Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 2850-2858
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
The closer alignment of the European Higher Education Area with the European Research Area is asking for innovative doctoral programmes at the interface of traditional disciplines; while transparent structures enhancing mobility are the most efficient way for opening the European job market to all young researchers.

In this frame, a project funded by the European Commission, Directorate General on Education and Culture, Lifelong Learning Programme, Erasmus, Curriculum Development Projects, is addressing curricular reform at third-cycle level for Ph.D. candidates wishing to study and perform research work at the interface of chemistry and other scientific disciplines.

Based on a detailed survey of the current situation in Europe, and receiving feedback from a pool of experts representing the whole of the Bologna Process area, the present study is proposing structures necessary for establishing interdisciplinary transnational doctorate schools, and implementing relevant joint degrees.

Interdicsiplinary transnational curricula are indeed a complex issue, since the educational qualifications of teachers and students, as well as the learning outcomes expected and the pedagogical lines used, are far from homogeneous. Although Ph.D. candidates are supposed to have a priori the indispensable advanced scientific knowledge and skills – as defined i.a. by the Dublin/Budapest descriptors and the Euromaster® requirements –, there are considerable variations in the depth of their acquaintance with concepts and issues required for the succesful achievement of their goals, but not related to their former educational background.

Furthermore, the problem of improving the quality and enhancing the flexibility of mobility organized within joint degrees schemes is dealt with. Implementation of consistent harmonized virtual campus infrastructures, as well as creation of permanent support and information points managing current issues, are the main approaches proposed.

Research areas envisaged include conservation science, science education, computational chemistry, and technical chemistry. Thus, focused on knowledge and skills in engineering and computer science, or a broad comprehension of humanistic and pedagogical themes form part of the respective curricula along with the obvious chemistry-related specialized modules.
At present, opportunities for education and research in specific interdisciplinary issues are increasing, since there is an obvious need for bridging branches of studies. Nevertheless, doctorate schools leading to joint degrees at the interface of scientific subjects are an exception. The careful establishment of the abovementioned schools on chemistry related to other topics may be considered as a pilot endeavour, to be further adopted in every interdisciplinary third-cycle degree within the Bologna Process area.
Doctoral programmes, curricular reform, joint degrees.