Collaborative PhD tracks: Working together for sustainability

E. Sjoer*, M. J.C.M. Hertogh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


This paper elaborates on a form of university-industry cooperation called 'collaborative PhDs'. Engineers working at companies or governmental organisations get the opportunity to do a PhD at the university. The aim of these science-based collaborations between academia and industry is to increase the impact of research on sustainable development. However, to fulfil this promise, how should doctoral engineering education for collaborative PhD tracks look like? A literature search, a benchmark on successful doctoral education programmes, in-depth interviews with 10 PhD candidates and their supervisors, as well as observations of meetings, revealed the requirements for a track that is consistent with the relationship and everyone's interest in it, as well as the needs and talents of the PhD candidate. The conclusion of the research is that collaborative PhD candidates come to the university to conduct research, but do not intuitively fit into the academic world. Some feel squeezed between their jobs as, for instance, project managers on the one hand and doctoral candidates at the university on the other hand. This research led to 10 recommendations for setting up a track within the graduate school.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 45th SEFI Annual Conference 2017 - Education Excellence for Sustainability, SEFI 2017
PublisherEuropean Society for Engineering Education (SEFI)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9789899887572
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event45th SEFI Annual Conference: Education Excellence For Sustainable Development - Terceira Island, Azores, Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal
Duration: 18 Sep 201721 Sep 2017
Conference number: 45


Conference45th SEFI Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleSEFI 2017
CityAngra do Heroísmo
Internet address


  • Contract PhD students
  • Doctoral education

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