Biomedical and Health Science Doctoral Training in Europe, Helsinki 2007 

Conference Participants

AUSTRIA

Professor Guenther Gell, PhD, Dean of the PhD programme at the Medical University of Graz, guenther.gell@meduni-graz.at

Professor Dr. Andrea Olschewski, Vice Dean of the PhD programme at the Medical University of Graz, Professor of Anaesthesiology, Chief of the Experimental Anaesthesiology at the Medical University of Graz, andrea.olschewski@meduni-graz.at

Professor Dr. Hannes Stockinger, Director of the Doctoral School of the Medical University of Vienna, Chairman Department of Molecular Immunology, Center for Physiology, Pathophysiology and Immunology, Director of Curriculum Medical University of Vienna, hannes.stockinger@meduniwien.ac.at

BELGIUM

Professor Dr. Johan Van de Voorde, Ph.D. Professor in Physiology. Representative of the Doctoral Commission of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, johan.vandevoorde@ugent.be

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Associate professor Farid Ljuca, MD PhD Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Tuzla, farid.ljuca@untz.ba

Professor Osman Sinanović, MD, PhD, ORPHEUS EC, Head Postgraduate Study, Head of Department of Neurology, University Clinical Center Tuzla, Medical Faculty, University of Tuzla, Trnovac bb, 75000 Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, osman.sinanovic@ukctuzla.ba

BULGARIA

Professor Dr. Svetla Bogdanova, Medical University ñ Sofia, svbogdanova@gmail.com

Professor Dr. Maria Simeonova, Medical University of Pleven, simeonovamaria@gmail.com

CROATIA

Doc. Dr.sc. Jerko Barbić, Vice dean for postgraduate studies, Medical School, University of Osijek, jerko.barbic@mefos.hr

ProfessorDr.Jadranka Božikov, ORPHEUS Treasurer; Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, jbozikov@snz.hr

Professor Nada Čikeö, MD PhD, Dean University of Zagreb School of Medicine, ncikes@mef.hr

Professor Zdravko Lacković, MD PhD, ORPHEUS President; AMSE EC, Deputy dean for doctoral studies, Director of PhD Programme, University of Zagreb School of Medicine. lac@mef.hr

Professor Dr. sc. Anđelka Radojčić Badovinac, Vice dean for postgraduate studies, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine, andjelr@medri.hr

Jasmina Štimac, BA, ORPHEUS Administrative secretary; University of Zagreb School of Medicine, jasmina.stimac@agram.mef.hr

Professor AnteTvrdeić, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Medical School, University of Osijek tvrdeic@mefos.hr

CZECH REPUBLIC

Dr. Miroslava Casova, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Pilsen casovam@seznam.cz

Professor Miroslav Cervinka, M.D. PhD, Vice-Dean for research and PhD study, Charles University , Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove, cervinka@lfhk.cuni.cz

Professor Petr Hach, MD, PhD, ORPHEUS EC, Charles University in Prague, 1st Faculty of Medic, petr.hach@lf1.cuni.cz

Professor Jan Herget, MD, PhD, 2nd Medical Faculty, Charles University, jan.herget@lfmotol.cuni.cz

Doc. Jiri Kobr, MD, PhD, Charles University in Prague, kobr@fnplzen.cz

Professor Martin Modriansky, MD, PhD, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky Univers martin.modriansky@upol.cz

Professor Bohuslav Ostadal, MD, PhD, , president of the Coordination committee, Postgraduate doctoral studies in biomedicine, Charles University and Academy of Sciences, ostadal@biomed.cas.cz

Professor Martin Vizek, MD, PhD, 2nd medical faculty, Charles University martin.vizek@lfmotol.cuni.cz

DENMARK

Professor Michael Mulvany, PhD, ph.d.-studieleder/ Director of PhD studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Aarhus, mm@farm.au.dk

ESTONIA

Dr. Aavo Lang, MD, PhD, University of Tartu, Aavo.Lang@ut.ee

FINLAND

Professor Seija-Liisa Karvonen, MD, PhD, Coordinator, Finnish National Graduate School of Clinical Investigation, seija-liisa.karvonen@helsinki.fi

Eliisa Kek‰l‰inen, M.D. / PhD student representative,University of Helsinki Haartman Institute, Dept. of Immunology, eliisa.kekalainen@helsinki.fi

Professor Kimmo Kontula, MD, PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, kimmo.kontula@hus.fi

Professor Marja Makarow, PhD, Rector of Research, University of Helsinki marja.makarow@helsinki.fi

Professor Tomi M‰kel‰, MD, PhD, Dean of Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, tomi.makela@helsinki.fi

Professor Seppo Meri, MD, PhD, ORPHEUS EC, Director of the Haartman Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, seppo.meri@helsinki.fi

Paula Paqvalin, Secretary of Doctoral Committee, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, paula.paqvalin@helsinki.fi

Professor Kalle Saksela, MD, PhD, Head of Doctoral Committee, Professor of Virology, Faculty of Medicine and Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, kalle.saksela@helsinki.fi

Marjatta Turunen, Adminstrative Secretary, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki marjatta.turunen@helsinki.fi

Professor Ismo Virtanen, MD, PhD, Doctoral Committee, Professor of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Institute of Biomedicine, University of Helsinki ismo.virtanen@helsinki.fi

GERMANY

Professor Dr. Olga Golubnitschaja, AMSE representative, Head of the Division Molecular/Experimental Radiology, Department of Radiology, Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn

Professor Dr. Manfred Gross, CharitÈ University Medicine Berlin, manfred.gross@charite.de

Professor Wolf-Karsten Hofmann, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Department of Hematology and Oncology CharitÈ – University Hospital Benjamin Franklin, CharitÈ University Medicine Berlin, w.k.hofmann@charite.de

Dr.rer.nat. Susanne Kruse, Office of the president, Hannover Medical School, Germany Scientific coordinator of Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS) kruse.susanne@mh-hannover.de

Professor Dr.J¸rgen Lorenz, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences juergen.lorenz@rzbd.haw-hamburg.de

Professor Dr. Axel Pries, CharitÈ University Medicine Berlin, axel.pries@charite.de

Professor Dr. R¸diger Veh, CharitÈ University Medicine Berlin, ruediger.veh@charite.de

Professor Dr. Hilmar Stolte, IALS International Academy Lifesciences, Charite University Medicine Berlin, stolte@lifesciences.net

ICELAND

Professor Dr. Gunnsteinn Haraldsson, University of Iceland, gah@hi.is

Professor Dr. Helga M. ÷gmundsdottir, Professor of Cell Biology, Chairman of Committee for Post-graduate Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, helgaogm@hi.is

IRELAND

Professor Dr. Helen Gallagher, University College Dublin (UCD), helen.gallagher@ucd.ie

ITALY

Professor Emanuela Signori, PhD, Researcher at the National Research Council (CNR), Department of Medicine, Institute of Neurobiology and Molecular Medicine, Acting Associate Professor of General Pathology, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, School of Medicine, e.signori@unicampus.it

Dr. Tanya Szendeffy, University Campus Bio Medico of Rome, t.szendeffy@unicampus.it

LATVIA

Dr. Gunta Strazda, University of Latvia, Medical faculty, gunta.strazda@lu.lv

Professor Dr. Immanuels Taivans, University of Latvia, Medical faculty, taivans@latnet.lv

LITHUANIA

Professor Irena Misevičienė, MD, PhD, ORPHEUS Secretary, Vice Rector Kaunas University of Medicine, irmis@kmu.lt; mokslas.studijos@kmu.lt

Janina Tutkuviene, Assoc.Professor, Head of the Department of Anatomy, Histology and Anthropology, Vice-Dean for Research and PhD Studies, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, janina.tutkuviene@mf.vu.lt

NETHERLANDS

Ruth Friedlnder, Drs., PhD-education manager of the AMC(Amsterdam Medical Center) Graduate School, r.friedlander@amc.nl

NORWAY

Professor Kristina Arvidson Fyrberg, University of Bergen, Kristina.Arvidson-Fyrberg@odont.uib.no

Lars-Petter Jevnaker, Mr., University of Bergen, Lars.Jevnaker@medfa.uib.no

Gry Kibsgaard, Research adviser, University of Bergen, gry.kibsgaard@uib.no

Erik Sandquist, Mr., University of Bergen, erik.sandquist@odont.uib.no

POLAND

Professor Jadwiga Mirecka, MD, PhD, ORPHEUS EC, member of AMEE EC, Jagiellonian University Medical College, jmirecka@cm-uj.krakow.pl

PORTUGAL

Professor Paulo Correia-de-S·, ICBAS – University of Porto, farmacol@icbas.up.pt

Professor Carlos Farate, Biomedical Sciences Institute Abel Salazar (ICBAS) carlos.farate@sapo.pt

ROMANIA

Professor Radu Ion Badea, MD, PhD, Head, Dept. Clinical Imaging, Director, Doctoral School, “Iuliu Hatieganu”” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, rbadea@umfcluj.ro

Professor Anca Dana Buzoianu, MD, PhD, Head, Dept. Clinical Pharmacology, Academic Secretary, Doctoral School, “Iuliu Hatieganu”” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, abuzoianau@umfcluj.ro

Professor Petru Adrian Mircea, MD, PhD, Head, Dept. Internal Medicine I, Vice-rector, Research and Scientific Activities, “Iuliu Hatieganu”University of Medicine and Pharmacy, pmircea@umfcluj.ro

SERBIA

Professordr Nebojöa N. Arsenijević, MD, PhD, Dean of Medical School, University of Kragujevac, nebojsa_arsenijevic@yahoo.com

Professor Slobodan Janković, MD, PhD, Vice Dean University of Kragujevac slobnera@eunet.yu

SLOVAKIA

Lubica Cervenova, Ms, Comenius University, Jessenius Medical Faculty Cervenova@jfmed.uniba.sk

Professor Jan Hanacek, Comenius University, Jessenius Medical Faculty Hanacek@jfmed.uniba.sk

Professor Kamil Javorka, Comenius University, Jessenius Medical FacultyJavorka@jfmed.uniba.sk

SWEDEN

EliasArnÈr, M.D. Ph.D., Dean of Postgraduate Education, Karolinska Institutet, Elias.Arner@ki.se

Raffaella Crinelli, PhD candidate in medical science, ORPHEUS EC Karolinska Institutet, raffaella.crinelli@ki.se

Professor Per Hellstrom, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Per.Hellstrom@ki.se

Professor Per Hultman, Linkˆping University, perhu@imk.liu.se

Torbjˆrn Ledin, MD PhD, Head of the Undergraduate Medical Programme, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linkˆping, Dept ENT, University Hospital, Linkˆping University torbjorn.ledin@inr.liu.se

SWITZERLAND

Professor Dr. Hedwig J. Kaiser, Vice Dean Education Medical Faculty University Basel, , CH 4031 Basel, h-j.kaiser@unibas.ch

TURKEY

Professor Dr. Figen Demirel, Deputy Director Institute of Health Sciences Hacettepe University, fdemirel@Dr.com

Professor Dr. G¸l G¸ner-Akdogan, Director, Dokuz Eylul University Graduate School of Health Sciences, Izmir, gul.guner@deu.edu.tr

UNITED KINGDOM

Professor David Gordon, ORPHEUS Vice Presidents, President, Association of Medical Schools in Europe (AMSE), Vice-President University of Manchester, dgordon@man.ac.uk

