The role of doctoral schools to enhance quality in doctoral education


in cooperation with PRIDE - Association for Professionals in Doctoral Education
Centre for Advanced Academic Studies of the University of Zagreb in Dubrovnik, 2-5 September 2018


Target audience

Vice-Rectors/Heads/Deans of Doctoral Schools/Programmes, doctoral supervisors, academics, senior managers and professionals from UNICA/PRIDE and outside the UNICA/PRIDE Networks working in the area of doctoral education 



UNICA introduced the PhD MASTER CLASS in 2009. At that time, doctoral schools were recently or barely introduced in many European universities. Ten years later, the landscape of doctoral education has changed significantly. While numerous universities have developed doctoral programmes, the scope and focus of doctoral education has evolved. Apart from its initial objectives, namely increasing the completion rate for PhD degrees, boosting the research output, shortening the time-to-degree, monitoring closer the PhD trajectories and enhancing the quality of doctoral education, additional aims have been set, such as the development of transferable skills of doctoral candidates and providing guidance for career planning of doctorate holders. Increasingly, this requires considering perspectives outside academia in a context in which employability of doctorate holders becomes a critical issue. A recent study undertaken by the EUA-CDE also shows that issues such as adequate funding, research ethics, international recruitment or well-being of candidates are currently considered as strategic priorities at many institutions. Many of these topics are actually closely linked to tasks associated with doctoral schools.


The UNICA Doctoral Education Group believes it is useful to take a step back and address questions such as:

  • What have we learned about Doctoral Schools over the last 10 years?
  • Which failures did we encounter along the way?
  • Are our Doctoral Schools fit to serve the new roles and strategic priorities for Doctoral Education?
  • What are the relevant components of a Doctoral School depending on the specific context of an institution?
  • How to monitor/observe/measure the impact of what we do in Doctoral Education?


Through a series of keynote talks, group exercises and an exchange of practices and experience among participants, the 9th UNICA PhD MASTER CLASS will aim to identify:

  • the pros & cons of and drivers for establishing a Doctoral School and other organisational models,
  • what is (and what is not) the role of a DS,
  • in which context and under which conditions DS are relevant,
  • what are the advantages and/or drivers of particular models according to different (institutional & strategic) goals,
  • what is the best approach in specific (local and institutional) contexts. 



Download the MASTER CLASS preliminary programme (PDF) - as of 5 July


Speakers and Facilitators

  • Bibiane Fréché, Head of Postgraduate Unit, Université libre de Bruxelles, PRIDE Network Board Member
  • Mick Fuller, Professor of Plant Physiology at University of Plymouth, Director of FULLER Education Ltd, former Head of Graduate School at the University of Plymouth, former Chair of the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE), former EUA-CDE Steering Committee Member
  • Melita Kovačević, Professor, University of Zagreb, Vice-President of the PRIDE Network, former Chair of EUA-CDE Steering Committee, former Vice-Rector for Research and Technology, University of Zagreb
  • Jacques Lanarès, Professor, University of Lausanne, UNICA Steering Committee Member & Chair of UNICA Group on Doctoral Education, former Vice-Rector for Quality, Human Resources & Development of Teaching, University of Lausanne
  • Kenneth Wann, PRIDE Network Board Member, former Deputy Dean of Graduate College at Cardiff University 
  • Lucas Zinner, Head of Research Services and Career Development Office, University of Vienna, President of the PRIDE Network


Important dates & additional information

Participation fee: €650 (UNICA member universities, PRIDE Association members), €800 (participants not associated with UNICA or PRIDE).

Participation fee includes: accommodation (4 nights at the Residence of the Centre for Advanced Academic Studies), breakfasts, lunches, coffee breaks, 2 dinners and the participation in the social programme. The fee does not cover travel expenses of participants.



If you need further information, please contact Marta Brelih-Wasowska (UNICA Secretariat) at: marta.wasowska@unica-network.eu

Sunday, 2 September, 2018 to Wednesday, 5 September, 2018
Centre for Advanced Academic Studies University of Zagreb in Dubrovnik