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Manchester hosts top European doctoral association conference

29 Jun 2022

The European University Association’s Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) launched its new vision on doctoral education at the conference

Manchester hosts top doctoral association conference

The new agenda for doctoral research is embodied in ten principles or ‘Ways Forward’ set out in a document called Building the Foundations of Research – a Vision for the Future of Doctoral Education in Europe

Research in 2019 found that only 51% of universities said doctoral students completed their studies within 3-4 years, and more than a quarter said the average completion time was five years or more. There is also an ongoing debate about the role of doctoral candidates who are part-time – either due to parenting obligations or additional work responsibilities – and the increased time pressure in doctoral education caused by tight timelines.

The organisation is calling for the duration of funding to be based on a realistic assumption of the duration of a doctorate.

Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Luke Georghiou, who is Chair of the Council’s steering committee, said there was increasing concern about the availability of funding during the latter stages of a PhD. “As people reach the crucial writing-up phase, they often run off the end of their funding and begin to struggle at exactly the point they need help,” he said.

Without sufficient attention to this problem, he said that universities could find it increasingly hard to recruit high-calibre PhD students - “There is a problem looming – in most countries, there is a tradition of people accepting low incomes while they do their doctorates, but there is a limit to what they will take.”

In its workshops and sessions, the meeting also examined future trends and the diversity of the doctoral candidate population.

EUA-CDE Annual Meetings have become the largest and most comprehensive gatherings of academic leaders, senior academics, doctoral education professionals, postdoctoral researchers, doctoral candidates and other stakeholders working on doctoral education and research training. 

“I am delighted that our University has been able to host this event,” said our President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nancy Rothwell. “During these times of change, challenge and opportunity, the meeting provides the ideal opportunity for higher education leaders in Europe to meet, reflect and engage in discussions.”

Find out more:

  • Watch the presentation of the new EUA-CDE vision paper from the conference on YouTube.
  • For updates, please follow @EUACDE on Twitter or subscribe to the EUA-CDE newsletter.