Mission of the Conference

7th ORPHEUS 2012  Conference:  "Establishing Evaluation of PhD Training"

Throughout Europe there is a growing emphasis on PhD education as the "third cycle" in the Bologna process. For the health sciences, this provides new opportunities for the advancement of clinical research as well as for strengthening basic research in the area. This is, however, dependent on the content and quality of the PhD degree, and it was for this reason that ORPHEUS was established.

ORPHEUS (Organisation for PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System) held its first conferences in 2004 and 2005, where standards for the health science PhD were discussed and defined.  In particular, the "Zagreb declaration" was formulated, which defined the expected content of a PhD thesis in the biomedical context. The third conference in 2007, discussed the role of clinical PhD programmes in graduate schools in health science. The fourth meeting held in 2008 in Aarhus set the basic standards for the PhD degree in biomedicine and health sciences. The fifth conference was held in Vienna 2007, with the motto "The Advancement of European Biomedical and Health Science PhD Education by Cooperative Networking". The most recent conference 2011 was held in Izmir, Turkey, with the theme: "Quality Indicators of PhD training".  The position papers from each of these conferences can be found on the ORPHEUS homepage (http://www.orpheus-med.org). ORPHEUS now has a membership of around 100 biomedical and health science faculties and institutions from almost all European countries.

Recently, ORPHEUS in collaboration with Association of Medical School of Europe (AMSE) and World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) issued a joint document: Standards for PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in Europe. The document is the product of discussion at numerous conferences with hundreds of participants. The aim now is to discuss how these standards can best be promoted and applied. In particular, whether some form of ORPHEUS label could be offered to institutions meeting these standards. Such actions could have an important effect on improving the quality of PhD training in European biomedicine and health sciences, and preserving the reputation of the PhD degree.

The forthcoming seventh conference, to be held 19-21 April 2012, in Bergen is on the theme "Establishing Evaluation of PhD Training". On this topic, keynote speakers will provide impulses that we will further discuss in workshops to elaborate guidelines and strategies on ORPEHUS organized international evaluation of PhD training in Europe.