EuroTech Universities launch position on EU instruments for doctoral education

The EuroTech Universities Alliance has launched a position paper on EU cooperation instruments for doctoral education. The position highlights the Alliance’s shared views on the current EU instruments (MSCA, EIT, ERASMUS+) and makes suggestions for their future development on the basis of best practice across the four partner universities. The position contributes to the European Commission’s review of the EU agenda for the modernization of higher education systems.

The position paper makes three concrete suggestions on the further development of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), in order to further align them with the development of the Principles of Innovative Doctoral Training (IDT).

  1. The EuroTech Universities call for the introduction of a new funding scheme dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary research alone. In addition, the fraction of MSCA interdisciplinary evaluation panels should match the intended amount of funding for interdisciplinary research.
  2. The European Commission is encouraged to be open to more short but intense mobility periods. This would optimize the international and intersectoral interaction of doctoral researchers and their access to unique infrastructures, as well as work in favour of a more optimal gender equality of researchers.
  3. The European Commission is asked to accept more flexible models of joint supervision as an alternative to the joint doctorate. This would allow the flexibility required for truly collaborative doctoral training, without the unnecessary administrative burden caused by joint degrees.

As four leading universities of science and technology, the EuroTech Universities have developed innovative models of doctoral training, including transferable skills training, interdisciplinary research options, exposure to industry and international networking. They offer a number of successful models of doctoral education in close collaboration with industry. With 9,000 doctoral researchers registered across the four universities, the Alliance provides a unique European framework to promote international and interdisciplinary research collaboration and to promote synergies between our doctoral training programmes.

Innovative Doctoral Training offered at leading universities of science and technology ensures that doctoral researchers are free to design their learning pathways in accordance with their specific career aspirations. Together with the five European associations of universities of science and technology – CESAER, CLUSTER, EuroTech Universities Alliance, IDEA League and Nordic Five Tech – a joint discussion paper on IDT was launched on 13 October 2015 in Brussels, highlighting some best practices and contributing to the discussion on the future of doctoral training.