Programme

ORPHEUS 2007 – University of Helsinki and Biomedicum Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland – 6-8 September 2007

Third Conference on Biomedical and Health Science Doctoral Training in Europe (ORPHEUS 2007)

THURSDAY, Sept. 6

Small Auditorium, HelsinkiUniversityMainBuilding (Fabianinkatu 33, 4th floor)

16:00-17:00 Executive Committee meeting to prepare and discuss forthcoming conference and some of the future activities

17:00-17:45 joint Organizing Committee and ORPHEUS Executive Committee meeting to discuss framework for Helsinki consensus statement and other issues

(Registration 17.00-18.00 Helsinki University Main Building, 4th floor, Fabianinkatu 33)

18:00-19:00 OPENING AND INTRODUCTION
Small Auditorium
, Helsinki University Main Building (Fabianinkatu 33, 4th floor)

Chair: Seppo Meri, Zdravko LackoviÊ, David Gordon
Seppo Meri, Meeting President: Welcome address to ORPHEUS 2007

Zdravko LackoviÊ, President of ORPHEUS: History, mission and activities of ORPHEUS

Marja Makarow, Rector of Research, University of Helsinki: Welcoming words

19:00-21:00 WELCOME RECEPTION BY THE UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI (hosted by Marja Makarow)

Journal Hall,HelsinkiUniversityMainBuilding, 2nd floor, Unioninkatu (Senate Square) side

FRIDAY, Sept. 7

(Registration 8.00-12.00 Biomedicum Helsinki, Haartmaninkatu 8)

Lecture Hall 1,Biomedicum Helsinki, (Haartmaninkatu 8)

9.00-10.00 HOW TO COMBINE CLINICAL AND PhD WORK: A STUDENT PERSPECTIVE

Chair: Tomi M‰kel‰, Petr Hach, Raffaella Crinelli

9.00-9.30 Crinelli R.,Karolinska Institutet,Stockholm, Sweden: PhD programs in clinical medicine in Europe: information available on the internet

9:30-10.00 Kek‰l‰inen E., Haartman Insitute, University of Helsinki, Finland: PhD-students opinions on doctoral training

10:00-10:30 Coffee

10.30-11.30 MD/PhD DEGREE IN HEALTH SCIENCES

Chair: David Gordon, Helga M. ÷gmundsdžttir, Jadranka Božikov,


10.30-11:00
 M‰kel‰ T., Medical Faculty, University of Helsinki, Finland: MD/PhD training beyond borders: evolution towards joint degrees

11:00-11.30 Mulvany M., University of Aarhus, Denmark: What should MD/PhD training include?

11.30-12.30 CLINICAL RESEARCH AND PhD TRAINING

Chair:Kimmo Kontula, Nada »ikeö

11:30-12.00 Gordon D., AMSE president, Univesity of Manchester, UK: Importance of clinical research: Mutual interdependence of clinical and laboratory research and the relevance of both to PhD training.


12:00-12.20 Kruse S.,Schmidt R.E.,Hannover Biomedical Research School, Germany: Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS)

  1. 20-13.20Lunch

13.20-14:40 Free Communications: PhD PROGRAMS IN CLINICAL MEDICINE, 10 min lectures and discussion

Chair: Jadwiga Mirecka, Kamil Javorka, Petru Adrian Mircea

13:20-13.30 Modriansk? M., Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palack? University, Olomouc, Czech Republic: What life is life should I have not a PhD?

13:30-13:40 Javorka K., Comenius University, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Martin, Slovakia: Importance of the cooperation between clinical and basic medical disciplines in PhD programmes

13:40-13:50 ÷gmundsdžttir H.M., Haraldsson G., Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, ReykjavÌk, Iceland: Building a PhD on research experience gained during clinical specialist training

13:50-14:00 Badea I.R., Buzoianu A.D., Mircea P.A., Bojita M.T.,ìIuliu Hatieganuî University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Development of doctoral schools in medicine and life sciences through an eLearning system for research

14:00-14:10 »ervinka M., Charles University Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic: Fifteen years of experience with PhD study programmes at Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove

14:10-14:20 Mirecka J.,JagiellonianUniversityMedicalCollege, Krakow, Poland: Possible links between MEDINE and ORPHEUS

14:20-14:30 JankoviÊ S.M., ArsenijeviÊ N.N., Medical Faculty, University of Kragujevac, Kragujevac, Serbia:Early testing of methodological issues in PhD thesis proposals during doctoral studies

14:30-14:40 MiseviËienė I., JuraleviËienė I., Uloziene I., Ivanauskiene R., Kaunas University of Medicine, Institute for Biomedical Research, Kaunas, Lithuania: PhD program in medicine and professional career of the graduates in Kaunas University of Medicine

14.40-16.00 PhD PROGRAMMES IN CLINICAL MEDICINE: EXPLORING GOOD PRACTICES

Chair: Mike Mulvany, Hannes Stockinger, G¸l G¸ner-Akdogan


14.40-15:10 ArnÈr E.,
 Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden: PhD training at Karolinska Institutet-setting the same framework for both clinical and non-clinical students

15.10-15:40 Hellstrˆm P., Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden: Combining internship or fellowship in clinical PhD training at Karolinska University Hospital

15.40-16:10 Karvonen S., Finnish National Graduate School of Clinical Investigation,

Helsinki, Finland

16:10-16:40 Coffee

16:40-17.40 Free Communications, THE SAME AIMS – DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES:10 min lectures and discussion

Chair: Jadranka Božikov, Bohuslav Ostadal

16:40-16:50 G¸ner-Akdogan G.,DokuzEylulUniversityGraduateSchool of Health Sciences, Izmir, Turkey:An Innovative Model for Health Sciences PhD Educationin Turkey

16:50-17:00 Tutkuviene J., Ausrele Kucinskiene Z., Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania: PhD Training in Clinical Medicine at the Medical Faculty, Vilnius University, Lithuania

17:00-17:10 BarbiÊ J., TvrdeiÊ A., DrenjanËeviÊ- PeriÊ I., VËev A., FilakoviÊ P., Faculty of Medicine, University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer Osijek, Croatia: Structure of postgraduate doctoral study in biomedicine and health sciences in university of Josip Juraj Strossmayer Osijek, Croatia

17:10-17:20 Mircea P.A., Badea I.R., Buzoianu A.D., Bojita M.T., ìIuliu Hatieganuî University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Romania: The PhD Schoolñan innovative structure of the ìIuliu Hatieganuî University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Cluj-Napoca, Romania

17:20-17:30 Ostadal B., Herget J., Vizek M., Centre for doctoral studies in biomedicine, Charles University and Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic: 15 years of experience with PhD programmein biomedicine

17.30-17.40 Taivans I., Strazda G., Faculty of Medicine, University of Latvia, Latvia:Experience of doctoral studies in medical specialities at University of Latvia

Parallel session 16:30-18.00 ORPHEUS Ad hoc Working Group:Preparation of a Consensus statement

19.00 Conference dinner

Restaurant Tˆˆlˆnranta, Helsinginkatu 56

SATURDAY, Sept 8

Lecture Hall 1,Biomedicum Helsinki, (Haartmaninkatu 8)

9.00-10.00 Presentation and discussion of the Helsinki consensus statement

Chair: David Gordon, Osman SinanoviÊ, Seppo Meri

10.00-10:30 Coffee

10.30-12.00 QUALITY AND INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION IN PhD TRAINING

Chair: Petr Hach, G¸nter Gell, Miroslav »ervinka


10.30-11:00
 Stockinger H., Medical University of Vienna,Vienna, Austria: The new PhD- and professional-doctorate in applied medical science at the Medical University of Vienna

11.00-11:30 »ikeö N.,KapoviÊ M., JanknoviÊ S.,FilakoviÊ P., LackoviÊ Z. MedicalSchools of Croatia; University of Zagreb, Rijeka, Split and Osijek: Is it possible to make a good PhD programme in a small scientific community: Croatian experience after previous two PhD conferences

11.3012:00 SzendeffyT., Pozzilli P., University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Italy: Problems encountered in setting up international PhD in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13:00-14:00 CONCLUSIONS

Chair: Zdravko LackoviÊ, Seppo Meri

13.00 Acceptance of revised consensus statement

14.00 Concluding remarks and closure of the conference

14.10-14.30 ORPHEUS General ASSEMBLY

14.30-15.30 ORPHEUS EC meeting

Helsinki Conference Articles

15 years of Experience with PhD Programme in Biomedicine

    Ostadal, J. Herget, M. Vizek

    Centre for doctoral studies in biomedicine, Charles University and Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic

    Foundation of the Prague Centre for doctoral studies in biomedicine was driven by the effort to provide for graduate students the highest possible level of scientific education. For this purpose, two main scientific institutions, the Charles University and the Academy of Sciences, concluded the agreement, ensuring the participation of the best experts and departments in the process of scientific training, independent of the original studentís school. This arrangement allows graduates from three Faculties of Medicine, Faculty of Science as well as interested applicants from other faculties to select the most convenient research programme from the spectrum of 19 theoretical biomedical disciplines. Each of them has its managing committee, responsible for admission of new students, selection of tutors, organization of courses, state exams as well as evaluations of PhD theses. The obligations of students include scientific training, completion of two methodological courses, state examination in the selected discipline, publication of at least two papers in journals with an impact factor and finally the defense of dissertation. Training in basic science is obligatory also for MD graduates who want to continue in clinical disciplines; they can apply for scientific training, e.g. in human physiology and pathophysiology, pharmacology, biology and pathology of the cell, molecular biology and genetics etc. In addition, they have a small workload in clinical departments, enabling them to maintain contact with practical medicine. The number of students accepted for postgraduate biomedical education in Prague each year is relatively stable and varies from 320 to 360. The ratio accepted students/successfully defended theses steadily increased and in the last year reached 25 %. We are convinced that the integration of intellectual and methodological capacities of different institutions in the Prague region as well as the training of MD students in basic science could increase the scientific level of clinical research.

    An Innovative Model for Health Sciences PhD Education in Turkey

    G¸l G¸ner -Akdogan Director, Dokuz Eylul University Graduate School of Health Sciences

    Izmir- TURKEY

    Dokuz Eylul University is one of the leading universities in Turkey, with its number of students, its role in the implementation of problem-based-learning in its Medical School and other faculties, its leadership for other schools in Turkey, its impact on biomedical research, and being one of the pilot Turkish universities in the Socrates (Life-Learning) scheme.

    The Graduate School of Health Sciences (Health Sciences Institute) of Dokuz Eyl¸l University, which coordinates twenty PhD and thirty-eight MSc programs in Health Sciences, made an institutional reform (in 2005) in its PhD education, restructuring its PhD programs, based on the following important points:

    • The PhD education starts with agreement about the thesis topic and supervisor.
    • The supervisor and the student are matched before the admission of the student for the PhD training;†
    • The thesis and the courses are intertwined with the thesis work;
    • PhD supervision is possible only if the candidate supervior has an approved research project;
    • The courses are carried out in blocks of one, two, or three weeks;
    • The teaching techniques comprise a hybrid of the following: lectures, small-group interactive sessions, problem-based learning, project-based learning, and laboratory practicals
    • The Graduate School coordinates a multitude of interdisciplinary courses taken by the students coming from different programs. Some of these courses are: ìThe Cellî; Laboratory Methods and Techniquesî; ìResearch Principles and Methods in Healthî; ìPlanning, Carrying Out, and Evaluation of Experimental Researchî, ìMedical Ethicsî. These courses provide a learning environment for the sharing of information and experience between faculty and students, thus supporting the interdisciplinary approach.
    • The PhD candidate is responsible for submitting all or part of the research in a SCI -cited journal and showing proof of acceptance of the article, wih his/her first name.
    • The diploma supplements are prepared including the ECTS credits for each course taken.

