The societal dimension of doctoral education

Credits: ©UNIBS

The 2019 EUA-CDE Annual Meeting explored the many aspects involved in the larger social contribution of doctoral candidates and doctoral schools and their exchange with various sectors of society. Set within the broader context of the engagement of universities with partners in other sectors, the meeting tackled a variety of related topics such as the contribution of doctoral education to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, the opportunities and challenges of science communication, inter-sectoral mobility and collaboration, career development, skill development for addressing global challenges, and societal impact and outreach

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The meeting  focused on the different ways doctoral education and doctoral candidates relate and contribute to society. This includes topics such as the relations between doctoral education and the Sustainable Development Goals, inter-sectoral mobility and collaboration, citizen science and the link between science communication and doctoral education. The EUA-CDE Annual Meeting also offered reflections on policies and practices that assist the contribution of doctoral candidates to society and on doctoral education structures in general. Open to everyone interested in this field, the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) invited university members and other stakeholders to take this opportunity to exchange good practices and build new relations with European policy makers, funding organisations and global partners.

For more information on the meeting, please contact us at




Photo 191018 rettoreMTira resizedDear Colleagues and Guests,

I am honoured and delighted to invite you to the University of Brescia to participate in the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Council for Doctoral Education of the European University Association.
The University of Brescia is a public research and teaching institution, located in a medium-sized city that is a champion of technological innovation in Italy. We are a driving force in a wealthy and economically well-developed region, ranking third among the most important provinces in the manufacturing sector in Europe and fifth among the most productive Italian provinces in terms of GDP.
The University of Brescia aims at attaining strong international achievements and a position of leadership in the East Lombardy area by offering education, training and research in the macro-areas of Economics, Engineering, Law and Medicine. Our community is made up of 15.000 students, 550 faculty members and 500 academic, administrative and technical staff. The eight departments of the university’s four areas offer 24 undergraduate and 21 master programmes, 38 schools of specialisation in medical disciplines and 9 PhD programmes. We foster sustainable growth, both in numbers and quality. Our strategic plan strongly emphasises the integration of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda within all of our educational and research activities.
During this year’s EUA-CDE Annual Meeting, on “The societal dimension of doctoral education”, we will discuss the different ways doctoral education contributes to the well-being of society, the construction of public awareness and the growth of knowledge. I am pleased to welcome you to our community, as I am sure it will be a unique occasion to strengthen the bond between our institutions and with the local society. Our young and motivated staff is already doing its best to prepare a warm welcome, worthy of such distinguished guests.

We are looking forward to meeting you all in Brescia in June 2019. In the meantime, I send you all my warmest regards.

Maurizio Tira
University of Brescia


About the host

The University of Brescia (Unibs) was officially founded in 1982, building on previous courses provided by the nearby University of Milan, Milan Polytechnic and University of Parma. Unibs is an open and inclusive academic community on a national and regional level, that is socially and economically well-rooted, and eager to face today’s challenges. It is a place where professors and students conduct research, study and work in an interdisciplinary context, while aiming at being a leading institution in society and enhancing the skills and humanism of students who invest in education and culture.

Unibs interacts with businesses that want to be competitive thanks to innovation based on research and with institutions that contribute to promoting social progress. With 15.000 students and about 600 professors and researchers, Unibs offers a wide range of educational programmes in 4 areas: Economics, Law, Engineering and Medicine, including Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, PhD programmes and Schools of Specialisation.

Unibs has 121 active international cooperation agreements and 150 bilateral agreements within the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme for the exchange of students and staff. Moreover, thanks to a scholarship programme for international students, Unibs promotes an international study environment. It also provides high quality services for its students, such as counselling services, tutoring, accommodation services, computer and multimedia rooms, wi-fi zones, libraries, on-line services, laboratories and centres of advanced scientific research.










About Brescia

Brescia city view from castle resizedBrescia is the prototype of a smart city, which combines technological and digital innovation to provide increasingly modern and efficient services for its citizens. Culturally lively thanks to numerous important institutions, it also boasts significant artistic heritage starting from the remains of the ancient Roman Brixia to many 18th century churches. The city offers a wide range of sightseeing options, such as Franciacorta, Lake Garda, the valleys Val Camonica and Val Trompia. From an economic point of view, it is one of the most important iron and steel centres in the Po Valley.
Brescia’s historical centre, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, has Roman and Langobard origins, which left an important historical legacy, and offers museums, monuments and buildings of great artistic and architectural interest. Brescia has a population of about 200.000 inhabitants and is served by an excellent bus and subway system, as well as an efficient motorway and railway network.










Photos ©  UNIBS 

Wednesday 12 June 2019


11:00 – 16:30

Italian universities pre-conference

15:00 – 16:30

Pre-meeting Workshop I: Promoting your doctoral school or programme via social media 

-          Christel Vacelet, Director for Communications, Public affairs and Membership, European University Association

15:00 – 16:30

Pre-meeting Workshop II: New to doctoral education 

-          Nicholas C Vella, Director of the Doctoral School, University of Malta, Malta

-          Hans-Joachim Bungartz, Graduate Dean, Technical University of Munich, Germany, EUA-CDE Steering Committee

17:00 – 18:45

YEBO Special event: Promoting doctoral education in South Africa

-          Therina Theron, Senior Director for Research and Innovation, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

-          Thandi Mgwebi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Tschwane University of Technology, South Africa

-          Burtam Fielding, Director of Research Office, University of Western Cape, South Africa


-          Laetus Lategan, Senior Director of Research, Central University of Technology, South Africa

-          Nadia Lagarde, Deputy-Director at International Relations Department, University of Montpellier, France

