Aarhus University Seal

ExEDE - Excellence in European Doctoral Training

Aarhus University and the University of Edinburgh are collaborating on the Excellence in European Doctoral Training project.

About ExEDE

The EU, governments, funding and quality agencies, employers and universities cite excellence as a key priority in European doctoral training. A number of principles and concepts have been set out in the Salzburg II recommendations and numerous reports from European organisations (including LERU and EUA).

The University of Edinburgh and Aarhus University have worked together to show how these principles and concepts can be translated into innovative practice, particularly at an institutional level. 

This collaborative project is called ExEDE (Excellence in European Doctoral Training). Together the two universities have formulated a set of standards for excellence in support, supervision, employer engagement, employability and mobility in doctoral education.

One of the outcomes of the project is a model for joint PhD programmes, which includes approaches to supervision and skills development as well as the introduction of a standardised doctoral diploma supplement that will strengthen the doctoral candidate in the pursuit of his or her future career.

Read more about the initiative Excellence in European Doctoral Training (PDF)

Joint PhD pilot programme

As part of the project, in 2014 the two universities invited applications for a total of six joint PhD scholarships in the fields of African studies, neuroscience and Arctic studies, in which the two universities have complementary strengths and are able to offer excellent research environments.

The doctoral candidates were required to spend at least a year at each university, have a supervisor at each institution and receive a single degree signed by both universities. Furthermore, the candidates were to take part in developing, piloting and evaluating new innovative standards for doctoral training.

The candidates are now finishing their degrees and the research projects will be subject to an evaluation which meets the standards of both Aarhus University and The University of Edinburgh. The form of the evaluation will be a combination of a public defence and a British viva.

Read more about the joint awarded PhD degree Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) (PDF)

Work packages

Aarhus University and the University of Edinburgh have developed innovative best practices based on a collection of case studies from the two institutions. A project team has collected best practice case studies from both institutions on four work packages covering the following themes:

  • Work package 1 International dimension: How to insure an international dimension to examination, supervision and the doctoral experience
  • Work package 2 Doctoral supplement: How to design and develop a doctoral supplement to cover broader activities, training and experiences with a particular focus on employability & mobility
  • Work package 3 Employer engagement: How to engage and include employers not traditionally associated with the recruitment of doctoral graduates
  • Work package 4 Approaches to training: How to approach training and support for doctoral candidates and supervisors