    Turkish universities are in the process of adaptation to the Bologna-Bergen process, and Dokuz Eyl¸l Graduate School of Health Sciences, with its innovative change of its PhD program, has taken an important step for adaptation towards the harmonization of European PhD degrees.

    Building a PhD on Research Experience Gained During Clinical Specialist Training

    Helga M. ÷gmundsdžttir & Gunnsteinn Haraldsson. Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, ReykjavÌk, Iceland.

    Most Icelandic medical graduates obtain their clinical specialist training abroad, mostly in Sweden and the USA, but also e.g. Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands and the UK. In Sweden doctors have the opportunity to combine their clinical specialist training with research and many of them obtain a PhD degree. In the USA young medical-doctors (MDís) are frequently involved in research but the American system makes it difficult for them to gain a doctorate. The Faculty of Medicine offers these young MDís the opportunity to collect their research together into an academic format under the following clause of the regulations on doctoral studies:

    ìDoctoral candidates who have experience in scientific methods, have completed research projects and published scientific papers on a well-defined topic which could form the basis of a doctoral thesis, are subject to the same system as others, i.e. a supervisor and doctoral committee shall be appointed, see arts. 11 and 14. The doctoral committee evaluates the experience, research work and writings of the doctoral candidate for doctoral studies, and provides guidance on the completion of research work, writing-up and completion of the thesis.î

    The candidate is thus given the opportunity to work in a focused and disciplined manner with the support of a supervisor and a doctoral committee. The time needed for completion of a thesis is usually one to two years.

    The PhD programme at the Faculty of Medicine was started in 1995. The current number of enrolled PhD students is 55, of these 11 have a medical degree. The total number of PhD graduates is 26. Four MDís have completed PhDís with the described method.

    Offering this opportunity to build a PhD on already obtained research experience has allowed young MDís to add the academic dimension to their work thus enhancing their career prospects.

    Cooperation between clinical and basic medical disciplines in PhD programmes

    importance of the cooperation between clinical and basic medical disciplines in PhD programmes

    Kamil Javorka

    Comenius University, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Martin, Slovakia

    Postgraduate study in Medicine (PhD and/or specialization) is conditio sine qua non for research, education and clinical work. In Slovakia, PhD programmes in Medicine are provided in all Slovak Medical Faculties and in some Departments of the Slovak Academy of Sciences supervised in this field by Medical Faculties.

    Opinions on the PhD study in clinical medicine were/are various and extreme in some cases. On the one side, there is a conviction that clinics cannot provide PhD study of high quality, and they are designated only for specialization study. On the opposite side, there is an opinion that clinics themselves, separately, can provide postgraduate PhD programmes. It seems, the truth is somewhere on the scale between the extremes.

    What are experiences with PhD programmes in clinical fields at Jessenius Medical Faculty in Martin, Slovakia? In the previous period, until the year 2000, the basic medical (theoretical) and preclinical disciplines were priorities for the PhD study. Recently, the postgraduate study has became open in the clinical disciplines – accredited after fulfilling criteria of the Ministery of Education. The interest of the graduates having title MD in continuation in PhD study went up greatly by this act.

    In the academic year 2006/2007, at Jessenius Medical Faculty (in the branch General Medicine ñ study in Slovak language) have studied 706 pregraduate and 173 postgraduates students (approx. 25%). From 173 PhD students, 120 of them were in the part-time study and 53 in the full-time study. In PhD clinical programmes were engaged up 152 (88%) PhD students; 21 (12%) students were in theoretical and preclinical departments of the Faculty.

    From 173 PhD students, 87 % were graduates having MD title. The rest graduated in other faculties (Faculties of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, etc.).

    These data reflect enormous interest of graduates with MD title to study (and to work) in university clinics. Only small part of the PhD students at Medical Faculty having MD title is primarily engaged in basic research. However, it does not mean that dissertation themes in clinical medicine are studied only in clinics. Almost every theme has its own overlapping part with basic medical disciplines studied in the theoretical and preclinical departments. More than 50% of the PhD students have two tutors (clinical and Ñtheoreticalì), and vice versa, themes in basic and preclinical medical fields have ussually a tutor ñ specialist in the relevant clinical field.

    It seems, the best way for PhD programmes in clinical medicine leads through close collaboration between clinical and theoretical/preclinical departments and vice versa, the themes in basic medical field have benefit from clinics. The benefit if this collaboration is indeed numerous and multilateral ñ for faculties, departments, hospitals, clinics, research, education, graduates, clinical practice and patients.

    Doctoral studies in medical specialities at University of Latvia

    Experience of doctoral studies in medical specialities at University of Latvia

    Prof. Immanuels Taivans, PhD Gunta Strazda

    University of Latvia Faculty of Medicine

    Medical faculty at University of Latvia was re-established in 1998. All undergraduate and postgraduate educational programs were created de novo. PhD program was elaborated and certified in 2002. PhD programs in exact sciences, including medicine, in main Universities of Latvia has got a support from European Social Funds. It includes stipend, travel grants and support for scientific research. PhD students that have chosen basic medicine can enter the doctoral program just after the graduate from the university. Persons who have chosen clinical medicine have to undergo clinical specialisation (residency) and after the graduation from it they can enter the doctoral program. To our mind this regulation should be changed for some combined educational program that could allow performing in parallel PhD research. This program, besides clinical practice should include the course of statistics and how to perform scientific research. Student must manage one or several laboratory methods and carry out investigations on his/her patients using these methods. To realize it there should be organized access to laboratory equipment for doctoral students There would be useful to organize international educational seminars with hand on opportunities to practise particular laboratory methods as well as courses of general research regulations and statistics. Unique PhD programs in medicine should be elaborated and implemented in all the universities of EU.

    Doctoral study in biomedicine and health sciences in Osijek

    Structure Of Postgraduate Doctoral Study In Biomedicine And Health Sciences In University Of Josip Juraj Strossmayer Osijek, Croatia

    Barbić J, Tvrdeić A., Drenjančević- Perić I., Včev A and Filaković P

    Faculty of medicine Osijek University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer Osijek, Osijek, Croatia

    The study programme of the Postgraduate Doctoral Study in Biomedicine and Health Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine in Osijek is based on and consists of organized tuition (core courses and elective courses) , direct individual scientific and research work of the doctoral candidate on the doctor’s thesis together with the mentor, and in extracurricular, scientific activities. In the application of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) in the Postgraduate Doctoral Study in Biomedicine and Health Sciences, in compliance with the University Act and Statute, we commence from the agreement, recognized in the entire European area of higher education, that the work necessary to finish one academic year of study accounts for 60 ECTS points. Accordingly, to finish the study and all required obligations in 3 years minimum, every student acquires at least 180 ECTS points in total. The total of 180 ECTS points is divided in the following way:

    organized tuition accounts for 45 ECTS points, i.e. º of the total number of points; individual scientific and research work of the doctoral candidate on his/her doctor’s thesis verified through his/her scientific and research publications related to the doctor’s thesis accounts for 90 ECTS points, i.e. ? of the total number of points; extracurricular, scientific activity accounts for 45 ECTS points, i.e. º of the total number of points.

    Optimally, the doctoral degree can be obtained in four years of full-time study. However, it is still possible to complete the doctoral degree on a part-time basis-seven years.

    eLearning System for Research

    Development Of Doctoral Schools In Medicine And Life Sciences Through An Elearning System For Research

    Badea IR, Buzoianu AD, Mircea PA, Bojita MT

    ìIuliu Hatieganuî University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Romania

    The development of doctoral schools and, in direct connection thereto, the development of human resources by training young graduates as scientific researchers is one of the key objectives of the strategy that universities need to pursue in order to become the main players in the research, development and innovation process.

    The general objective of the project consists in developing an effective eLearning computer system aimed at specfic training for scientific research within the Romanian doctoral schools by means of state-of-the-art, transparent and advanced training.

    Specific objectives: upgrading the education system in the doctoral schools by harmonizing curricula and promoting student-centered activities; developing a flexible curricula providing the general methodological knowledge for research applicable in every studentís own field of research in order to develop individual research skills; improving the quality of research conducted by doctoral students by developing high training standards in the field of research throughout doctoral studies, standardizing an objective system for doctoral studentsí appraisal; developing a single effective system to support doctoral students showing researcher quality; setting up a virtual consortium of doctoral schools – doctoral campus ñ through the education portal http://www.edoctoral_campus.ro/.

    The research activity is extremely complex as it involves cooperation between research teams from 5 distinct institutions: “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMPh), Cluj-Napoca, UMPh Craiova, UMPh T‚rgu-Mures, “Babes-Bolyai” University Cluj-Napoca, SIVECO SA. All partners shall contribute to developing the advanced eLearning computer system of the single communication center of the Romanian doctoral schools, called Doctoral campus.

    A unique system in Romania, the advanced eLearning computer system shall be originally applicable in the doctoral schools within the universities of medicine and pharmacy. In time it could

    expand to other Romanian doctoral schools which shall enable curriculum harmonization and sharing experience, coordinating activities and increasing effectiveness for the entire tertiary education system in Romania.

    Evolution of PhD degree at Helsinki Medical Faculty

    Seppo Meri

    Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki

     

    The thesis work at the Medical Faculty, University of Helsinki can be completed if you are Licentiate in Medicine or Dentistry, or a Master of Sciences. Often the work, however, isis initiated before these degrees. To start the work you need to become registered at the Faculty and present a study and research plan. The work usually involves 4-6 years of full-time active research, although the tendency now is to reduce the time needed for the PhD work. In particular, the graduate schools, while providing salary usually for 4 years, have had an influence to this direction.

    The theoretical studies include 40 credits (European Credit Transfer System or ECTS credits, 1 ECTS = 25-30 hours of work; 1 year = 60 ECTS) for MDs and 80 credits for M. Sc. students. Of these 10 credits are related togeneral subjects like scientific methods, animal experimentation, ethics, epidemiology, statistics, bioinformatics, scientific writing and publishing. 30 credits are obtained from courses, congresses and studies more directly related to the thesis work. Finally, the thesis defense occurs in public against an opponent.

    The PhD thesis in Helsinki has traditionally had both qualitative and quantitative requirements:

    1) 3-5 scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals

    2) Uniform theme + a joint summary that reviews the literature, sums up the results and critically discusses the conclusions and limitations of the studies

    3) Monographs possible in Public Health, Insurance Medicine or Psychiatry

    4) Cannot include more than 50% of papers that have been (or will be) used in somebody else’s thesis

    5) First authorship usually required in > 50% of papers (own independent contribution needs to be documented)

    Examples of Finnish PhD theses are available at http://ethesis.helsinki.fi/

    Potential problems that have arisen in our system

    1) How to guarantee quality and not to emphasize quantity?

    To solve this the Faculty has decided to abandon specific strict quantitative requirements. With exceptionally high quality publications less published papers are now required. To improve the research quality during the process itself it is now recommended that each PhD student should have a follow-up team composed of two knowledgeable, and preferably independent, scientists that meet at least once a year with the student.

