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This portal is being developed by the International Association of Universities (IAU), an INGO in association with UNESCO based in Paris. It brings together more than 600 universities, institutions and associations from all over the world, because of the belief that together one can achieve a lot more than alone. IAU advocates for higher education at UNESCO, OECD, World Bank to name a few such organisations. It aims to support its Members in any way possible. IAU’s work covers a variety of fields, ranging from internationalisation to sustainable development.
IAU started working on doctoral programmes in Africa in 2009. Developed under the leadership of an international Working Group, IAU conducted surveys about the state of doctoral education in Africa, realised a series of institution-wide studies and organized topical international research seminars. This portal is one of the outcomes of IAU's work on doctoral education in Africa. It focuses on Innovative Approaches for Doctoral Education in Africa (IDEA-PhD). The development of PhD programmes (education and research) at African higher education institutions contributes to creating vibrant, local research climates; it allows to explore the full potential of higher education systems across the continent, and to advance national development in African terms.
This platform herewith offered aims to serve university leaders, administrators, academics, supervisors, students and interested stakeholders to enhance and strengthen doctoral programmes and training in particular at African higher education institutions. The portal offers a variety of tools and documents relevant to the challenges and opportunities facing doctoral studies in Africa and elsewhere and is to connect higher education institutions with relevant organizations, research networks, funding agencies, globally.
The IAU IDEA-PhD portal seeks to:
• Improve research management at African higher education institutions, by increasing knowledge about alternative models and approaches;
• Bring conclusions and recommendations made through the project to the attention of the stakeholders;
• Increase networking between African HEIs on issues relating to doctoral education management for better understanding and synchronization of responses to doctoral education challenges in Africa and beyond;
• Grow and network doctoral education administrators throughout the continent and globally;
• Increase capacity in African countries;
• Increase participation of African HE leaders and researchers in global debates on HE.
'Mission and Vision' offers various documents related to the overall objectives and stakes of doctoral education emphasizing innovation and strategic planning for the future. These documents describe the current state of doctoral education and ways of approaching reform. Also available are a set of tools that can assist in the development of national or institutional research strategies.
'Capacity Building' focuses on assuring quality of doctoral programme design and instruction within the broader framework of building institutional capacity to deliver relevant and world-class PhD degrees. Various doctoral education systems are presented and offer stakeholders a glimpse into the models being adopted or adapted to suit African higher education needs. Explicit tools to implement capacity building measures are also available.
Both projects initially run by IAU and ACUP jointly stressed the importance of quality supervision to ensure successful doctoral education and training. The section 'Supervision' hosts a variety of links to policy documents that highlight the different models in use, along with a set of tools and support mechanisms to improve supervision at both the institutional and faculty-student level.
Data collection and management is a crucial dimension of building institutional governance capacity. 'Doctoral Education by Numbers' shares documents containing data, figures, and statistics collected on doctoral research, enrolment, and performance across the continent.
In order to better take stock of current work being done in the realm of doctoral education, 'Projects and Initiatives' presents information about projects being carried out by organizations related to postgraduate training and management. Projects listed here share a common focus, all or in part, on African higher education.
Consistently highlighted as a principle challenge to delivering quality doctoral education in Africa, information about funding opportunities available to doctoral programme administrators and graduate school managers from various funding agencies and their programmes and projects are provided here.
Portal technical development
The IAU IDEA-PhD portal has been developed by the web agency page18interactive on the initiative of IAU.