Eurodoc, the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers, submits policy input on the key issues targeted by the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) and European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
Eurodoc presents a policy input with a vision of the EHEA as inclusive, innovative and interconnected, as stated in the Rome Communique. We aim to provide the perspective of early career researchers on the key policy issues in the BFUG debate and contribute to the future development of the EHEA by linking it more closely with the European Research Area (ERA). Given its relative omission in Ministerial Communiques for the previous five years, we suggest reevaluating the place and purpose of the “3rd cycle” (doctoral education) in the Bologna Process, and call for:
- Ensuring sufficient focus on the third cycle of higher education in policy debates, to strengthen the EHEA vision for European cooperation in doctoral training;
- Establishing research-oriented quality assurance as a central requirement for innovative training at the doctoral level;
- Recognising doctoral candidates as researchers, and as an autonomous group of professionals to participate in governance;
- Fostering inter-sectoral, inter-institutional and international mobility of doctoral candidates and international collaboration.
Giulia Malaguarnera, President of Eurodoc: “Doctoral candidates are not treated uniformly in European countries: some countries classify them as students, while others assign them the status of an employee. This makes them a unique category, which cannot be represented in official bodies as 1st or 2nd cycle students, or as general staff. At the moment the voice of doctoral candidates is missing in Higher Education debates, and any discussion concerning Open Science, Research Assessment, Mobility in doctoral training is missing their unique perspective. Eurodoc aims to be that voice, as we advocate for all early career researchers to be treated as professionals, starting from doctoral training".
Eva Hnátková, former President of Eurodoc and Advisory Board Member: “I believe that Eurodoc can best represent the voice and needs of doctoral candidates on a European level. Doctoral candidates wish to play a more active role in shaping the Bologna Process and contribute to building a stronger bridge between EHEA and ERA. It is also Eurodoc’s mission to advocate for positive change in the policies, culture and environment that affect the quality of training, well-being and employment conditions of early career researchers.”
Iryna Degtyarova, Eurodoc Advisory Board Member: “The equal participation of all relevant stakeholders, especially those representing doctoral candidates and junior researchers may boost and foster open and inclusive public dialogue about the development of the EHEA as inextricably linked with the ERA. Such a unique international organisation as Eurodoc, which represents 28 national associations of doctoral candidates and junior researchers in 25 European countries, could contribute EHEA policies with special focus on doctoral training and early career researchers when granted the mandate of BFUG consultative members”.