    2) How to preserve academic freedom and encourage innovativeness? The training should not be too much ìschool-likeî. A challenge is to preserve liberty in academic work, scholarly attitudes and love to science itself.

    Finnish National Graduate School of Clinical Investigation

    Professor Seija-Liisa Karvonen, MD, PhD Skin and Allergy Hospital, Meilahdentie 2, 00250 HELSINKI PL 160, 00029 HUCH, Finland,

    The National Graduate School of Clinical Investigation (CLIGS) is aimed at training professional clinical scientists. The students are affiliated with research groups located at all five universities in Finland.

    Research topics are related to a wide spectrum of questions related to clinical sciences. The training results in a Doctor of Medical Sciences or Dental Sciences -degree and facilitates the integration of research training and clinical specialization. Accordingly the final outcome will be a clinical specialist with a doctoral degree after training for 6-9 years.

    At least 20 study weeks of theoretical training are required for a doctoral degree. The training is comprised of modules. The student selects together with her/his supervisor those courses that optimally fit into her/his research profile. Part of the training is common for all students (such as biometrics, legal and administrative aspects of clinical research, and function of and registries within the health care system), whereas part of the training targets more specific topics including the planning and implementation of randomized clinical trials, methods for the assessment of quality of life, health economics, etc. The modules make the training more flexible. Some of the modules may be common for CLIGS students and students from other graduate schools, e.g. courses in molecular genetics and laboratory methods may well attract also students from biomedical graduate schools. Similarly common courses may be organized in collaboration with the graduate schools in clinical pharmacology and epidemiology. Graduate School organizes practical training courses, seminar series, and scientific symposia for the students. In addition, together with the other Graduate Schools it offers various types of adjunct studies. These form the curriculum the students are required to take in addition to their own research in order to defend their thesis and complete their doctoral studies.

    The students prepare annual progress report that is evaluated by the director and the coordinator. In addition, CLIGS recommends that each student has a follow-up group that convenes at least once a year. The follow-up group includes the student, the supervisor(s), and at least two senior members outside the research group.

    CLIGS is funded by Ministry of Education and Academy of Finland.

    Hannover Biomedical Research School

    Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS)

    Prof. Dr. Reinhold E. Schmidt, Clinical Immunology, Dean

    Dr. Susanne Kruse, scientific coordinator

    In the year 2000, Hannover Medical School (MHH), one of Germanyís leading medical schools, was the first to establish a structured and accredited interdisciplinary PhD program. Just three years later, MHH founded the Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS) as an ìumbrella organizationî for existing and future structured postgraduate programs. HBRS now comprises two international PhD programs and four DFG-funded research training groups, two of which are joint European programs. More recently, a structured doctoral program for medical students (StrucMed) has also been successfully established (final degree Dr.med.). Already within this short period of time HBRS has managed to become a highly attractive graduate school for (MD)/PhD training with an outstanding international reputation. It co-ordinates teaching and ensures excellent training in high quality research laboratories, furthers motivation, and actively encourages integration and interdisciplinary exchange between students and young researchers from both medical and life science backgrounds. HBRS also fosters educational and scientific interaction between university and non-university institutions; among these are the University of Veterinary Medicine, the Helmholtz Institute (HZI), and the Fraunhofer Institute (ITEM). It provides a framework for international guest lectures, summer schools and for the training of talented medical and life science students for a future career in science. In providing optimal conditions for female PhD students, HBRS aims to motivate, support and convince female academics to pursue a career in science.

    The international MD/PhD program started in 2000. The MD/PhD Program offers an interdisciplinary project-orientated postgraduate education for medical students as well as students from life sciences. Students learn how to carry out thorough and independent scientific work while doing their own 3-year research project, and, thus, earn a further qualification for the performance of tasks in research and teaching. The program is designed for German as well as international PhD students. The whole program is in English. Besides the individual research projects, it comprises of obligatory seminars and tutorials, which deal with basics and methods in Biology and Medicine (in the first year), and then on more applied aspects through seminars on current research projects in the MHH (in the second year). Furthermore, students attend a large catalogue of project-orientated and interdisciplinary seminars/courses, including guest seminars, scientific colloquia, practical method courses, and seminars in ìEthicsî, ìAnimal experimentsî, ìScientific Writingî, ìPresentation techniquesî etc.

    The main focus lies on the scientific research project in ìMolecular Medicineì, carried out in one of the departments of the MHH, especially in one of main research fields: Immunology; Infection; Oncology and Differentiation; Genetics and Cell Biology. Numerous cooperations with outstanding scientists and institutes guarantee the scientific excellence of the program. Short-term stays abroad within the scope of cooperations and projects are desired as well as the invitation of guest lecturers/scientists.

    The medical students in this program receive more in-depth education in life sciences, especially in molecular medicine, whereas the students from natural sciences receive an education in the basics of medicine. The MD/PhD program is highly attractive for foreign students and, moreover, supports the international experience of the Germans. On December 9th, 2003 the program has been accredited according to European standards (ZEvA, Hannover; ECTS) as the first PhD program in Germany.

    Since October 2003, the MD/PhD program is one of the key programs of the Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS).

    Medical students usually start their career during their undergraduate study to to a short Dr.med. thesis. Since 2005, MHH has established a structured doctoral program for a selected number of students. The aim was to find an alternative for ìevening or weekend researchî. Students pause their normal studies for 9-months to do molecular lab work in one of the departments of MHH or partner institutes. They have a curriculum of about 100 hours (serminars, journal clubs, soft skills). Students are getting paid as student tutors in order to compensate slightly prolonged studies and study fees. Sucessful students receive Dr.med. degree + a certificate.

    After their final degree (Staatsexamen), medical students are able to enter one of the PhD programs, where they work full-time in research for 3 years.

    MHH is trying to separate clinical from research work in careers of medical doctors.

    History, Mission and Activities of ORPHEUS

    History, mission and activities of ORPHEUS

    Zdravko Lacković

    ORPHEUS President

    University of Zagreb School of Medicine

    Croatia

    The Bologna process represents the biggest common project in the reform of the educational system in the history of Europe. In this process, doctorate or PhD is seen as a third cycle of high education. However, ìthe third cycle of high educationî does not mean that PhD is no more what it used to be in most developed countries – and that is research.

    In European Medicine and Health Sciences, in the past and even today, there are countries where traditionally PhD does not exist, especially considering clinical medicine. There are countries where you can find even two doctorates (former Warshaw Pact counters), one after another. There are countries where you can earn a PhD mainly by advanced learning. There are countries where you can earn a PhD only by internationally recognized results of research. Thus, when we mention a PhD in medicine today, people will have different concepts in mind in different countries, and in some countries they will probably not know what to think at all.

    Worst of all is that we do not have information what is going on in the neighbourhood. According to one survey only a small percentage of European universities have web pages written in a language understandable to students from other countries. Imagine US science if a young person from Denver would not be able to find and understand information about different study programmes in Los Angeles. This is how Europe looks like today.

    Organizing European conferences

    This need for better understanding, for better-defined PhD programmes and homogenous criteria in many European countries, as well as the willingness in many countries to break up with the tradition of a small autarkic scientific community, lead to the First European Conference on Harmonisation of PhD Programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences held at the University of Zagreb ñ Medical School, where we tried to find out whether the consensus is possible to achieve. Participants coming from 25 universities and from 16 European countries adopted unanimously Declaration of European conference on harmonisation of PhD programmes in biomedicine and health sciences (ëZagreb declarationí). This was basically the first international agreement on what a research doctorate is, what a PhD programme should include, etc. We are proud to say that this conference was held before the Bologna seminar in Salzburg, where the well-known ten principles on PhD programmes were adopted. It is not surprising that the academic community in one field and a wider community of European universities shared the same ideas.

    Since it was issued in 2004 until today, ëZagreb declaration íhas been supported by representatives of more than 50 European medical schools. Certain conclusions of the ëZagreb declaration íappear self-explanatory, however, at many universities in scientifically less developed European countries they might appear almost ìrevolutionaryî.

    For the first time there was an international agreement on what the PhD and PhD programmes in medicine are. It should not be the beginning of scientific work, neither its ìcrownî. It should be the proof of capability ìto carry out independent, original and scientifically significant researchî and capability to ìcritically evaluate work done by othersî.

    On the international level it was said for the first time that for the procedure of dissertation assessment the same criteria pertain as for the peer review of any scientific paper, project, position, etc. Understandably, to many small and autarkic scientific communities the achievement of such an aim would not be easily accomplished.

    The published papers must be the most important proof of the successfulness of dissertation and its constitutive part ñthis is the logical conclusion of the conference by which a model traditionally present in the Scandinavian countries, already applied in Hungary and in the numerous other countries, is recommended. Recommendations about the number of papers are very often misinterpreted ñ they should be considered just as a minimal requirement, while quantification is almost necessary in some countries where it is very difficult to organize independent and competent peer review system of evaluation. Otherwise such simplified quantification may be seen as a misuse of scientometrics. Common sense suggests to us that in a small or medium scientific community, or in a contact with a young scientist we would ask, among other things: what did you publish?, how many papers?, etc. In contrast to that, when we are speaking at leading world universities or when we speak to ìNobel sizeî scientist we would ask: what did you discover?, how important it is? There is a long way for all of us to go.

    The Second European Conference on Harmonisation of PhD programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences was held in Zagreb on 22 ñ 24 This Conference was attended by high-level representatives from the medical faculties of 33 universities from 21 countries, as well as the representatives of four major pan-European bodies (AMSE, AMEE, ASPHER and EMA) concerned with issues relating to academic biomedicine and health sciences. The Conference was made possible by the grant from The National Foundation for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Croatia. The activities after that i.e. registration and start up of ORPEHUS were supported by Croatian Ministry of science, education and sport.

    The Conference resulted in ‘Guidelines for Organisation of PhD Programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences’.

    In the Guidelines participants of the Second Conference have agreed on the basic principles of admission criteria, criteria for advisers, criteria for institution/university, basic principles of the Structure and Organization of PhD Programme, and finally PhD candidates were defined not as a classical students, primarily recipients of the knowledge which has been discovered and synthesized by others, but are also active contributors to the generation of new knowledge. Their status should be established accordingly.

    Long-term creation of ORPHEUS

    Joint conclusion of the Second 2005 Conference was that in medicine and healthcare an umbrella organization is needed, which will help us to harmonise and improve PhD programmes, promote mobility and cooperation. And thus, the idea of ORPHEUS (Organisation for PhD education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System) was born. Even the Executive Committee was elected. However it soon turned out that this could be only initiative committee. However, in a moral sense, universities and associations present at Second 2005 Conferences are founders of ORPHEUS.

    At Conference 2005 the initiative was launched by president of EMA, to make a proposal for ERASMUS project. It looked like very good idea to start to exist as a project, to strengthen connections among us and to get some financial support for further activities. That initiative was enthusiastically accepted by all participant and we wrote immediately a draft of the project named ORPHEUS. Unfortunately, due to reasons we do not know the project was not accepted and the idea that ORPHEUS could start its activity as a project was not realized.

