GERMANY: Programme to boost international doctorates

Germany has started a new programme to attract more excellent postgraduates from abroad. IPID - International promovieren in Deutschland - is designed to enhance the image of German doctoral training and develop new programmes with foreign partner universities.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has provided the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with a total of EUR12.5 million (US$16 million) for 2010-13 for the development of structured, internationally oriented programmes. This money is being allocated to individual institutions via competitive bidding.

In Germany's traditional 'individual doctorates', the doctoral student is supported by the Doktorvater, or doctoral supervisor. These doctorates are not bound to an educational programme.

Structured programmes encourage the formation of networks with established peers, and doctoral students have more opportunities to communicate with young colleagues in their fields through the educational programmes the doctorates offer.

Also, advice is given on attracting third-party funding for meetings where doctoral candidates can present their research topics to workshops on project management and scientific writing.

IPID addresses two key areas in internationalising doctoral training. The attractiveness and international visibility of programmes is to be enhanced by "internationalising doctoral training in Germany". IPID's second component, "Bi-national doctoral networks", seeks to develop joint doctoral programmes with partner universities abroad.

So far 86 proposals have been submitted, out of which 24 are now earmarked for funding. Each institution will receive up to EUR100,000 for a maximum period of three years. Ten of the proposals relate to boosting the attractiveness of programmes, and 14 to doctorate networks.

Partner universities from a total of 18 countries are involved, with Italy especially strongly represented. The natural sciences dominate. The keen interest among institutions that the measure has met with among institutions has prompted a second round of bidding.