The Aurora group on Doctoral Education aims to reflect the ethos of the Aurora Universities Network in doctoral education programmes at Aurora institutions. Our universities aspire to become destinations of choice for postgraduate students and early career researchers from around the world by offering common standards of excellence around research supervision, training alongside outstanding professional and pastoral support, and the opportunity to circulate freely between Aurora partners.
Consequently, the group aims to provide Aurora doctoral students with a chance to complement traditional doctoral attributes of critical thinking and creativity with a multidisciplinary skill set, languages and entrepreneurial mindset that will allow them to succeed in their research and the competitive labour market of this rapidly-changing world.
In the first instance towards this goal, we are preparing an Aurora Future Influencers Mobility Programme, that is simultaneously transnational, social and transdisciplinary/trans-sectoral. The core idea behind the project is to allow doctoral students from Aurora universities to circulate throughout the network and work in interdisciplinary settings with academic and industry actors, regardless of financial limitations and domestic responsibilities. This triple mobility will empower a new generation of socially responsible research leaders/influencers who can communicate, innovate and exert influence across national, social and disciplinary boundaries and contribute to the realisation of the Europe 2020 objective of smart, sustainable, inclusive growth.
Main activities and deliverables
The first activity is to SCAN the current doctoral education landscape at each partner university and provide the following deliverables (July 2018-November 2018):
- Deliverable 1 an overview of current doctoral education structure, PhD statistics, what are/could be the obstacles for mobility (foreseeing obstacles) etc. per university and before the end of September 2018. Output: a handout/notes before mid-October 2018,
- Deliverable 2 organize a co-creation workshop around these issues with relevant individuals dealing with doctoral education at each partner university and a couple of PhD candidates. The co-creation workshop should take place in October/November 2018. Output: synthesized report by the end of November 2018,
- Deliverable 3 prepare a BENCHMARK document/publication on the basis of handout notes and a synthesized draft report to serve as a foundation for an open workshop on Doctoral education and PhD Mobility at the Aurora Biannual Meeting in Antwerp at the end of November 2018.
Second activity relates to goal Promotion and Funding Acquisition for execution of the project (November 2018-March 2019):
- Organising a benchmarking roundtable at EUA Council for Doctoral Education Thematic Workshop in January 2019 in Amsterdam in the lines of how small transnational university networks exemplified by Aurora are well suited to promoting PhD researcher mobility; obstacles and how we are overcoming them
- Writing a proposal on overcoming challenges in setting up across the European PhD mobility scheme for a strategic alliance partnership (or any other suitable call) under possibly Erasmus +
- Acquiring funding for setting up the mobility scheme for PhD candidates, staff time allocation and pilot PhD movers
Third activity round relates to Implementation-Mobility Movers (concrete outputs and setting up pilot activities) (March 2019-November 2019):
- Preparing mobility according to mobility packages and in line with the Erasmus+ proposal
- Call launch for mobility
- Implementation of pilot mobility program (provisional November, December 2019)
Estimated Time Line
The estimated timeline for the Future Leaders project lies between March 2018 and January 2020. As members of the project group, we have visited events and achieved milestones:
- Brainstorming workshop in March 2018
- Project on scanning PhD structure at each partner university (July-October 2018)
- Co-creation session on doctoral education at each partner university (October 2018)
- Benchmark publication (November 2018)
- Scan and funding acquisition
- Parallel session in Antwerp Biannual Meeting to formulate our Erasmus + project proposal (November 2018)
- Participation in EUA Council for Doctoral Education Thematic Workshop in January 2019 and meeting of the group to discuss Erasmus + proposal
Our upcoming events and milestones are:
- Funding Acquisition and mobility movers
- Erasmus + strategic partnership application (Iceland leading the project)
- Promotion and funding acquisition (November 2018 – March 2019)
- First mobility movers (from November, December 2019-provisional dates)
Participating Universities and team members
All team members will spend an estimate time of 5 to 10 hours per month on the project.
Participating Universities and team members
Sandra Hasanefendic – Consultant Doctoral Education Recruitment and Promotion, Vrije Universitet Amsterdam.
Guðlaug Þóra Kristjánsdóttir – Director of the Graduate School, University of Iceland
Toby Erik Wikstrom – Programme Manager of the Graduate School, University of Iceland, Team leader Doctoral Education working group
Faruk Ulgen – Associate Professor and Director of the Department of Distance Learning Programmes and International Relations at the Grenoble Faculty of Economy, University Grenoble Alpes
Judith Peters – Head of the International Relations of the Doctoral School of the COMUE-University Grenoble Alpes
Nick Watmough – Academic Director of Research Programmes and Reader in Biochemistry, UEA
Vivien Easson – Head of Postgraduate Research Service, University of East Anglia-UEA)
Audrey Heppleston – Postgraduate Research Service, University of East Anglia
Jessica Pettersson – Higher Education Officer, University of Gothenburg
Pieter Spooren – Head/Coordinator of Antwerp Doctoral School, Antwerp University
Simon Kresmann – Coordinator Graduate Center Plus, Science Support Center, University of Duisburg-Essen