    The process of registration of an institution is complex one. Members of Initiative Committee spent months investigating all the possibilities, and rules in different countries. There is no EU registration. Legislative in most countries does not recognize international organization. Even if they do ñ the association must be registered in line with national regulations. Thus, there was no real choice but national registration according to the law of a particular country. Since we had some money and a strong support from Croatian authorities it was suggested to Initiative Committee to register in Croatia. According to Croatian Law only members who are present at Constitutive Assembly can make an organization. At Constitutive Assembly they must accept/create Statutes and other documents, etc. As the consequence, Constitutive Assembly was held by a small number of people, members of Initiative Committee, and their associations and universities who met in Dubrovnik, November 2006 and worked two days on Statutes and other documents. Government office in Croatia issued the registration permit and ORPHEUS started to exist as a legal entity in February 2007.

    Is there a future for ORPHEUS?

    Of all the recommendations agreed in Zagreb 2005 it is difficult to extract only some. However, some of them are long-term oriented and will shape ORPHEUS activity probably for a long time:

    • It is recommended that national and international authorities create specific funds which would specifically facilitate the mobility and co-operation in the PhD programmes.
    • It is recommended that all European medical schools and schools of public health create a pan-European network to enable the mobility of the candidates.
    • Joint advisership should be encouraged. Possible local regulations, which restrict scientists from other countries to be acknowledged as advisers, should be abandoned.

    In line with the need for international cooperation, all universities should allow the presentation of the PhD thesis not only in national languages but also in other European languages understood by most participants in such public presentations.

    How to achieve such goals if there is almost extreme inequality in scientific development among European countries? In Croatia they say that the chain is as strong as the weakest link. We need a lot of wisdom to make a strong chain from such an unequal material. My personal belief is that no country can have good science if is not competitive. Simply, no country is rich enough to support the wishes of all the people working in science. In its core, science is like sports or arts-based on rare talent, competition and hard work. For example, best football players come from countries both rich and poor. Let us help the best putative ëplayersí in science to develop and grow independently of their origin or politics.

    ëUnquestionably, there has been no one like Einstein in physics in this century, but one has to reflect on how easily Einstein might have been lost Ö (Kinnon, 1981)

    Ideally the doors of all European universities i.e. laboratories, research facilities, and advisers should be open to all young scientists as much as possibleÖ

    It seems like a long way is ahead of usÖ

    Literature

    C.M. Kinnon, (Ed.) The Impact of Modern Scientific Ideas on Society Reidel/UNESCO, 1981, p.29.

    International PhD in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases

    Difficulties encountered in setting up an international PhD in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases

    Tanya Szendeffy and Paolo Pozzilli, Dept of Endocrinology and Diabetes, University Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy

     

    Introduction

    Despite the gradual implementation and fine tuning of Bologna Process goals, Europe still has a long way to go in homogenising course design, entry requirements and specific objectives for European PhDs with a view to creating the European Higher Education Area.

    Legislation and norms in all countries result from the specific customs and habits of the country itself, so although PhDs all over the world have more or less the same aim: to enable individuals to carry out independent, original and scientifically significant research (see definition given in Article 1 of the Zagreb Declaration), countries all have their own time-honoured systems so that entry into a PhD course, its content and importance attached to it, vary considerably.

    In Italy for example the PhD was only set up in 1980 and only in recent years has it been a required title to compete for the position of ëRicercatoreí (Assistant Professor or Researcher), the first step in an academic career. In England where the PhD has been an integral part of the academic ladder since 1917, the PhD title has been a requisite in pursuing a career in academia as well as a ticket to higher salaries.

    The Ministry of Education in Italy has taken many steps to bring the Italian education system into line with Bologna process objectives, more specifically the Bergen Declaration, and has implemented the three cycles of higher education. It has also invested heavily in the internationalisation aspect of the Bologna process by means of financing different student and teacher mobility programmes.

    In 2003 University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome (UCBM) and Barts and the London, Queen Maryís School of Medicine and Dentistry (QMUL) set up an international PhD programme in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases. In 2006, the PhD was extended to include Autonomous University Barcelona (UAB), and the University of Ulm (UU).

    First steps involved in the set-up of the international PhD course

    A meeting was held in January 2006 to draft the inter-university agreement which outlines the main points in the set up and running of the PhD programme and now ratified by all universities involved, has become the official PhD document.

    On preparing this agreement it became evident that it could not be drafted as quickly as we had hoped as the practices in each county in establishing a PhD were substantially different. Flexibility was therefore needed to accommodate the different needs of the various participants. It took several drafts to fine-tune the the document to all specific needs but it is now complete and the programme running itself. The main features of this international PhD programme are underlined below.

    Duration

    One of the key differences is the duration of a PhD; 2.5 years in Germany, a minimum of 3 years in Italy and the UK, and a minimum of 4 years in Spain. UAB, following Bologna recommendations, has adapted to the 3 cycles of the education system and the PhD has evolved into a two phase programme: the first phase lasts two years and ends with the degree of Master and the diploma of Introduction to Research; the second phase can only be initiated after obtaining the Diploma of introduction to Research. This two-phase structure is similar to the way the MPhil can be followed by the PhD in the United Kingdom.

    Admission

    The difference in admission procedures caused no hindrance to the implementation of the European doctorate, as each country chose its own candidates. However, the different procedures are nonetheless interesting to compare. In Italy students are admitted to the doctoral program via formal public open competitions offered by the individual universities which set their own standards for admission and are presided over by a commission nominated by the university. In the other three countries regulations are less formal and the candidate is chosen either simply by the supervisors involved in the research project, or also by these and other faculty or university members. There is an interview rather than formal exam.

    Formal education

    The different countries have a different emphasis on the taught elements of the PhD. As we have mentioned, in Spain a Master has been introduced which focuses on learning how to carry out research. In the UK there are an increasing number of guidelines from Higher Education Funding Council for England and the UK Government Research Councils on the subject; at least 6 weeks of formal training over the course of a PhD programme are obligatory. ëSoft coreí courses are often offered on i.e career orientation or curriculum writing. In Italy, there are no formal taught elements as a rule, unless the individual university takes the initiative to introduce them.

    Funding

    Each university has enrolled different numbers of PhD students based on funding availability. Stipends and university fees vary dramatically between one country and another. In Italy PhD students receive a stipend of E 825 per month, in Germany E 1000, in Spain a minimum of E 1000, and in the UK between E 1500 and 2000 per month. In Italy the stipend is increased by 50% if the student studies abroad. For this PhD programme, each university was responsible for paying the stipend for their own students and the bench fees for the host students (except for QMUL who only received students but did not send any abroad).

    Given that staff members would need to meet on more than one occasion to guarantee the successful running of the PhD, finances needed to be raised to cover mobility costs. Traditionally universities themselves would provide funds, however UCBM obtained funds from the Italian Ministry of Education to cover both student and professor mobility, which has greatly reduced any potential differences between the different institutionsí financing.

    Student mobility and supervisors

    Given that the PhD lasts for different lengths of time from country to country, the time the students spend at the host university/ies varies accordingly (from 6 months to 18 months in one or more host institutions). Italy, Spain and Germany agreed on a reciprocal exchange programme however Queen Mary only agreed to host students from abroad providing they had all costs covered, from stipend to consumables, this institution was reluctant to enrol its own students. This scenario confirms what has been reported in EU publications on the very low levels of mobility from the UK to other European countries.

    Research Progress – Conferral of the PhD title

    In addition to fulfilling the requirements for carrying out a PhD programme in the home institution, if this is not already part of the usual procedure, the student will write up the status of the research project together with a summary in the language of the host institution or in English (to be agreed by universities involved) once a year. The discussion of the thesis is done in presence of the supervisors from the university/ies in which the student carried out his/her research. The title of PhD is awarded by the home university according to their rules and regulations as well as those ruling the international PhD.


    Call procedures for the joint international PhD

    The publication of calls for phD candidatures follow various procedures. In Spain and in Italy PhD programmes are published in the ëGazzetta Ufficialeí, the official government journal which announces public posts. In the UK and in Germany PhD posts are announced through the university web-sites or scientific journals in the respective field. These procedures were followed for this PhD programme.

    Current status of programme (2007)

    The start of this PhD programme has been staggered with students beginning in different academic years and at different times. The first two students to be enrolled were two Italian students enrolled at UCBM who spent the first two academic years of their PhD at QMUL and the final year in UCBM. The first carried out her research in the immunology of Type 1 diabetes and the second in factors involved in beta cell regeneration in patients with Type 1 diabetes. For the second cycle the two further students enrolled at UCBM are carrying out their research at Barts and the London. The first is concentrating again on factors which stimulate beta cell regeneration and the second on isolating stem cells from bone marrow followed by their administration into recipients to restore beta cell function.

    Ulm university has not enrolled any students in the PhD as of yet but is expected to send one student to QMUL next year. A project has been presented to the EUís 7th Framework Project which includes funding for PhD positions.

    UCBM will be able to host a PhD student from UAB as of January 2008, following the universityís move to a new site with larger research facilities.

    In conclusion, this PhD programme has been set-up in an embryonic stage of the Bologna Process. It includes elements of the process that have already been implemented such as ëtaughtí element in the Spanish and English programmes. However, we have introduced common evaluation systems to render the quality of the research projects as homogenous as possible awaiting future guidelines which are agreed upon by all EU countries.

    PhD Education of Clinicians at Karolinska University

    PhD education of clinicians at Karolinska University Hospital, a case for combined clinical training and research

    Per M. Hellstrm, M.D. Ph.D.

    Member of board for Postgraduate Education

    Karolinska Institutet

    SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden

    The Karolinska University Hospital today comprises the Huddinge and Solna sites, with the main responsibility for hospital medical care in Stockholm County. Each hospital has about 800 beds and in addition numerous out-patient wards. The staff holds 800-1000 medical doctors at each site covering a host of medical specialities which form the basis of advanced medical care in an academic setting. The basis of the hospital is to combine education, research and medical care at equal proportions in order to fulfill the goal of a unique athmosphere for development and future.

    One of the main tasks of the Karolinska University Hospital is to recruit young and able doctors who are capable of carrying this goal forward and continue to work in an academic setting. In order to enable a clinical carreer combined with research an agreement between Karolinska Institutet and the Hospital has been reached with the aim of creating attractive work positions covering both clinical and research time. Thus, research-internship positions have been constructed as an 18-month period of clinical work combined with a 12-month period of research activity. Karolinska Institutet and the Hospital contribute equally to the basic economy for these positions. It is required that the applicants should have their basic research activity at Karolinska Institutet, either as PhD-student or postdoc, with support from the head of their ìhomeî department. The aim of the research-internship is to enable scientific work alongside with clinical training.

    Each year 12 positions are allotted starting in February and September. These positions are widely advertised and attract both young researchers in the beginning of their research education, as well as postdocs who intend to build up their clinical knowledge and future contacts for cooperative work with colleagues in the clinic. Retrospectively, these combined research-internship position have been of great value for both Karolinska Institutet and the Hospital. Young doctors, recently graduated or still within their PhD-education, have had the possibility to bridge their knowledge from the lab bench to the clinical setting which has opened up new possibilities among clinically active colleagues. This has also led to a continuous stream of talented fellows that remain in the clinical work, many of which evolving into a prosperous career with strategic, administrative as well as clinical responsibilities.

    In the future, there are now plans to create a research-fellowship programme, supposed to stimulate young researchers to continue their research activities to become a daily routine in the clinical setting.

