REINVENTING DOCTORAL EDUCATION THROUGH UNIVERSITY-INDUSTRY COLLABORATION: THE CASE OF INDUSTRIAL DOCTORATES IN PORTUGAL
A3ES - Agência de Avaliação e Acreditação do Ensino Superior (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:With the emergence of the knowledge society and economy, engagement with society (or community) implies more-and-more universities fulfilling the social expectation of becoming increasingly relevant in economic and social terms (Scott et al. 2004). Universities have been changing their provision, including doctoral education, aiming to aligning it with production and labour sectors’ requirements and relating it more closely to the field of practice (Halse and Levy, 2014; Servage, 2009; Wildy et al., 2015). To some extent, these changes also seek to promote doctoral degree holders’ integration in the labour market, through the development of specific professional skills, given that an academic career is less and less a viable option in the recent context of Western societies (Bernstein et al. 2014; Kehm, 2007, 2011; Servage, 2009).
This context was favourable to the progressive diversification of doctoral education and, recently, industrial doctorates emerged (EUA 2005; Huisman et al., 2002; Kehm, 2007, 2011; Park, 2005; Wildy et al., 2015). As other collaborative doctoral education schemes, industrial doctorates involve collaboration between universities and companies to promote innovation (Borrel-Damian et al 2015) with the cost, supervision and doctoral work outcomes being shared by industrial actors, funding bodies and academia (Assbring and Nuur, 2017).
This paper focuses on this particular ‘way’ through which universities engage and collaborate with industry, with a twofold aim: to understand how collaboration with industry unfolds in industrial doctorates in practical terms; and to explore how far industrial doctorates indeed constitute a response to the needs of companies and doctoral candidates.
The study resorts to qualitative analysis of data from interviews conducted with the coordinators of the 6 Portuguese industrial doctoral programmes supported by the national research funding body (FCT) since 2012/2013.
Findings suggest that industrial doctorates constitute a way through which universities and industry representatives effectively collaborate. Collaboration occurs at several stages during the programme and tends to be more substantial regarding aspects less related to its pedagogical dimension and rather driven by companies’ priorities regarding innovation and research and development (R&D).
University-industry collaboration emerges as extremely appealing for doctoral candidates, especially because of the acquired skills and employability potential beyond academia, due to their practical or more applied nature. There is a general agreement that industrial doctorates open up a real professional alternative to the academic career with graduates tending to be employed in companies, often different from those where they conducted their doctoral research. It also seems that industrial doctorates are responding to a relatively recent (and still relatively limited) societal and economic demand for highly-qualified scientific work in Portugal. These doctorates assist industry in addressing problems whose solution requires R&D.
Keywords: University-industry collaboration, doctoral education, industrial doctorates, Portugal.