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In 2005, the Salzburg Principles were articulated in the context of the Bologna Process as the basis for doctoral education reform efforts in Europe. The European University Association (EUA) has now published the Salzburg II Recommendations. The publication represents the culmination of a consultative process with key stakeholders and aims to provide an overview of European universities’ achievements in terms of implementing the Salzburg Principles over the last five years, as well as a vision of where to go from here. The main message of Salzburg II is that doctoral education in Europe has evolved significantly over the last five years, but more can and should be done to strengthen and enhance this key level of European higher education.
The EUA presents recommendations for doctoral education relating to three overarching considerations. First is the need to recognise the uniquely research-based character and role of doctoral education in both the European Research Area and the European Higher Education Area, which sets it apart from the other cycles of higher education. Second, there is importance of assuring the independence and flexibility that doctoral candidates need to pursue this “highly individual and by definition original” path. Third, “special structures and instruments” as well as “flexible regulation are needed to foster institutional autonomy and accountability, seen as the key values required to effectively guide those institutions providing doctoral education.
A variety of obstacles are seen to hinder doctoral education in Europe. These include limited sustainable and doctorate-specific funding, lack of autonomy, and few measures to assist in “intersectoral collaboration” to build ties and trust between higher education institutions providing doctoral education and other sectors, such as industry. Meanwhile, eight “clues for success”—such as providing “critical mass and critical diversity” in doctoral, assuring quality and accountability, and fostering internationalisation—provide a roadmap for future work in this area. Both the publication of “Salzburg II” and the newly announced EU flagship initiative “Innovation Union” provide strong indications that doctoral education, research, and related topics are becoming increasingly salient.
European University Association