    Phd Program Kaunas University Of Medicine

    PHD PROGRAM IN MEDICINE AND PROFESSIONAL CAREER OF THE GRADUATES IN KAUNAS UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE

    Professor Irena Miseviciene*, MD, PhD, Irena Juraleviciene*, Ingrida Uloziene*, MD, Rugile Ivanauskiene

    Kaunas University of Medicine, *Institute for Biomedical Research, Kaunas, Lithuania

    Research training and research career development are both becoming increasingly important in the debate on strengthening Europeís research capacity [1]. PhD program is an essential component of the scientistís training, as it offers challenges and rewards very different from those of undergraduate study. The Kaunas University of Medicine (KUM) in Lithuania offers a choice of 7 PhD programs related to many aspects of biomedical sciences, medicine is among them [2].

    The aim of the study was to evaluate the general tendencies of the enrollment to the PhD program of medicine for the period of the last five years (2002-2006) as well as the completion effectiveness rate of the medical PhD students, and to evaluate the aspects of the professional career, expectations, motivations related to the PhD studies in medicine.

    Material and methods. The statistical data of the Research Affairs Department of KUM were analyzed for the evaluation of the completion effectiveness rate for the period 2002-2006. The survey of doctoral graduates (graduated in 2004-2006) in medicine was carried out and evaluated. There were 66 PhDs in medicine questioned, their answers were evaluated. Total number of scientific publications was calculated from the summaries of the dissertations defended during the period 2004-2006.

    Results. Every year total number of about 50-60 students enroll into the PhD studies in KUM in different programs. According to our statistics, about 50 % of PhD students choose program of medicine every year. The completion effectiveness rate of doctoral studies in KUM is more than 80%, it is much higher in the program of medicine alone – 93, 75% (table 1).

    Table 1. Completion effectiveness rate of the PhD students in KUM (who started in 2002 and were scheduled to graduate in 2006).

    Number of PhD students

    Enrolled in the year 2002

    48

    Doctoral degree awarded in 2006

    40

    Had not completed the research till 2006 (maternity leave, sickness and other reasons for temporal break of the studies)

    8

    Completion effectiveness rate ( percentage) of total PhD studentsí number

    83,34%

    Completion effectiveness rate (percentage) of medical PhD students

    93,75%

    We have evaluated the numbers of the thesis in different medical research areas and found out that during the period 2004-2006 the clinical research based thesis were defended about 3 times more frequently than the fundamental research ones (table 2). It should be admitted that the dominance of the clinical research works could be influenced by insufficient budget financing for fundamental sciences.

    Table 2. Comparison of the numbers of the clinical research and fundamental research thesis defended during the period of 2004-2006 in the PhD program of Medicine in KUM.

    2004

    2005

    2006

    Average

    Clinical research (percentage)

    90

    77

    70

    79

    Fundamental research (percentage)

    10

    23

    30

    21

    It became evident that the clinical research in cardiology, oncology, endocrinology, surgery, and gastroenterology dominated among the defended thesis during the last 3 years (table 3), and this fact corresponds to the European Commissionís healthcare technologies roadmap [3].

    Table 3. Comparison of the clinical research areas of the thesis defended during the period of 2004-2006 in the PhD program of medicine in KUM (number of the thesis per year).

    2004

    2005

    2006

    Total

    Percentage

    Cardiology

    6

    4

    7

    17

    25

    Endocrinology

    1

    5

    1

    7

    10,5

    Oncology

    3

    2

    3

    8

    12

    Gastroenterology

    2

    4

    1

    7

    10,5

    Neurology

    2

    1

    3

    6

    8

    Gynecology and obstetrics

    2

    2

    4

    6

    Surgery

    2

    8

    10

    15

    Other

    6

    1

    2

    9

    13

    Total

    22

    27

    19

    68

    100

    According to Lithuanian regulations, a doctoral student has to publish at least two peer-reviewed research articles with the main results of his/her research work. According to the statistics of the Research Affairs Department, most of the students publish more than required minimum. The average number of scientific publications per PhD student during the 4 years of studies is 4, 84 (about 50% of papers are being published in Lithuanian journal Medicina, which is referrer in Medline database) , but only 0.31 papers per 1 medical PhD were published in ISI journals. Low productivity in ISI journals might be associated with the underdeveloped fundamental research basis and insufficient budget financing for it. These number show that our doctoral students exceed the minimum Doctoral Regulation requirement of 2 publications more than twice [4]. There is no statistically significant difference in the number of published scientific papers between doctoral programs in medicine and public health.

    According to our statistics 82, 6 % of PhDs that have completed their studies and successfully have been awarded with doctoral degree (completed studies in 2004-2006) were employed in KUM and its institutions as educators and researchers. The motivation for seeking the academic and research career was investigated using specially designed questionnaire. We found out that more than half of respondents have chosen doctoral studies due to the following reasons: great desire to continue education process (60, 8 %), to have occupation connected with academic process and research (62, 7%) and believing in better career opportunities (87, 8 %). We found that doctoral students evaluated the benefits of their PhD studies as follows: obtained lot of professional knowledge (70, 2 %), got experience in research work (96 %). About half of them (46 %) got the possibility to acquire knowledge abroad, and little bit more than half (58, 1 %) got transferable skills during the studies. The expectations of the students were fulfilled in 64, 9 % cases and more than half of students would choose the PhD studies again (59, 5 %). When questioned concerning what benefits the students had gotten after obtaining the PhD degree the answers were as follows: they got more self-confidence (70, 3 %), possibility for self-expression (59, 3 %) and better career (66, 2 %). The statistics showed that those PhDs who had chosen the PhD program willing mainly to make research claimed the possibility for self expression as the main benefit of the studies (r=0,341, p<0,05); those who did PhD due to expected better professional career felt they had got it after the graduation (r=0,393, p<0,05). Those of PhDs who had chosen PhD studies as prestige, felt more self-confidence after obtaining the degree (r=0,512, p<0, 05) and got better paid positions (r=0,345, p<0, 05).

    Conclusions

    We expect that such ratings and assessments as written above prove the KUM strength in preparation of the highest qualification specialists in medical field as well as in developing of research according to European standards, looking ahead to the needs of the community. The doctoral program in medicine in KUM ensures the development of scientific progress in medical field, availability of well prepared motivated human resources, which are necessary for educational and research processes in the University and development of knowledge society.

    The facts regarding the dominance of clinical research compared to fundamental one and the great number of defended thesis in the clinical research area prove that clinical medicine is really meaningful. The prevailing topics of the thesis and areas of clinical medicine correspond to the EC trends for the following two decades [3].

    References:

    1. BerlinCommunique (September 2003). www.bobgna-bergen2005.no/Docs/00-main_doc/030919Berlin_Communique.PDF.
    2. I.Miseviciene, I.Uloziene, PhD programmes in biomedicine and health sciences in Kaunas Unievrsity of Medicine,Lithuania, Proceedings of the Second European Conference on harmonization PhD programmes in Biomedical and Health Sciences, University of Zagreb, Medical School, Zagreb, Croatia, April 22-24th, 2005:22-26.
    3. A.Braun, Healthcare : key technologies forEurope, http://cordis.europa.eu/foresight/kte_expert_group_2005.htmftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/puf
    4. Regulations for Doctoral Studies in Kaunas University of Medicine (in Lithuanian) http://www.kmu.lt/senas/senatas/doktoranturos.htm
    Phd Programme In A Small Scientific Community

    Is it possible to make a good PhD programme in a small scientific community: Croatian experience after previous two PhD conferences

    NATIONAL REPORT

    Nada Cikes1, Miljenko Kapovic2, Stipan Jankovic3, Pavo Filakovic4, Zdravko Lackovic5

    1 Dean, University of Zagreb School of Medicine,

    2 Dean, University of Rijeka School of Medicine,

    3 Dean, University of Split School of Medicine,

    4 Dean, University of Osijek School of Medicine,

    5 President, ORPHEUS

    Introduction

    Croatia has four Medical Schools as parts of four universities: in Zagreb, Rijeka, Split and Osijek. The table shows some basic data related to number of students, scientific output and total number of students in PhD programmes.

    University No of students enrolled in the 1st year graduate studies 2006/2007 No of articles cited in PubMed in the last five years No of candidates enrolled in the PhD programme
    Zagreb 282+25 in English study programme 3111 270
    Rijeka 135 344 51
    Split 75 343 20
    Osijek 75 187 68

    Every year there are 40-65 new PhD theses presented in the field of medicine and health sciences, most of them being presented in Zagreb. From this numbers it might be assumed that the number of students in PhD programmes is disproportional to known ìscientific capacityî of the country. However, in the past PhD programme was not organised, nor did medical schools consider that as a mandatory part of their activity.

    Croatia as well as numerous East European and some South European countries is characterised by modest if not small scientific output in comparison to scientifically developed countries and has some characteristics known in the studies of science as small scientific community or scientific periphery with ìintellectual island effectî. Some time ago that was a characteristic of many European countries.

    A ìsmall scientific communityî is not a demographic term, but a term that defines a community as being autarchic, more or less separated from the rest of the world, with insufficient critical mass in most scientific disciplines (MariËiÊ S. 1990) 1. The consequence is that in these communities it is difficult and sometimes not possible to organise an objective assessment of scientific performance. Constant evaluation of thesis, grant application, research papers are the inevitable part of a scientific process. Evaluation is usually done by peer review. The fundamental proposition of peer review is that it should be done by (1) competent and (2) independent experts. In a small scientific community the number of competent experts in a certain field might be very small (even there might be only one) and in certain fields researchers independent from each other do not exist. Therefore these communities, if they have not developed close cooperation with international scientific community do not possess self-regulation process, which aims at the selection of quality and elimination of low quality research, efficient regulation of scientific misconduct etc.

    There are, however, two objective barriers which can hinder the abandoning of a small autarchic scientific community system: (1) financial and (2) ìpatrioticî.

    1 It can be a financial burden for a small scientific community to sufficiently support research of PhD candidate and involve fellow experts from other countries in the process of peer review and the evaluation of thesis.

    2 On the other hand, there is a ìpatrioticî barrier, in the sense that every community prefers national language rather than a language which is used by international scientific community (which is mostly English), simply because it wishes to preserve and develop the national scientific vocabulary. Furthermore, although some universities lack high quality professors, very often the decision will be in favour of local experts in spite of their low scientific performance. A difficult question which may occur here is: how to strike an optimal balance between the need to be a part of international scientific area and the need to preserve the national identity and the national language?

    International tradition of high education and research in Croatia

    In Croatia university education in the medical field started to develop in 1917 with the foundation of the Medical School in Zagreb. The first professors came to the Medical School from the eminent universities of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy as well as Russia after the October Revolution. They brought not only their knowledge and experience, but also their openness to the world. It has never been sufficiently investigated why, but after the disappearance of this generation and the arrival of the egalitarian socialist environment, the development of medical science in Croatia acquired characteristics of autarchy and a small scientific community.

    PhD in Croatian medicine and health sciences

    The first doctorate was defended in Zagreb in 1955. However, in the course of those past 50 years, the criteria of the quality of the PhD thesis were not firmly binding, and consequently, there were PhDs that resulted in valuable scientific discoveries published in eminent scientific journals but there was also a large number (about 2/3, see later) of those which never produced a single scientific paper. The end result was inhomogeneous quality and a large number of scientists without measurable recognition in scientific community outside Croatia.

