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Organisational incentives

The Graduate Schools in the Social Sciences and Humanities that engage closely with the outside world have specific organisational features, i.e. they:

  • Include representatives of companies and working professionals in the governance of the school, i.e. in advisory or programme boards
  • Have a strong alumni network
  • Support the work or research groups that cooperate closely with external partners (e.g. private and social enterprises, governmental bodies) and include intersectoral training to PhD students; allocate funding to the development of such collaborations
  • Offer educational services to private companies or public authorities (e.g. courses in research methods)

The opportunity to build a network is of vital importance to the career prospects of PhD students. Graduate Schools create such opportunities by:

  • Supporting meetings and networking opportunities for PhD students with alumni and/or representatives of companies, to promote their career opportunities outside academia
  • Example: The Université Paris-Saclay offers Doctor'Preneuriales seminars to PhD students as a professional network. It has also created a LinkedIn group with almost 2500 members, the ‘PhD Students & Alumni University Paris-Saclay’. Moreover, since 2015, Paris-Saclay University has been a partner of the start-up company that annually organises the PhD Talent Career Fair in Ile de France
  • Cooperating with external partners to deliver joint activities
  • Example: The University of Helsinki Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences plans to seek co-operation with DEMOS. Demos Helsinki is an independent think tank. They work to solve societal problems and challenges aiming towards a democratic and sustainable society in which everyone can shape the future in personally meaningful ways
Best Practice

The Leuven International Doctoral School for the Humanities and Social Sciences – External Stakeholders Council. The External Stakeholders Council is part of the Humanities and Social Sciences Young Researchers’ Career Centre (YouReCa). It is an advisory body made up of representatives from other-than-academic sectors who provide suggestions and recommendations for doctoral training. They aim to promote intersectoral cooperation with a view to facilitating the transfer of PhDs between academia and the outside world. Members come from all walks of life such as the media, politics, industry, finance, pharmaceutical companies, embassies and biotech companies. [PDF-link]

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