Joint Doctoral Studies and Research at the University of Zagreb Aleksa Bjeliš University of Zagreb, Croatia.
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Joint Doctoral Studies and Research at the University of Zagreb Aleksa Bjeliš University of Zagreb, Croatia
Croatian Higher Education: HE System: -6 universities, 5 polytechnics, high schools -about 130.000 students (population: about 4.500.000) National context: -about 12% of population (from 25 to 65) with higher education -generally: working force: not appropriately skilled, and relatively expensive -the most efficient part: tendency of economic emigration, particularly among young graduates -actual job market: unemployment rate - more than 15% -actual national concurrence rate: last few years - around 70th on the world list, without signs of recovering
Role of Higher Education in National Economy: Governmental committee for concurrence: - Higher Education recognized as a crucial tool for recovering from recession: -improvement of competences and qualifications -highest qualified experts capable to generate new initiatives (shortage of ideas, not of money) -Pool: postgraduate studies, together with university research centers and scientific institutes -Can universities respond to the challenge?
Postgraduate studies until now: Scientific and professional programmes (and doctoral theses “outside” studies); Elements of: Quasi – open market; Large drop-out; But also: elements of life-long learning – specialized courses more useful and cheaper than seminars organized by other providers (weekends, out of HE institutions) - particularly in social disciplines (economy, management, law, …);
Doctoral degrees: Either: theses (without studies) mostly for personal promotion (and not within some research programme): ● average age of new doctors – almost 40; Or: studies tightly connected with research and innovations (natural, medical and technical disciplines) – only partially (and indirectly, often symbolically) subsidized by state; burdened by the obligation of having a master degree before; ● average age of new doctors – usually between 30 and 35, rarely below 30;
Illustration: University of Zagreb (2002/2003) Postgraduate cycle within present (“Central European”) system (study programmes of two or three years): ● 5.100 active students (first two or three years of studying) ● 132 study programmes organized mostly at faculty or more local (departmental …) levels ● 705 masters (“magistar” – scientific or professional) ● 254 doctors of science (mostly those who obtained “magistar” degree previously) – more than 80% of Croatian doctoral degrees Among 132 programmes: ● 12 programmes with eight and more doctors of science (7 in natural sciences, 3 in medical sciences, 2 in electrical engineering and computations) ● 30 programmes with three and more doctors of science (4 in technical disciplines, 14 in humanities, in addition)
Future; new propositions: Full legislative support for the implementation of BP achieved in July 2003 through new Act on Scientific Research and Higher Education Amended Act – July 2004 Some propositions: - new study scheme – until 2005/2006 - new system of quality assurance (with the foundation of Agency) – end of 2004; -full juridical integration of universities – until the end of 2007. -full establishment of binary system – until 2010.
Future system of postgraduate studies: Doctoral studies; three years, with research and original scientific contribution; intense (full time) activity of students -Some programmes expected to be supported by the state, others by other stakeholders “Specialization” studies; one to two years, advanced professional programme; usually part-time student involvement Either: -Oriented towards market; Or: - Initiated and realized in collaboration with interested partners; industry, public and private sector
Open questions: Scales: Doctoral studies: usually stable (long-termed) with small (non-sustainable) numbers of students → How to survive? ● Cooperation at the national level (other universities, public institutes ● International cooperation, joint programmes, … Specialization studies: usually short-termed, depending on the demands of market and/or partner(s) → How to keep the level of quality and efficiency? ● Complete opening towards market, with proper study costs … In both cases: usually more promising to organize studies (and corresponding quality assessment) at university level - wider human resources, inter-disciplinary programmes, …
International cooperation in postgraduate studies; Recent experiences Considerable participation of foreign lecturers and students (particularly through TEMPUS and similar programmes); Usually master programmes; Examples in 2002 – 2004: -Environmental Management -Management in Civil Engineering -Sustainable Energy Engineering -European Studies -Cognitive Neuroscience
Main motivations for joint master or doctoral programmes: 1. Fields and disciplines linked to European integrations, with relatively large needs regarding number of students (Public administration, Urban studies, Journalism, European studies, …) 2. New and/or young (usually developing interdisciplinary) programmes (Neurocognitive Science, Medical Neuroscience, Crisis Management,...) 3. (Relatively) strongly developed disciplines, endangered by small numbers of students at the master and higher levels [fundamental disciplines in natural sciences (Physics, Mathematics, etc); Arts (Music, etc),... ] 4. “Small endangered” disciplines (like everywhere...)
Example of a developing project: Physics Strengthening and developing PhD programmes at Central European universities by joining their programmes Activities: -Joint schools (one to two weeks), -mobility of students, -co-supervision in the research leading to PhD these Involved: - International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste -University of Trieste -University of Padova -University of Vienna -Comenius University of Bratislava -University of Zagreb -University of Ljubljana -Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest -Charles University of Prague
Support for joint programmes: TEMPUS projects: few joint programmes per year from 2001 on, duration: three years, 200.000 – 300.000 Euros per project Expectations: - more extensive (and intensive) European networks; - University networks (EUA, UNICA,…); Croatian Foundation for Science and HE started in 2004: ☺ support of initiatives and initial realization of joint programmes; ♥ 300.000 Euros in 2005, covering up to 10 proposals
Post-doctoral stage; link to research and innovations Until now: main resource of doctoral students – fellows of Ministry of science (“scientific novices” – few hundreds per year) Permanent flow in last decade However: Outcome remained less defined – new post-doctors oriented -either towards posts at universities and public institutes sometimes with short (1-2 years post-doctoral stage abroad), -or towards continuing carriers abroad Link to industry and other relevant stakeholders – far from satisfactory Incubators, technological parks, applicative projects – initial attempts, but: - universities still without a system of protection of intellectual property and its promotion towards entrepreneurial applications and spin-off actions