The Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH) has been awarded with a 400.000 euros EU Erasmus+ grant. With this grant, the Graduate School can improve PhD education.
The Erasmus+ grant enables EGSH to coordinate the ‘Graduate SPIRIT’ (School Programme for International Researchers and Interdisciplinary Training) project.
This project is a consortium of nine European graduate schools with a similar profile. It will provide an inventory of best practices in graduate schools with respect to PhD candidates, staff, curriculum and organisation. In addition, the project will test a number of innovations regarding international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral training. The goal is to create a ‘blueprint’ from which graduate schools can select and implement elements according to their needs.
Better instruments for doctoral training
The rationale behind the Graduate SPIRIT project is the strong need for European graduate schools to have more adequate instruments for stimulating, organising and managing interdisciplinarity and diversity in doctoral training.
Currently, best practices are very fragmented and hard to find for individual national graduate schools. In addition, national graduate schools increasingly draw an international PhD community and need to understand the cultural challenges that come with such diversity.
The outcomes of the project will enable the participating universities to better comply with the so-called third cycle of the Bologna process, by defining key elements that benefit the success of PhD trajectories. Bologna III asks for universities in the European education area to assess their doctoral education programme based on the same descriptors as the BA and MA programmes.
Together with seven other projects, the Graduate SPIRIT project was selected out of a total of 31 submissions. The jury praised the focus of the project on doctoral training as “quite unique”. In addition, the transnational dimension of the proposal was seen as an added value.
The comparison of practices in doctoral education across Europe, with its varied cultural and contextual backgrounds, will, according to the report, “most likely have a positive influence on the validity and employability of the project results in multiple countries.” The European cooperative consortium was also praised for being “stable and of high quality”.
The participating universities are Erasmus University Rotterdam (coordinator, Netherlands),Central European University (Hungary),Heidelberg University (Germany),Leipzig University (Germany), Loughborough University (United Kingdom), Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland), University of Leuven (Belgium), University of Helsinki (Finland) and Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University (France)
Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. It runs for seven years, from 2014 to 2020, with organisations invited to apply for funding each year to undertake creative and worthwhile activities.