       Thursday 13 June 2019


10:15 – 10:45

Welcome address

-          Maurizio Tira, Rector, University of Brescia, Italy

-          Luke Georghiou, EUA-CDE Steering Committee Chair

10:45 – 12:00

Plenary Session I

Doctoral Candidates and Graduates serving as a bridge between Universities and Society

-          Janet Metcalfe, Head of Vitae, UK

-          Philippe Lutz, Head of the Doctoral College, University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté, France

Chair: Murat Özgören, EUA-CDE Steering Committee Member            

13:30 – 15:00

Plenary Session II

Keynote: Contribution of doctoral education to reaching the SDG

-          Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute and University Professor, Columbia University, USA [via video-conference]

Panel discussion:

       -   Aleksandra Kanjuo Mrčela, Head of the Doctoral School, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, EUA-CDE Steering Committee

       -   Tomas Enrique Leon Sicard, Professor, DAAD SDG Graduate School, Programa de Apoyo a la Formación Doctoral, National University of Colombia

       -     Francesco Castelli, Rector's Delegate for Cooperation and Development, UNESCO Chair on "Training and empowering human resources for health development in resource-limited countries", University of Brescia, Italy

- Paolo Biscari, CDE Steering Commitee and Dean of PhD School, Politecnico di Torini, Italy

Chair: Luke Georghiou, EUA-CDE Steering Committee Chair

15:00 – 15:30

The CDE 2018/2019

-          Luke Georghiou, EUA-CDE Steering Committee Chair

-          Alexander Hasgall, Head EUA-CDE

16:00 – 17:30

Parallel Session I 

  1. Developing new skills for future challenges

Doctoral final examinations: Relevance to new skills and future challenges

Dawn Duke, University of Surrey, United Kingdom

Doctoral programmes and individual doctorate - different ways to future skills?

Vincent Novak, Technical University Berlin, Germany

Chair: Paolo Biscari, EUA-CDE Steering Committee member


  1. Societal engagement of doctoral candidates

Higher education cultures, doctoral researcher well-being and the public good: a sociological approach

Rosemary Deem, Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom

Fitness for Purpose: Preparing doctoral candidates for societal engagement and inclusivity

Sandra Hasenefendic, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands

Adrian Verkleij, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands

Chair: Aleksandra Kanjuo Mrčela, EUA-CDE Steering Committee member


  1. Communicating research to the society

Communicating high-impact research through innovative formats

Catherine Vancsok, University of Liège, Belgium

Chair: Edwin Constable, EUA-CDE Steering Committee member


   4. Intersectoral mobility

Success in the relation of companies and universities: Endowed Chairs

Carmen Gallardo Cruz, Seville University, Spain

Chair: Timo Korkeamäki, EUA-CDE Steering Committee member

       Friday 14 June 2019

09:00 – 10:30

Plenary Session III

Societal impact and societal responsibility of doctoral education

-          Francesc Xavier Grau, Secretary of Universities and Research, Generalitat de Catalunya; former Rector University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

-          Eva Hnatkova, President Eurodoc, Doctoral Candidate, Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Czech Republic

-          Claire Morel, Head of Unit, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), European Commission

Chair: Lidia Borrell-Damian, Director, Research and Innovation, European University Association

11:00 – 12:30

Parallel Session II

  1. Developing skills for current societal challenges

Innovative skills development as core challenge and task for the societal dimension of doctoral education

Helmut Brentel, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

Doctoral education for the future - identifying the drivers and needs for development

Maija Urponen, University of Helsinki, Finland

Chair: Murat Özgören, EUA-CDE Steering Committee member

B. Intersectoral mobility

Doctoral graduates in society: Case studies of enterprising researchers

Dawn Duke, University of Surrey, United Kingdom

James Armstrong, University of Surrey, United Kingdom

Clare Wunderly, University of Surrey, United Kingdom

The role of doctoral degree holders in society and how their skills are valued by employers

Andrea Dünschede, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Chair: Hans-Joachim Bungartz, EUA-CDE Steering Committee member

C. Doctoral education: a tool for the development of internationalisation

Irish National Guidelines for collaborative research degree programmes

Maria Pramaggiore, Maynooth University, Ireland

Marie Murphy, Maynooth University, Ireland

Strengthening doctoral education in Africa: societal demands and the impact of DAAD programmes

Sebastian Sperlich, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany

Chair: Mossadek Talby, EUA-CDE Steering Committee member

D. Initiatives to support intersectoral mobility during and after a doctorate

International and intersectoral mobility in DFG-funded Research Training Groups

Astrid Evers, German Research Foundation, Germany

Stimulating and supporting intersectoral mobility during and after a PhD: from funding to competences?

Stefanie Kerkhofs, Hasselt University, Belgium

Ilse Van Damme, Hasselt University, Belgium

Chair: Martine Rahier, EUA Vice-President and ex-officio EUA Board member

13:45 – 15:00

Plenary Session IV

Communicating doctoral research and doctoral education

-          Claudine Leysinger, Head of Graduate Campus, University of Zurich, Switzerland

-          Chris Waiting, Chief Executive, The Conversation

-          Martin Delguste, Doctoral Candidate, Université catholique du Louvain, Belgian winner of the “ma thèse en 180 secondes” contest

       Chair: Alexander Hasgall, Head EUA-CDE        


15:00 – 15:30

Closing session

-          Luke Georghiou, EUA-CDE Steering Committee Chair

-          Vittorio Ferrari, Rector’s Delegate for research quality management and postgraduate studies, University of Brescia, Italy

-          Invitation to the 2020 Thematic Workshop by the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia

-          Invitation to the 2020 Annual Meeting by the University of Manchester, UK


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