The PhD in Europe: Developing a System of Doctoral Training That Will Increase the Internationalisation of Universities

  • Conor O’Carroll
  • Lewis Purser
  • Magdalena Wislocka
  • Sinead Lucey
  • Nina McGuinness


A common element of policy in the European Research Area (ERA) and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) is that of the education and training of (early stage) researchers. The PhD is positioned at the intersection of research and education. It is the enabling qualification to become a researcher. Since the ERA was launched in 2000, the EU Member States and Associated Countries are gradually implementing its policies. Grant support is provided through the Framework Programme and the Structural Funds. These have funded large numbers of doctoral candidates; however, there has been no specific policy on PhD’s as they have been subsumed into the broader category of researcher. On the other hand, the PhD is an integrated part of the EHEA policy as part of the Bologna Process. Under the Innovation Union 2010, research and innovation policy now explicitly recognises the need for high quality doctoral education and training bringing greater convergence between ERA and EHEA. More universities are offering structured PhD programmes to increase quality, attract international students and prepare them better for employment. Such programmes also support the increased mobility of doctoral candidates across borders and across diverse professional areas. Emerging data from Ireland, Germany and the UK show these strategies to be working effectively. EU policy is now considering the future of doctoral training through a mapping exercise. The mapping will identify good practice and lead to a common set of principles that should characterise doctoral training. These principles could form the basis for the establishment of the brand, The PhD in Europe and foster mobility of doctoral candidates within and to Europe.


International Student Research Excellence Doctoral Candidate Transferable Skill Doctoral Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Peter van der Hijden, Hugo Horta and Snezana Krstic for their helpful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Conor O’Carroll
    • 1
  • Lewis Purser
    • 2
  • Magdalena Wislocka
    • 1
  • Sinead Lucey
    • 3
  • Nina McGuinness
    • 4
  1. 1.Research, Irish Universities AssociationDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Academic Affairs, Irish Universities AssociationDublin 2Ireland
  3. 3.International, Irish Universities AssociationDublin 2Ireland
  4. 4.Dezernat Forschung und EU-Hochschulbüro, TechnologietransferLeibniz Universität HannoverHannoverGermany

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