Be brave and aggressive, be prepared and be a good merchant. These so called “Viking Laws” are, in a nutshell, the advice of Zsolt Kajocsos, Deputy Director of KFKI, for young researchers who want to be successful in science. In the ESOF session on “Structured doctoral training and postdoctoral mobility” different approaches to university management of high quality academic education, research and innovation in Europe were discussed. Young researchers were encouraged to be strong and learn how to sell themselves and their research despite how their university manages doctoral training.
“There are universities who contract their PhD candidates and there are universities who not even register candidates who want to start a research career“, said Mary Ritter, Pro-Rector for Postgraduate and International Affairs in Imperial College London, UK. After assessing five years of reforms of European Doctoral Education she concluded that benchmarking progress of graduate school programs are essential and that there are fast and slow adopters of change in academia. The different levels of adaption to change are connected with the “different funding and degrees of autonomy of universities,” said Ritter.
Marja Makarow, Chief Executive of the European Science Foundation thinks that “research training is a must in a knowledge based society” and that some top down pressure helps universities manage their doctoral training more effectively.
Since no system is perfect and the road to a PhD is long and the pathways to the European Research Area are even longer, researchers are advised to stay strong and take on Viking principles in the face of rough waters.
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