    Looking for good example in Europe

    The beginning of doctoral studies in Croatia goes back to the academic year 1996/97 in Rijeka and 1997/1998 in Zagreb. Although (with the idea of doctoral studies), those studies were first organised as scientific MSc studies until 2002/2003 when a legal framework was set to organise PhD studies. Since then it has become clear that certain changes in the sense of organisation and setting the criteria were needed. Thus, it was decided to follow European trends, but we found out that, at that particular time, the PhD programmes in Europe were not well-defined and they were different from country to country. There was, however, similar need and the willingness in many European countries to achieve consensus in defining what PhD programmes should be and how to organise them.

    Organising European conferences

    The need for better-defined PhD programmes and homogenous criteria in many European countries, as well as the willingness in many countries to break up with the tradition of a small scientific community, lead to the First European Conference on Harmonisation of PhD Programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences held at the University of Zagreb ñ Medical School, where we tried to find out whether the consensus is possible to achieve. The Conference ended with the Declaration of European conference on harmonisation of PhD programmes in biomedicine and health sciences (“Zagreb Declaration”).

    The second Conference on Harmonisation of PhD Programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences followed in April 2005, and it produced the Guidelines for organisation of PhD programmes in biomedicine and health sciences, as well as initiative of foundation of ORPHEUS – ORganisation of PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the EUropean System. The criteria were further set: among other things, mentors of the PhD candidates could no longer influence or be involved in the process of evaluating the doctorate, criteria for mentors were also defined etc.

    Harmonisation of PhD programmes in biomedicine and health sciences in Croatia; impact of two European conferences

    After ìZagreb Declarationî we have started a process not only of improving our PhD programme but also a process of gradual abandoning the characteristics of a small scientific community.

    This belief is based on the following: after the Symposium organized by the Medical School University of Zagreb, HAZU-Croatian Academy of Science and Arts, and The National Foundation for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Croatia in 2005, “Zagreb Declaration” was generally accepted, which meant that it became impossible for anyone to get a PhD without having scientific papers published in internationally recognised journals (in all medical schools minimally one must be in journals listed in CC).

    The second 2005 Conference and the Guidelines for organisation of PhD programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences, prompted us to organise the other Croatian symposium in 2006 which was held by the same parties as the first one, which gathered deans, vice-deans and chiefs of postgraduate programmes not only from Croatian medical schools, but also Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation, and University Scientific Postgraduate Study ëLanguage and Cognitive Scienceí. The participants of the Symposium concurred to sign an agreement on cooperation and formation of the network of PhD programmes in Croatia in Biomedicine and Health Sciences with the purpose of improving the quality of PhD programmes, enhancing the mobility of the PhD candidates, harmonising the criteria of enrolling and graduating from a PhD programme, and the possibilities of starting joint interdisciplinary programmes. The relation between mentor and mentee is better defined, mentors of the PhD candidates can no longer influence or be involved in the process of evaluating the doctorate. The research component of the PhD study is defined, a new form of thesis is established, which includes published materials associated with the research and the first ones in new forms have already appeared in Split and Zagreb. The English doctoral study programme is instituted at the University of Zagreb Medical School, the agreement on cooperation in doctoral study with the University of Ljubljana School of Medicine signed.

    At the same time, apart from the doctoral study development, our medical schools have agreed in adopting the other Bologna principles: we are working on the diploma supplement, quality assurance, promotion of European dimension in higher education, promotion of continuous professional development in medicine as the university life long learning process. Together with our government we decided not to apply the two cycle (BA/MA) system in medicine.

    Conclusion

    We think that after two international Zagreb conferences and two meetings of Croatian medical schools and biomedical faculties, in the framework of Bologna process in Croatia, we have made a big step forward in developing the doctoral cycle in higher education, the research thesis. However, in order to accept this statement, we have to be aware of the situation in PhD studies, more than ten years ago.

    According to the survey by Frkovic at al (2003) during the 10-year period (1990-1999), 634 PhD theses were defended at the Rijeka and Zagreb University Schools of Medicine. There were 34% PhD theses that resulted in articles published in journals indexed in MEDLINE and 20% PhD theses that resulted in articles published in Current Contents journals. Most of the theses resulted in a single publication (95%), 19 (5%) in 2, and 2 in 3 publications. In other words, 2/3 of PhD theses in the previous period did not result in any visible scientific paper.

    Later on, in the year 2005, among 117 full time research fellows (PhD candidates), a total of 36 (29%) published in Current Contents listed journals at least 0.5 articles per employment year (Polasek at al 2006). As compared to the earlier study (Frkovic et al 2003), the research fellows now publish more articles par year than an average PhD previously published during the whole period of thesis research. We think that, among others, new criteria for PhD study influence such a development.

    Our next steps will be:

    • to stimulate and make possible the “Scandinavian type” of thesis, to promote the research environment with independent and competent international review process;
    • to stimulate the international cooperation in Biomedical and Health Sciences, particularly the doctoral study programmes including the laboratory and other practical rotation, exchange in organised courses for PhD candidates, joint doctoral studies, joint mentorship etc.;
    • to implement the legal duties in quality assessment in doctoral as well as other study programmes;
    • to make all efforts to fully integrate Croatia into the European Higher Education Area and European Research Area.

    In the past decade Croatia adopted its National Scientific Research Programme and a science and technology policy for the period until 2010 (Ministry of Science, Education and Sport 2007, Pavelic et al, 2006). The policy calls for new founding instruments and research programmes as well as for new rules and procedures. We also have high expectations for our colleagues in the west as well as for international scientific organisations. Existing mechanisms should be better used, new mechanisms developed to put material and human scientific resources of European Research Area into the service of European science and society.

    References:

    Maricic S. Evaluating Yugoslav (biomedical) journals. Period Biol 1990; 92(2):229-35

    FrkoviÊ V., Skender T., DojÊinoviÊ B., BiliÊ-Zulle L. Publishing scientific papers based on Master’s and PhD theses from a small scientific community: case study of Croatian medical schools. Croat Med J. 2003 Feb; 44(1):107-11.

    Polasek O., Kolcic I., Buneta Z., Cikes N., PeÊina M. Scientific production of research fellows at the Zagreb University School of Medicine, Croatia. Croat Med J. 2006 Oct; 47(5):776-82.

    Lackovic Z.The Declaration of European Conference on Harmonization of PhD Programs in Medicine and Health Sciences. Periodicum Biologorum 2004; 106(4):476-71

    »ikeö N., Bjeliö A., Mencer J. The role of University of Zagreb in developing joint doctoral programmes. In: LackoviÊ Z., Božikov J. ur: European PhD Programme in Biomedicine and Health Sciences, University of Zagreb, School of Medicine, Zagreb 2004, 25-28

    Action Plan 2007-2010 Science and Technology of the Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, Zagreb 2007

    Pavelic K., Primorac D., Vuk-Pavlovic S. Integrating new countries into the European Research Area. EMBO reports 2006; 7:458-62

    Phd Programs: Information Available On The Internet

    (The Nile is not just a river in Egypt – finding your way in the academic jungle)

    Raffaella M Crinelli,

    PhD candidate in medical science, Karolinska Institutet, Member of ORPHEUS EC

    According to the strategies put forward by the European Commision îthe Bologna process aims to create a European higher education area by 2010 in which students can choose from a wide and transparent range of high quality courses and benefit from smooth recognition proceduresî. The problem we face now is how we give the students the possibility to choose their path i n a wide and transparent way. Finding your way in the academic jungle is not an easy task, here examplified by a simple web search among many European medical schools.

    In ORPHEUS website there are 32 European Countries enlisted and each of them offer PhD educaion in the medical science. Among those 32 Countries, only 21 offer information in English and in some cases.like Danmark, not for all medical schools. Among these 21 Countries, only 14 present structured and transparent information.

    This easy websearch pinpoints that here is a strong need for basic changes if we want to reach an harmonization of PhD education in Europe and above all to attract the brightest brains. Simple changes like structured websites in English, meeting platforms and strong networks could be one of the solution which could lead medical PhD education towards the goal of the Bologna process.

    ORPHEUS could be one of those strong networks in which changes can be discussed and operationalized.

    PhD study at Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove

    Fifteen years of experience with PhD study programmes at Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove (Czech Republic)

    Miroslav Cervinka,

    Charles University Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.

    The whole legislative framework for university education in the Czech Republic was changed dramatically immediately after the revolution. In the 1992, our Parliament approved new law dealing with University education, and one part in this law was dedicated to the doctoral training leading to the PhD degree. The process of accreditation started immediately and within two years our Faculty of Medicine obtained accreditation for 19 subjects covering majority of all theoretical and clinical subjects. Interestingly enough, at this time some other Faculties of Medicine accredited only theoretical subjects, and this evoked lot of discussion among different faculties about this issue. Currently all Faculties of Medicine have accreditation for some clinical subjects as well. Based on our long experience we can propose some recommendation for PhD study in clinical subjects.

    When introducing the system for PhD training, several problems have to be addressed:

    1) Established proportion between individual study (coordinated by the tutor) and general study (coordinated by the faculty). We adopted the scheme that the PhD training is very special study programme based on an individual approach. The extent of general studies is 20 % in the first study year and 10 % in the second year.

    2) The criteria for the extent and quality of PhD thesis are to be carefully established and maintained.

    3) The indispensable criteria for permission to defence the thesis have to be stipulated. This point, in particular has bee a matter of extensive discussion at our Faculty. Currently, student submitting his (her) PhD thesis has to have at least three full text research papers published or accepted for publication. The student should be the corresponding author in one of them; at least one of these articles should be published in a journal with an impact factor.

    During the past 15 years we have enrolled more than 500 students into our PhD programmes. The success rate is about 25 %. In the near future, we would like to take some measures to increase the quality of scientific education. We believe that the most efficient way to achieve this goal is to increase contacts with other faculties within the EU at several levels: harmonisation of requirements for PhD thesis, obligatory long-term stay of all students at the laboratory abroad, enrolment of international students in our English PhD programmes, and organisation of an international conference of PhD students at our faculty.

    Contact:

    Miroslav Cervinka, Vice-dean for research and PhD training,

    Charles University, Faculty of Medicine, Simkova 870, 50038 Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, cervina@lfhk.cuni.cz

    PhD training at Karolinska Institutet

    PhD training at Karolinska Institutet – setting the same framework for both clinical and non-clinical students


    Elias ArnÈr, M.D. Ph.D.

    Dean of Postgraduate Education, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden

    Karolinska Institutet is a medical university having at present approximately 2400 Ph.D. students in total and more than 370 dissertations per year. The research environment at the university is international and about a third of the doctoral students come from foreign universities. The study background of the Ph.D. students is also diverse and the number of non-clinical students has increased in recent years. As of today, 44% of the Ph.D. students at Karolinska Institutet have a background in clinical training, with 33% being M.D.ís whereas the remaining clinician doctoral students come from odontology, nursing, physical therapy, and other clinical fields. Among the clinician Ph.D. students, several pursue their Ph.D. training in parallel with clinical duties, which imposes time restraints and some unique clinically related issues, as compared to students that engage in full-time postgraduate studies.

