Joint declaration on Doctoral Training in Europe

The presidents of

the Conference of the Directors of French Engineering Schools (CDEFI),
the Conference of University Presidents (CPU), France,
the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (CRASP),
the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR)
the German Rectors' Conference (HRK),
the Hungarian Rectors' Conference (HRC),
the Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS),
the Spanish Rector's Conference (CRUE) and
Universities UK (UUK)

confirm the significance of the Salzburg Principles and the Salzburg II Recommendations of the European University Association (EUA) issued in 2010.

They underline the following fundamental elements to be taken into consideration discussing the Doctoral Training in the Member States of the European Union:

1. Doctoral (PhD) Training aims to create new knowledge and to qualify young researchers for careers in science(1), academia, economy and society in general by actively performing original research.

2. The individual contribution to scientific progress is documented by a dissertation (PhD thesis) or equivalent scientific performance.

3. Working on the dissertation (PhD thesis) constitutes the first phase in a research-based career. Doctoral Training therefore is not to be understood as an additional study cycle. Doctoral candidates within Doctoral Training are graduates of degree programmes which in general are on the Master's level.

4. Doctoral candidates should be offered the opportunity to acquire additional methodological competences as well as transversal, soft and generic skills helpful for careers in science, the wider science-based job market and in the job market outside of science. Doctoral candidates select such offers on their own choice. It is not required to make use of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) in this context as well as for the Doctoral Training in general.
5. Doctoral candidates intending to pursue a career in academia should be offered the opportunity to gain experience in teaching.

6. Successful research training necessitates an institutional structure that allows the institution or the departments to assume strategic responsibility for Doctoral Training. This structure provides a transparent process for selecting qualified (national and international) doctoral candidates and for adequate supervision and examination. It also provides the curricular elements mentioned above.

7. Support should be given to a regular exchange between doctoral candidates from different scientific disciplines and to fostering a disciplinary and transdisciplinary dialogue within the specific doctoral training.

8. The research mind-set of the holders of doctoral degrees and their ability for intellectual risk-taking and for creativity are most important assets in the labour market, essential for all employers in industry, services and public sector.

9. The high degree of diversity in Doctoral Training opportunities and systems which cater to diverse needs in different Member States of the European Union is to be welcomed. We see no need for the standardisation of Doctoral Training in Europe.

Professor Wiesław Banyś
President of CRASP
Warsaw, November 2014   

Professor József Bódis
President HRC
Budapest, December 2014

Professor Horst Hippler
President of HRK
Bonn, November 2014   

Professor Paul De Knop
President of VLIR
Brussels, February 2015

Professor Christian Lerminiaux
President of CDEFI
Paris, November 2014   

Professor Manuel José López Pérez
President of CRUE
Madrid, January 2015

Professor Antonio Loprieno
President of CRUS
Bern, November 2014   

Professor Jean-Loup Salzmann
President of CPU
Paris, November 2014

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden
President of UUK
London, November 2014

(1) The term ‘science’ refers in this declaration to all research disciplines.