1 CIED - Research Centre on Education, University of Minho (PORTUGAL)
2 CIPES - Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies, Department of Social, Political and Territorial Sciences, University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
3 CIPES-Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies, Department of Economics, Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism, University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2024 Proceedings
Publication year: 2024
Pages: 1917-1926
ISBN: 978-84-09-59215-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2024.0544
Conference name: 18th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-6 March, 2024
Location: Valencia, Spain
The rise of the knowledge society/economy and the affirmation of the universities’ third mission, have assigned to doctoral education a key role in the creation, dissemination, and application of knowledge that addresses real-world challenges in innovative ways (EUA-CDE, 2022). In response, doctoral education is adapting by fostering interdisciplinary approaches, encouraging collaboration between researchers and practitioners, and aligning research goals with societal needs to address complex global challenges (EUA-CDE, 2022; McAlpine, 2020a; Prøitz & Wittek, 2020). One of these adaptations is the development of industrial doctorates, built around collaborations between universities and industries, and characterized, for instance, by the participation of industry experts in the curriculum design and development, in supervisory committees or in the definition of research topics (Borrell-Damian et al., 2015).

Different strategies can be adopted to foster the development of industrial doctorates. The cooperation between doctoral schools and science and technology parks (STP) is one of them, allowing to combine the knowledge, skills and experiences of different actors, both from industry and the university. Other is doctorates funding through scholarships for PhD students who develop their research work within an industrial (or non-academic) environment, which is the case of a recent funding program of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).

Under the framework of the “Doc-Park - Study on the promotion of doctoral education programmes in science and technological parks” research project (EDULOG/EDPCT/2022), this paper aims to analyse, in a sample of Portuguese public universities, how the discourse of collaboration between universities and industries, or STP, is translated in the description of the doctoral programmes. Moreover, it explores how the FCT has been supporting doctoral education programmes in non-academic environments in the last two years.

In this study, 357 doctoral programmes were analysed via the consultation of their website page. After the reading of the programme’s description, a further in-depth analysis was performed for those programmes where collaboration with industries and/or STP was mentioned. A chart analysis was built for data collection and a content analysis took place, leading to the following findings:
i) only a very small percentage of the programmes included in the sample are recognised as industrial doctorates or doctorates offered in non-academic environments;
ii) the number of programmes refering the existence of a collaboration with industries is rather low, with only one having a clear link with a STP;
iii) most of the programmes where university-industry collaboration is mentioned fall within the Engineering, Transformative Industries and Construction field;
iv) university-industry collaboration occurs mostly on the definiton of the research topic; and
v) only around 7% of the PhD scholarships awarded by the FCT in 2022 and 2023 national competitions were for doctoral programmes in non-academic environment.

Overall, the results obtained point to a situation where the promotion of university-industry collaboration is seemingly not being achieved through doctoral education. If this is indeed a goal for Portuguese doctoral education, then more efforts and supportive actions are required to incentivate and cement university-industry and STP collaborations.
Doctoral education, collaboration, university-industry, science and technology parks.