GENERIC COMPETENCES FOR THE THIRD CYCLE IN CHEMISTRY

I. Kozaris, E. Varella

Aristoteleio Panepistimio Thessalonikis (GREECE)
Generic competences are growing into a general concern in all types of education. In fact, they constitute a major factor in the overall development of students and trainees, as well as a critical parameter in any successful future career.
Third cycle generic competences are actually addressing young scientists of specialised knowledge, aspiring at leading positions in the relevant labour market. Nevertheless, high cognitive accomplishments may easily lead to neglecting fundamental skills indispensable in any responsible position. Consequently, in the European Higher Education Area doctoral level generic competences acquired already in 2004 a largely recognized framework with the Dublin descriptors.
As a discipline equally appreciating theoretical knowledge and technical dexterity, chemistry was early in identifying competences for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees graduates. The European Chemistry Thematic Network, an association comprising more than 180 universities and chemical societies, undertook the task of developing the relevant Budapest descriptors (2005). Even though the third cycle is as well mentioned, the absence of a thorough approach has been urgently felt at the moment a European third cycle qualification in chemistry was about to be implemented.
The support necessary to the European Chemistry Thematic Network for proceeding to designing generic competences for the third cycle has been provided by the Lifelong Learning Programme / Erasmus / Accompanying Measures project, titled: Eurodoctorate – a Framework for a Third Cycle Qualification in Chemistry. As a result, a document on generic competences for the third cycle in chemistry has been adopted.

The present paper is discussing the document from several points of view:
- It is elucidating the basic concept that generic competences for the third cycle are addressing environments the candidate is likely to meet during any forthcoming career connected to his/her qualifications.
- It is defining prerequisites presuming original, independent and critical thinking.
- It is focusing in great detail on management, development and communication processes.
- It is tackling social responsibility.
- It is dealing with the ways they may be acquired while performing the research project, and/or in the frame of specialised workshops or relevant course units.

Although the European Chemistry Thematic Network is allocating its efforts for trans-national educational transparency and systematisation only in the subject of chemistry, the generic competences developed and adopted may serve as a guide for further disciplines, especially in the frame of natural and applied sciences.