October 2, 2018

Conference: Forces and Forms of Doctoral Education

When: September 5 – 6, 2019

Where: Herrenhausen Castle | Hannover, Germany

Organized  by CIRGE and the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Science

Sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation

See Preliminary Program here


Conference background

During the last decade there have been significant changes in doctoral education worldwide: In many countries, the numbers of doctoral candidates and doctoral granting institutions have increased to help drive both national innovation and research performance of individual institutions, especially in Asia. Worldwide, there is a greater focus on diverse employment prospects and
transferable skills of doctorate holders and postdocs. At the same time, the world is changing faster than ever.  Seemingly adverse developments with yet unknown effects, namely digitization as potential driver of progress as well as increased insecurity and the simultaneous deterioration of democracies aligned with the rise of populist or fundamentalist movements characterize the second decade of the 21st century. Training doctoral candidates to become the next generation of creative, critical, autonomous and responsible intellectual risk takers is more essential than ever in these times of epochal challenges and unsettling changes.

Now is the time to review the changes in doctoral education, their successes and failures, and to explore ways forward for training new generations of researchers to become future leaders in developing and developed societies.

Conference objectives

  • discuss, enhance, and disseminate future oriented advancement of doctoral education and related policies
  • assessing where we stand on core values of doctoral education and research
  • taking stock of ongoing developments and changes in doctoral education worldwide
  • looking forward and setting a policy agenda on how we can best shape doctoral education in a socially responsible way, not only in our own national systems, but at a globalscale for driving innovation in public and private sectors.

More details

The event will be opened by the Secretary General of the  VW Foundation, Dr. Wilhelm Krull and a keynote address by Professor Jonathan Jansen from South Africa, University of Stellenbosch, former Vice chancellor of the University of the Free State, during tumultuous times, and also former chair of the evidence-based study of PhD education by the Academy of Science of South Africa.

A special reception hosted by the VW Foundation will take place on Thursday after the first conference day.

Panel discussions and work in small groups will investigate major topics pertinent for doctoral education at our times and will critically discuss policy recommendations resulting from a preparatory workshop from a group of experts from all continents. Among them are:

  • Prof. Ahmed Bawa (Physics), Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Universities of South Africa,
  • Prof. Roshada Hashim (Biochemistry) Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, Universiti Sains Islam, Malaysia,
  • Prof. Reinhard Jahn (Biology), Director, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany,
  • Prof. Suzanne Ortega (Sociology) President of the Council of Graduate Schools (USA/North America),
  • Prof. Richard Strugnell (Epidemiology) former Pro Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies, The University of Melbourne.

A call for travel grants for Early Career Researchers will be launched in October 2018.
Registration will begin March 2019.