Forces & Forms Network

By explaining what Forces & Forms network is about, we necessarily have to talk about the four international Forces & Forms of Doctoral Education conferences, organized by CIRGE conjointly with other higher educational actors during the last 14 years. Different to the classical academic conferences,  Forces & Forms  has developed and maintain a network of actors involved in doctoral education in different disciplinary fields. Coming from different parts of the world, these actors collectively analyze the state of doctorate education, propose recommendations for  the future of doctorate education, as well, engage in collective research projects beyond the specific moment of the conference.

Forces and Forms network members are key players in doctoral education and play leading roles in reform and innovation in their respective nations. They are in a position to provide information and data on global changes in doctoral education, as well as being the messengers who take recommendations from research synthesis workshops and other collaborations back to their respective countries and universities; helping disseminate policies that aim to educate socially responsible researchers around the globe.

Forces & Forms Conferences

Seattle 2005: How—and how well—is graduate education responding to global trends?

Scholars, funders, and policy makers in doctoral education from 14 countries and six continents gathered for four days in Seattle to discuss the state of graduate education worldwide.  This was the beginning of the network Forces & Forms.

Results of the first conference can be seen in the book  Toward a Global PhD? Forces and Forms in Doctoral Education Worldwide

Melbourne 2007: Looking at the effects of globalization in Doctoral Education

This second international conference of Forces & Forms network gathered 33 experts and scholars from 15 countries, who critically analyzed the role of  doctoral education as a force in responding to and shaping trends in globalization. See  here declaration of this conference

This international conference led into the book Globalization and its impact on the Quality of Doctoral Education.  This book received the Outstanding publication Award 2014, granted by the AERA Special Interest Group (SIG) Doctoral education across the Disciplines.

Kassel 2009: The potential of Doctoral Education to solve world’s great challenges

Higher education authorities from six continents and 21 countries crafted specific, action-oriented recommendations that call upon policymakers worldwide to support doctoral education as an increasingly powerful way to help solve the world’s great challenges. Three task forces explored and reported on internationalization and inequality in the distribution of intellectual capital; diversity in all its forms relating to doctoral study; and intellectual risk-taking, such as conducting research outside the mainstream.

Hanover 2019: Doctoral Education in Complex Times

After a decade of the conference in Melbourne that looked at the impact of globalization on doctoral education, more than a hundred of scholars, early career researchers, and government agencies and funders critically discussed and analyzed  what has worked and what has not in doctoral education, where mistakes were made in the attempt of restructuring, re-thinking, re-envisioning doctoral studies in order to move it into the 21st century.  See here the seven policy recommendations that resulted from this conference.

The Network

The network is a vehicle for exchange and centralization of information and research findings, and is a means of stimulating the production and synthesis of knowledge about innovations in doctoral education. The network provides members with a platform for working together across disciplines and national boundaries. It allows the expertise of members from around the world to be tapped by other members and policy makers and provides a centralized source of information on doctoral education worldwide.


1. Move a broad coalition of scholars, policy makers, funders and administrators toward a better grasp of the issues of graduate education across nations and further international collaboration.

2. Encourage information sharing among participants about innovations and best practices currently shaping doctoral programs – establishing an international knowledge exchange.

3. Work toward establishing greater inclusiveness within the realm of doctoral education of underrepresented groups.

4. Examine ways in which issues can be addressed in policy to foster the education and training of leadership for a knowledge-based society in a global economy.

Many of our network members have been involved since the first workshop in 2005. Some have not been able to attend all of the workshops, but have kept in contact and collaborated with the other members. In addition, new members have been invited for each workshop.