Analysis of EU PhD Education and Research. Prof. Dr. Hans G. Sonntag, MF Heidelberg

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1 Analysis of EU PhD Education and Research Prof. Dr. Hans G. Sonntag, MF Heidelberg

2 History of Doctoral Degrees Doctoral degrees as old as universities Universities had the permission to award doctoral degrees Doctoral degree the requirement for an academic career Different kinds of doctoral degrees according to the different study programs Changes after middle of 20. Century influence of anglistic countries to PhD

3 PhD - Definition PhD = philosophiae doctor In English speaking countries highest grade after passing a postgraduate study for almost all disciplines Background is a 3 5 years research study period and a thesis (publication) and an examination This grade is a permission to teach at universities

4 PhD - Requirements Bachelor and Master Degree UK - Bachelor first class honours Medicine Medical education (MD) PhD Study program or just research work in a lab Bologna no differentiation between PhD and Doctoral degree Austria both degrees possible

5 General Aspects concerning PhD in EU and Germany Compared to EU in Germany there is a difference between doctor degree and PhD. In all HEI study programs after finishing Master degree the students first apply for a doctoral degree (e.g. Dr. med. Dr. rer. nat) and if they have finished this they start to work for a Habilitation as a requirement for an academic career as docent and professor. The organization for the doctor degree mainly is done by the faculties. They have a regulation which describes all requirements for the performance of the duties to get the degree. The tutorship of the doctoral fellows is in the responsibility of a docent or professor who also decides about the topic the doctoral fellow is working on.

6 Structure of PhD Education in EU compared to Germany In Medicine the students have already the possibility to prepare their doctoral thesis while studying medicine With passing their states exam they then also get their doctoral degree (Dr.med) which is different to the international degree of a MD (medical doctor) because the requirement is a scientific based doctoral thesis. In the natural sciences the students can start with the experimental work for a doctoral degree while studying in the master course. After finishing the Master diploma they go ahead with the research work and after a further time of 2 to 3 years they mainly are finished with the doctoral thesis as a requirement for the degree. In the social sciences after establishing the Bachelor and Master education at German HEIs the students have the chance to start already with research work for a doctoral thesis as Master student and finish it after passing the Master diploma

7 Regulations to aquire a PhD Education Every faculty hast o have written regulations for the requirements to acquire a PhD. Although certain basic regulations are the same at every faculty there are certainly differences between the different faculties according to their scientific and research background. For example the medical faculty allows to start already the experimental work for the doctoral thesis while studying medicine and this is not possible for the social sciences.

8 Requirements for Aqisiton of a PhD The regulation for the doctoral degree is concerned with the scientific requirement of the tutor, the time the preparation of a doctoral thesis should be finished, the assessment of the doctoral thesis, the requirement for certain grades (e.g. publication of the results), requirements about ethical standards doing research work

9 Assessment of PhD s For application for a PhD degree the candidate is responsible. The decision about the award is in the concern of the faculty For the assessment of the doctoral thesis for the degree there are opinions of at least two faculty experts necessary. If the thesis should have the highest grade (summa cum laude / with honor) further two opinions of experts from other faculties are necessary. There are 3 faculty commissions concerned with the decision about the PhD degrees. The members of the commissions are elected by the faculty board. These commissions make a first decision according to the opinions of the experts and give a proposal to the Dean who has the final decision. He signs the certificate

10 Publication of PhD Thesis The publication of the results is necessary for the doctoral degrees if certain grades are required: magna cum laude (very good) a publication where the doctoral fellow is mentioned as an author; summa cum laude (with honor) one or better two publications where the doctoral fellow is the first author. Publication has to be done in an international acknowledged journal (impact factor) and in English language.

11 Mentoring PhD Students The mentor for PhD candidates needs an education in the field the candidate wants to get a PhD (e.g. MD for PhDs in Medicine), he has to have a broad experience in research (national and international acknowledgement) and he should have a full professorship at the faculty / university. In reality most of the PhD candidates are mentored by those professors who are at the same time heads of a department or a unit. In the medical faculty these are around 100 professors, for the whole Heidelberg University these are additionally around 250 professors. Since we have several research institutes which do not belong to the university (German Cancer research Institute, Max Planck Institutes, EMBL etc.) there are quite more professors available for mentoring PhD candidates. Facilities are very good in Heidelberg. There are more then journals online available, besides central laboratories every institute has its own laboratory space and research groups and there is a broad network of IT facilities

12 Responsibility of the Mentors The mentor has the full responsibility for the support of the PhD candidate. This means: controlling the performance of the research work of the candidate, evaluation of the research results, providing time for research work besides the normal working hours, introducing the candidate into national and international cooperation and giving presentations at congresses and scientific meetings.

13 Financing Research as Background for PhD Education There is a certain amount of money paid by the government for running education and research at the university. For the medical faculty Heidelberg these are around 100 million per year and the rest of the university around 150 million per year. Faculty and university are free to decide which research projects are financed with that part of the money which is left for research after payment of other fix costs (around 75% of the money). Most of research is financed by grants from national and international (EU) funding institutes. This amounts for the medical faculty around 85 million per year and for the rest university around 60 million per year. Compared with other German universities this amount of funding corresponds to the top 5 universities.

14 Organization of Research Work Research at the university mainly is done in so called research groups consisting of a research group leader and postdocs as well as technical assistants. On the one hand those group leaders are responsible for the preparation and application of research projects. On the other hand there is a development of an interdisciplinary cooperation of several research groups to have a greater power for the acquisition of funds. They are choosing a head of the groups who is then representing the whole project.

15 Possibilities for Research Work Every person with a Master degree, employed at the University of Heidelberg with his contract agrees to do a certain amount of hours per week teaching and research. Those ones who are really willing to start an academic career mainly start their research work in a research group. If they are interested in this kind of research they get the chance to spend up to half of the normal working time for research work. If they are successful they have the chance to be freed from normal work for a certain time (1 2 years) for full time research work. In this time they also can go for working in another laboratory in Germany or outside Germany. According to this situation it is not possible to give a real figure about half time and full time researchers.

16 Average Amount of Money for and Internationality of Research The average money from extern funding for every professor In medicine is At the rest university Besides this there is a certain amount of money for basic equipment, rooms, labs etc. financed from the money coming from the state government. All research groups are working together with national and international partners in their special research fields. Especially the research founding from EU (10 million per year) is concerned and based on an international network. But besides this there are many other interdisciplinary projects based on an international network.

17 Amount of PhD Students and needed time for PhD In our new PhD programs on the basis of the excellence activity of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research there are 2 groups of PhD students in life sciences (250 candidates) and natural sciences (150 candidates) In social sciences there are around 100 candidates. Besides these there are also PhD students working in the research institutes outside of the university. The number is not known. The average time to perform a PhD is 3 years. There is less than 5% drop out of PhD students

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