Few goals of contemporary policy are as ambitious as the construction of the new Europe. But while policymakers in and outside Europe are still debating the details of the E.U.'s eastward expansion, Europe's Ph.D. researchers are making rapid progress in organising themselves on a pan-European level.
After the success of Eurodoc's spring conference, the new Eurodoc board met earlier this month for the first time to work out its agenda and to make sure that Ph.D. researchers' voices will be heard in the series of upcoming top-level events.
Indeed, Eurodoc is looking forward to some rather important activities during the forthcoming year. The next steps in the Bologna process, which aims to create a European Higher Education Area, will be discussed at a follow-up meeting in Berlin in September. And while the European education ministers gather, a parallel workshop will be held to focus on the process of harmonisation of higher education from the perspective of those in the front line, such as Ph.D. researchers. Eurodoc has recently been asked to participate, and we will be delighted to contribute to this event, reflecting the position of doctoral programmes as both the last stage of university education and the first as a professional.
Also in preparation is a conference on issues related to the mobility of young researchers. The event will be organised jointly by Eurodoc with the Marie Curie Fellowship Association, Pi-Net, and EuroScience. Eurodoc is well represented in the organising team for this event by former Vice President Toni Gaboldon, who contributes his experience of both mobility and event organisation.
Last but not least in the pipeline of upcoming events is the EuroScience Open Forum 2004 in Stockholm. Planned for August 2004, this event is intended to bring together both scientists and nonscientists to discuss the latest research findings and the way science is structured and administered in Europe. Needless to say, it is a must for Eurodoc to contribute to such an event and at the same time to take the opportunity to intensify our collaborations with EuroScience.
In addition to this promising lineup of events, there is more encouraging news. Eurodoc keeps growing and embracing new national Ph.D.-researcher organizations. The latest countries willing to join the club are Slovenia and Greece. Better still, the Greek Ph.D. association that is preparing its official foundation has already started to organise next year's Eurodoc conference. As chair Eleanna Galanaki reported to the board, the first contacts and agreements with the academic and civil institutions have already been made. We are looking forward to an exciting get-together in Athens in February 2004.
Editor's Note: Next Wave Europe has been publishing the views of Eurodoc and reporting on its activities for some time. So, if you're interested in additional information, please visit our Eurodoc Exchange page. There you'll find access to an ongoing forum discussion, as well as links to Next Wave articles explaining both the Ph.D. education processes in countries across Europe and the particular challenges facing Ph.D.-level researchers in those countries.