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ECPR-THEORY  May 2007

ECPR-THEORY May 2007

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Subject:

Invitation to Eurodoc careers workshop, 14 June 2007

From:

Erich Kofmel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Erich Kofmel <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 23 May 2007 18:23:37 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (181 lines)

Dear all

The "Career Development" workgroup of the European council of doctoral
candidates and young researchers (Eurodoc) is organising a Eurodoc
workshop on "European Doctoral Careers: Global, Transsectoral,
Interdisciplinary" on 14 June 2007 at the University of Sussex at
Brighton.

We would like to invite some doctoral candidates and/or young
researchers from other European countries to attend this workshop.
These may be people doing a doctorate in any European country; or who
study in the UK, but are also very familiar with the doctoral
education system in their home countries; doctoral candidates who are
visiting students or similar in the UK; or young researchers who
finished a doctorate in a European country and now work in the UK;
etc.

Please circulate this invitation on mailing lists that you think would
reach such people.

There may be some funding available to cover participants' expenses.

Participants are of course also more than welcome if they can get
funding for the trip from some other source.

People who would like to participate should please e-mail a short
outline of their professional and/or doctoral experience (when, where,
full/part time, what work experience inside or outside the university,
etc.) to: [log in to unmask]
Thanks.

The workshop title is: "European Doctoral Careers: Global,
Transsectoral, Interdisciplinary"

Based on previous workshops/roundtables in Strasbourg (2005), Nice
(2006) and London (2007), as well as the responses to a questionnaire
that was sent out prior to Nice, we came up with the following agenda
for the Sussex workshop:

9.00 Coffee and welcome

9.30 Keynote speeches (15 minutes each)

- Prof Chris Park, Director of the Graduate School at Lancaster
University and Senior Associate of the UK Higher Education Academy,
author of "Redefining the Doctorate": on the importance of the three
dimensions of mobility  geographic, sectoral, and disciplinary  for
doctoral candidates and young researchers today
- Koen van Dam, President of Eurodoc (tbc): summary of Strasbourg,
Nice and London workshop/roundtable outcomes  getting workshop
participants up to speed on relevant Eurodoc policy/discussions

10.00  12.00 Session 1: Careers in social sciences and humanities 
what is different?

Speaker: Linda Buckham, Director of the Career Development and
Employment Centre at the University of Sussex (15 minutes): statement
of the current "state of the art" in career development/transferable
skills in the UK

Outline of discussion: We need to resist the danger of romanticising
"transferable skills/generic skills" and/or the "PhD/doctorate".
Rather than on ideal career paths or structures we should focus on
messy real-life careers. Many doctoral candidates bring transferable
skills from previous work experience/careers INTO their doctorates.
While Eurodoc stresses the need to treat doctoral candidates as
professional researchers, many doctoral candidates in social sciences
and humanities follow more "patchwork" careers. I feel that these
aspects have not been addressed sufficiently in the Strasbourg, Nice
and London workshops/roundtables. As the European University
Association (EUA)'s "Doc-Careers" project (in which Eurodoc
participates) will have one focus on "economic and social sciences",
it is warranted to discuss a number of issues in more depth:
(a) many (if not most) doctoral candidates in the social sciences and
humanities (and certainly in many other disciplines) do not progress
unintermittently from the first to the second to the third cycle and
then into a postdoc or non-academic career  many/most doctoral
students work all along (often outside of academia)
("work-study-work-study-work-study-work" model or "work-and-study"
model);
(b) many doctoral candidates in the social sciences and humanities do
doctorates for "lifestyle" reasons, or out of personal interest, or
part-time while remaining in their established careers (that they may
hope to help progress further with a doctorate)  i.e. as part of
lifelong learning  and most of them will be self-funding;
(c) the "professional researcher" model does not adequately describe
the real-life situation of many doctoral candidates in many European
countries;
(d) many doctoral candidates in the social sciences and humanities
(e.g. self-funded, part-time) are not part of a research group (or
even integrated in a department) and, working in such (perceived)
isolation, priority must be given to enabling them to acquire
"researcher" skills (so as to be able to finish their doctorates) as
over against transferable skills (that they may already possess).

12.00  13.00 Lunch break

13.00  15.00 Session 2: What to do after graduating (or dropping out
of doctoral study)?

Speaker: John Bothwell, Chair of the UK National Research Staff
Association (postdocs) (15 minutes): presentation on postdoctoral
careers, statistics, and personal experiences

Outline of discussion: Following on from the previous session and
discussions over lunch, we now need to look at prospects for doctors,
particularly in the social sciences and humanities, after graduation:
(e) prospects for doctoral graduates in the social sciences and
humanities to continue their research outside academia are very
limited (unlike for doctoral graduates in the natural and life
sciences and technology);
(f) at the same time very few non-research jobs (i.e. in the private
or public sectors or NGOs) demand of applicants that they have done a
doctorate (outside of academia, there may be no advantage for social
sciences and humanities doctoral graduates in holding a doctorate
[i.e. starting position/pay isn't higher than if they had only a
bachelor or masters degree]);
(g) if the number of doctoral candidates in the social sciences and
humanities is to be increased (as is being spoken of frequently), this
must go together with clear career prospects for doctoral graduates in
such disciplines;
(h) what about the many doctoral candidates who drop out of their
degree? What careers do they end up in? what should be done to stop
them from dropping out?
(i) impact of student debt from undergraduate to doctoral level in
those European countries where higher education is not free? What
impact does crippling student debt have on European/global mobility?
What impact does it have on doctoral graduates' decision to remain in
or leave academia?

15.00  15.30 Coffee break

15.30  17.30 Session 3: Skills to be acquired in the doctoral cycle

Speaker: Francis Vella, former President of Eurodoc (15 minutes)

Outline of discussion: Based on the report of the first EUA
"Doc-Careers" workshop the following issues arose:
(j) rather than listing a set of transferable skills that doctoral
graduates are supposed to have acquired (and that are not much
different from those expected of bachelor graduates), the question
should be: what skills will doctoral graduates have in addition to
those that bachelor and masters graduates are also expected to have?
(k) the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that bachelor students
in Germany are now less mobile (geographically) than they were before
the German degrees were broken up into bachelor/masters because
students feel that they can't afford the time to go abroad during
their bachelor degrees. Is that something that higher degrees
(masters, doctoral) should aim for  add an international
perspective?;
(l) are doctoral programmes today encouraging inter-/multidisciplinary
thinking as much as they should?  personally, I don't think so;
(m) are they sufficiently encouraging doctoral candidates to think of
different possible careers in academia or outside of it and how to
plan/prepare for these careers?;
(n) what impact do current differences between European countries
have? e. g. where do doctoral programmes provide the most suitable
transferable skills (by training or otherwise)? Which
countries/universities are examples of best practice? Do private and
public sector employers have preferences with regard to
countries/universities/any of the various European PhD-acquiring
systems (student, employee, mixed, funded, self-funding, full-time,
part-time [i.e. working in private/public sector to earn the money to
do a PhD]?).

17.30  18.00 Summing up and closure

18.00 Drinks in the IDS bar (open end)

Please get in touch as soon as possible if you would like to come to
the workshop so we can sort out travel arrangements and accommodation
(if necessary): [log in to unmask]

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Erich Kofmel
Coordinator, "Career Development" workgroup,
European council of doctoral candidates and young researchers (Eurodoc)

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