The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Doctoral Networks’ unit of the European Research Executive Agency (REA), in cooperation with the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission (DG EAC), organised a one-day virtual event on 9 November 2021. The event focused on ongoing European Joint Doctorate (EJD) projects and their implementation mode.
The event gathered 130 participants representing EJD projects funded from different calls under Horizon 2020. There were also stakeholders from national ministries, MSCA National Contact Points and the European University Association.
- research staff
The EJD implement doctoral programmes through partnerships with universities, research institutions, infrastructures and non-academic organisations including SMEs. Common to all ITN projects is the need to promote international, inter sectoral and multi/interdisciplinary collaboration in doctoral training in Europe. Similarly, EJD projects are required to create joint doctoral programmes leading to the delivery of joint, double or multiple doctoral degrees.
The setup of such joint programmes at doctoral level has turned out to be extremely challenging. In particular, the award of a joint, double or multiple PhD Degree has raised major concerns, often not fully foreseen at the proposal stage. The identification of blocking issues and corresponding solutions is therefore of utmost importance in order to overcome the barriers towards the setup of new joint doctoral programmes. It also allows to gather best practices, based on past experiences and lessons learnt from the EJD projects.
The EJD were introduced in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions starting in 2014 with the launch of the Horizon 2020 programme. Ever since, 76 European Joint Doctorates have been funded with a total EU contribution of EUR 263 million and more than 1.200 supported research fellows. The EJD networking meeting aimed to take stock of the experience made so far and of lessons learnt in order improve and facilitate the implementation of joint programmes in the future.
The specific objectives of the networking event were the following:
- Firstly, to enable project beneficiaries to exchange their experiences in order to identify and share good practices on different aspects of joint doctoral programmes.
- Secondly, to gather ideas and recommendations as to how the European Research Executive Agency can best support the EJD community in the implementation of their projects, and how to make sure that establishing a joint doctorate in the MSCA continues to be attractive.
- Thirdly, to collect feedback for policymakers in the European Commission. It will be used to discuss possibilities on how regulatory and administrative barriers to the implementation of joint doctoral degrees may be overcome.