Increasing Understanding and Establishing Better Links between African and European Doctoral Education Candidates (DocLinks)

Summary description:

ACU has been awarded a grant by the European Commission, EACEA Erasmus Mundus Programme to implement a two year project on promoting networking between African and European doctoral candidates and early career researchers. The project Increasing Understanding and Establishing Better Links between African and European Doctoral Education Candidates (DocLinks)  will enhance mutual understanding through the creation of a unique network and website bringing together African and European research students.

The specific objectives will include:

  • Raising awareness on doctoral education in Europe and Africa through implementation of residential schools targeted at addressing the needs of PhDs and early career researchers.
  • Creating first ever single publicity channel for bringing together the resources such as PhD study, Post-Doctoral Fellowships and research opportunities offered by European higher education and science to an audience of African PhDs
  • Establishment of contact and exchange between the groups of doctoral candidates and early career researchers in Europe and Africa through development of virtual platform for communication.

The target groups that will directly benefit from the project are:

  • African doctoral candidates undertaking PhDs in Africa
  • African doctoral candidates undertaking PhDs in Europe
  • European doctoral candidates undertaking PhDs in Europe
  • European doctoral candidates undertaking PhDs in Africa
  • PhD scholars who have completed PhDs and are within the first three years of their academic career
  • Students planning to undertake PhD studies

The objectives of the project will be achieved through implementation of main activities including initial needs analysis, development of EU-Africa Doctoral Network and development of EU-Africa Doctoral Website. Two residential schools will be organised within the project to provide an opportunity for face to face contact between African and European doctoral students and to provide intensive discussion opportunities on issues concerned with the development of higher education and doctoral education in particular in Europe and Africa.

The principal outputs foreseen from the project are as follows:

  • A detailed needs assessment of current provision for networking amongst doctoral students to be published as a free standing publication, to inform future provision at government and institutional level.
  • A unique network of communication between European and African doctoral students.   This will aim to broaden the horizons of each, provide a forum for sharing ideas and best practice and increase collaboration at both institutional and individual level.  The network will allow for users to develop their own special interest groups for direct communication, and also provide a route for direct communication with users in particular areas – for example in promoting new courses, scholarships or conferences.  It will also provide a new tool for directly surveying the target community on specific issues.
  • The first ever web site with a particular aim to attract both European and African research students and young research staff.  The site will provide a new vehicle for promoting opportunities for doctoral education in Europe, and bring together collaborative opportunities in a single place. The site will be structured to accommodate the main needs of the audience (as identified through the needs analysis).
  • The establishment of a highly competitive, annual residential school to facilitate direct interaction between future research leaders from Europe and Africa, the results of which will be published on the DOCLINKS web site described above.

The specifically chosen partnership is balanced to involve key players from regions concerned and members of the consortium are major organizations consulted by decision makers before the relevant policies are proposed.

The long-term exploitation of the results of the project will be achieved through presentations of the main findings and recommendations for future action to major policy makers in higher education both in Europe and Africa. As the project is uniquely designed to address the needs of doctoral education and links between EU and Africa, it is expected that the results will be of interest to policy makers in this field and will feed future development of strategic plans in this area.

New! PhD Candidates and Early Career Researchers, EU-Africa network

A new network is established to facilitate discussion between PhD students in EU and Africa. The online network uses LinkedIn platform and is a unique tool for members to share their experiences and any relevant information. Through this group researchers can engage with each other and even develop research partnerships. The members who most actively and meaningfully contribute to group discussions and initiate new discussions will be given priority in competition for bursaries to attend DocLinks Summer School 2012 which will be held in Finland (further information will be available soon). To join the network search in LinkedIn for group ‘PhD Candidates and Early Career Researchers, EU-Africa network’ or click on this link.

New!

DocLinks survey preliminary results are now available here.

DocLinks Residential School 

The First DocLinks / Commonwealth Residential School on Climate Change was held at the University of Botswana, July 9-15th 2012 to offer networking and  professional development opportunities to African and European doctoral students enrolled at  Higher Education Institutions in Africa or Europe.  Further information can be found on the website http://doclinks2012residentialschool.myevent.com/?cp=1

Information on how to apply for Residential School 2013 will be available soon.

DocLinks project consortium:

  • The Association of Commonwealth Universities, United Kingdom (Coordinator)
  • Eurodoc, The European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers, Belgium
  • French Speaking University Agency, Belgium
  • Irish African Partnership for Research Capacity Building, Ireland
  • Finnish University Partnership for International Development – UniPID/University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • University of Botswana, Botswana
  • African Academy of Sciences, Kenya

Eurodoc contact person: Bruno Gomes

The DocLinks project is co-financed by European Commission Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency Erasmus Mundis Programme.