope of doctoral education could marginalise curiosity-driven research as its foundation.

For many of these elements, the EUA-CDE publication “Doctoral education in Europe today: approaches and institutional structures” and the 2021 EUA-CDE survey on current developments in doctoral education (forthcoming in 2022) have provided some additional evidence of these changes and new prioritisations, including the increased focus on the specific situation of postdoctoral researchers.

Participants in the focus group will consider the key drivers for the future of doctoral education and articulate the core issues that the community will face in the coming years. It will be structured around preparatory work by the EUA-CDE Steering Committee and Secretariat.

The focus group is free of charge and open to EUA-CDE members only. It will be of interest to anyone with responsibilities and expertise in doctoral education (either at the institutional, faculty or disciplinary level), including academic leaders, doctoral education professionals and early-stage researchers.

Applications for the EUA-CDE Focus Group are now closed. 

Selected participants will be expected to actively engage in the discussions and participate in the entire focus group. A preparatory document will be shared beforehand. To enable interactions between participants, the number of available places is limited.

When selecting participants, the organisers will ensure geographic, institutional, and disciplinary diversity across the group. In addition, only one person per institution can participate.

The outcomes of the selection will be communicated by email shortly after the deadline.

For questions, please send an email to To stay up to date on this event, please follow #EUACDE on Twitter or subscribe to the EUA-CDE newsletter.

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