Thank you for sharing this page.


EUA-CDE Consultation on Capacity Building: Developing research for doctoral education

06 March 2015

On 20 February, participants from 12 countries gathered for a Focus Group in Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, to discuss the issue of capacity building in relation to doctoral education and research.

The event was held in the framework of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education’s (CDE) new policy initiative which will examine the major issues facing doctoral education in the next decade, Doctoral Education: The Shape of Things to Come

The participants were first provided with an overview of the topic of capacity building in the sphere of European universities and doctoral education. Following this, the event adopted an interactive format as participants discussed their experiences regarding the challenges universities face in terms of building or sustaining research capacity and possible ways of improving the situation. 

The Focus Group identified different internal and external challenges. The internal challenges included the difficulty of finding time to conduct research among other duties, attaining critical mass in research groups and doctoral candidates, engaging in internationalisation activities, combining fundamental and applied research, finding a balance between reaching for excellence and serving a broad community of researchers and students, and developing a research mentality among new doctoral candidates. Some of the external pressures mentioned were autonomy, funding, difficulty of engaging in blue sky research, brain drain and the difficulty of retaining talent within universities.

Participants also shared ideas regarding ways of addressing the challenges. The importance of governance was stressed, as was the need for robust quality assurance measures. Collaboration with industry, the public sector and other HEIs was considered valuable, particularly in the field of smart specialisation. Finally, the role of human resources management was regarded as instrumental to building research capacity. This was linked also to the provision of transferable skills training for doctoral candidates and working across disciplines and/or in larger teams. 

Discussion and validation of the initiative’s consultation outcomes will be incorporated in the EUA-CDE Annual Meeting which will be held on 18-19 June at the Technical University Munich, Germany. 

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96