    In 2006 the regulations for Ph.D. training at Karolinska Institutet were thoroughly revised with the intent to streamline the training and optimize the conditions for clinical as well as non-clinical students, aiming to ensure high quality postgraduate training for the diverse categories of students trained at the university. Instead of having different regulations for different categories of students a path was taken to set an identical framework for all students, emphasizing what should be the common denominator for every student obtaining a Ph.D. degree at Karolinska Institutet. As a tool to achieve this goal, more than 200 previous Ph.D. study subjects (eg. radiology, tumor biology, microbiology, etc.) were abolished and a single subject, Medical Science, was introduced throughout the university. Within this new subject, a general study plan sets the overall framework, which should guide the common denominators for all students, while an individual study plan sets the unique aspects of training for each student. The individual study plan is detailed in terms of form while highly flexible in terms of contextual content. The underlying principle for the training is a concept of ìtrinity in postgraduate trainingî, namely the concept that an optimal combination of i) student, ii) study plan with courses and research project, and iii) supervision, is a prerequisite for good training. Steps are therefore taken with the attempt to ensure a high quality in all of these three components of the Ph.D. training. The combination of these three components is therefore evaluated in detail before admission of each new Ph.D. student.

    Each student, foreign as well as Swedish, is required to have good knowledge in the English language. The proposed individual study plan should be jointly written by the suggested supervisor/student combinations and is subsequently discussed at an admission seminar, with the aim to evaluate that good conditions for high-quality training are fulfilled in each individual case. As parts of the individual study plan, not only courses, literature and research project must be specified, but also planned financing sources and training schedules for the complete full-time equivalent of the four coming years until completion of a Ph.D. degree. For clinical students that wish to engage in Ph.D. training in parallel with clinical practice, endorsement from the Head of clinic is also required, in order to ensure that sufficient time is allowed and made available for the clinician to engage in Ph.D. training. This step is taken because time restraints have otherwise proven to become a hampering factor for the clinical students. In addition to these general measures, a number of research schools, postgraduate training programmes, recruitment processes and other actions are taken in order to facilitate diversity and high-level competence in students and supervisors engaged in the Ph.D. training at Karolinska Institutet. A competitive funding programme has also been initiated, to which potential students and supervisors may jointly apply with a proposed study plan, which is evaluated and if awarded subsequently funded in a four-year programme. That programme has an approval rate of approximately 25% and both clinical and non-clinical students are eligible. The funding programme serves the dual purpose of not only ensuring quality in terms of directing faculty funding to peer-reviewed Ph.D training, but is also believed to emphasize and improve the general quality in the framework of Ph.D. training throughout the university.

    For more information on Karolinska Institutet Ph.D. training, see: http://ki.se/phd

    PhD Training in Clinical Medicine Vilnius University

    Zita Auörelė Kučinskienė, prof., M.D., Ph.D., Habil. Dr.

    Dean of Medical Faculty, Vilnius University,

    Head of the Department of Physiology, Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine

    Janina Tutkuvienė, assoc.prof., M.D., Ph.D.

    Vice-Dean of Medical Faculty for Research and Doctoral Studies, Head of the Department of Anatomy, Histology and Anthropology, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Ciurlionio street 21, LT-03101 Vilnius, LITHUANIA, http://www.mf.vu.lt

    Introduction

    Vilnius University (the oldest high school of Eastern part of Europe) was established in 1579, and the Faculty of Medicine was founded in 1781, – since then the foundations for fundamental and clinical sciences were laid. At present time the Faculty of Medicine consists of over 20 subdivisions (http://www.vu.lt/en/): four Departments (mostly for Preclinical Sciences), three Institutes (Institute of Public Health, Institute of Odontology, Institute of Rehabilitation, Sportís Medicine and Nursing), twelve University Clinics, that incorporate over 50 different Clinical Centres and Laboratories, distributed in several University Hospitals (in total five hospitals in Vilnius hold the status of University Clinical Hospital).

    Currently the Faculty of Medicine is carrying out scientific investigations in five main research trends (most of clinical research is carried out within the third and fifth research trend, though certain interface with clinical medicine is characteristic for the other trends as well): 1. Human Genome Diversity, Its Origin and Phenotypic Realisation. 2. Human and Public Health, Quality of Life and Environment: Scientific and Applied Research. 3. Health of Mother and Child: Physiological and Social Aspects and Research on Natural Development of an Individual. 4. Bioethics, Health Politics, Application of New Technologies. 5. Etiopathogenesis, Diagnostics, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Prevention of Diseases: Fundamental and Clinical Research.

    Recently Clinical Medicine and other Biomedical sciences at Vilnius University were integrated into several International programs (http://www.vu.lt/en/research/): FP5, FP 6, GROWTH, QUALITY OF LIFE, BRIMHEALTH, CEECFOODS, EURAP, EUNOMIA, EURECA, EURETHNET, BIT NET, PECO, STOPII, AGIS. During the years 2003-2006 the Faculty of Medicine participated in over 70 international projects and programmes. The dynamics of International projects was as follows: 2003 ñ 28, 2004 ñ 31, 2005 ñ 29, 2006 ñ 25. The number of scientific congresses, conferences, symposiums, and practical seminars during the last few years was (Local/International): in 2003 ñ 39/15, 2004 ñ 54/28, 2005 ñ 88/14, o 2006 ñ 67/20. The Faculty of Medicine collaborates with major Universities in neighbouring and other countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA. Two thirds of different International projects and scientific research is in Clinical Medicine. PhD students are enrolled and participate in all research programmes, projects and scientific events of the Faculty.

    PhD studies in Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Medicine

    At present time doctoral studies, also PhD studies in Clinical Medicine, at the Faculty of Medicine are organized according to the general regulations approved by Vilnius University (http: www.vu.lt). The Faculty of Medicine has PhD programmes in two main scientific directions (sub-areas) that belong to the scientific area of Biomedical Science: 1. Medicine. 2. Public health. At present time (August of 2007) there are 73 full-time doctoral students at the Medicine and 10 students ñ at the Public health sub-area (in total, over 1300 students are studying within the different under-graduating programmes of Faculty of Medicine, and there are over 600 residency students at present time). The dynamics of general number of PhD students at the Faculty of Medicine during 2003-2006 was (Medicine/Public health): 2003 ñ 35/4, 2004 ñ 44/9 2005 ñ 44/12, 68/10, 2006 ñ 73/10. Each year Vilnius University enrols about 15-18 doctoral students to the sub-area of Medicine and 2-3 doctoral students ñ to Public health sub-area. Besides, 10-15 dissertations per year are prepared and defended by different specialists of Clinical Medicine in an extramural manner (by extern) under the supervision of the scientists from Vilnius University, or the other research institutions in Lithuania, or foreign countries. The dynamics of defended PhD thesis at the Faculty of Medicine in 2003-2006 was as follows:

    Year

    Total:

    MEDICINE

    PUBLIC HEALTH

    PhD studies

    By extern

    Total

    PhD studies

    By extern

    Total

    2003*

    46

    9

    35

    44

    2

    2

    2004

    11

    3

    7

    10

    1

    1

    2005

    22

    7

    12

    19

    2

    1

    3

    2006

    20

    7

    11

    18

    2

    2

    * the rules and requirements for PhD studies and thesis after joining the EU were revised

    Most of the Clinical Research is carried out in Medicine sub-area, though some Clinical Studies are pursued within the Public Health as well. In general, the proportion between the research works in Preclinical (basic) Sciences and Clinical Medicine is approximately 1/3 and 2/3 (accordingly): for example, during the 2003-2006 in total 91 dissertations were defended in Medicine sub-area, and amongst them 28 were dealing more with the problems of Preclinical (basic) Sciences, while from 10 theses defended in Public Health sub-area 3 were analysing different questions of Clinical Medicine as well. Recently interdisciplinary scientific investigation becomeS more and more relevant, therefore, PhD training, for example, in clinical genetics, clinical biology, clinical anthropology, clinical biochemistry, clinical physics and radiology is impossible without the interface between theoretical, fundamental sciences and clinical research.

    In general, PhD thesis is mandatory in a scientific carrier, but for clinical practitioners PhD is also desirable and has an advantage. In accordance with the Regulations on Awarding Scientific PhD is mandatory also in receiving academic title.

    Description of PhD studies in Clinical Medicine

    Candidates (medical students) eligible for doctoral studies in clinical medicine should have obtained a Diploma of Higher Education (after six year of studies). Only students after the residency (the duration ñ 4-6 years), or solely during the residency (very motivated and research active students) could be admitted for PhD studies in certain field of Clinical Medicine. The admission to different PhD programmes is carried out on a competitive basis within the frame of Medical Faculty and different Departments of the Faculty. Students have to pass the entrance exams according to the chosen scientific branch of Clinical Medicine. The examinations are held under supervision of an Examination Commission organised by the Faculty of Medicine and validated by the Rector of Vilnius University.

    The classification of fields, areas and branches of different sciences (also Clinical Medicine) was approved in 1998 by the Lithuanian Government, and at present time differs from the other countries (http://uais.cr.ktu.lt/lkkadocs/moksloklasifikacija.htm). The main branches of Clinical Medicine are: endocrinology, haematology, immunology, serology, transplantology, infections, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, gastroenterology, urology, nephrology, obstetrics, gynaecology, andrology, reproductive system, skeletal system, muscular system, joints, anaesthesiology, intensive care, surgery, orthopaedics, traumathology, otorhinolaryngology, audiology, speech, ophthalmology, dermatology, sexually transmitted disease, neurology, neuropsychology, neurophysiology, psychiatrics, clinical psychology, paediatrics, gerontology, rehabilitation, kinesitherapy, oncology, forensic medicine, diagnostic methods and instruments, general practise. Nevertheless, recently more and more research projects in Clinical Medicine are carried out together with scientists of adjacent Preclinical (basic) Sciences or other branches of Biomedical sciences, such as follows: general pathology, clinical cytology and cell biology, clinical and medical genetics, clinical and medical biology, clinical chemistry, clinical physics, radiology, clinical microbiology, clinical anatomy and histology, human development, clinical embryology, clinical anthropology, clinical physiology, clinical biochemistry, also epidemiology, environmental health, social medicine, occupational medicine, preventive medicine, psychosocial care, nutrition, dietetics, bioinformatics, biostatistics, biometry.

    The duration of PhD studies is four years, but for doctoral studies in Clinical Medicine the longer term usually is eligible. There are two stages of PhD training in Clinical Medicine: the first stage ñ theoretical studies of the selected subjects and examinations; the second stage ñ the arrangement and defending of a doctoral thesis. Theoretical studies usually follow on the first 1-2 years, but the preparing of the thesis in most cases is going in parallel. The doctoral student must take up at least three subjects (courses) from the selected area of research (at least one subject should be from adjacent area of science). Total studies consist at least from 20 credits (one credit compounds about 40 hours of lectures, seminars, individual consultations, hands-on works). Every subject is completed by an examination.

    It is not an easy task for young medical doctor to combine PhD studies and clinical specialization or clinical practice. Mostly our PhD students have started their research work before entering the doctoral studies at the Faculty of Medicine: in most cases they were active as young scientists while being students or during their residency. An individual study and scientific research program is composed for every doctoral student. A wide range of various subjects is lectured within the frame of Medical Faculty at present time (http://www.vu.lt/lt/studijos/doktorantams/dokt_biomedicinos/): in total about 200 different courses in Medicine and 20 courses in Public health sub-area cover the all main branches of general and clinical medicine, as well as Public health sciences (very often clinical researchers are interested also in Public Health subjects also). Those programmes and courses were prepared and approved by the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Medicine in 2003. The experience of nearly four years shows the necessity of several courses obligatory for all students: for example, Biostatistics, also Basics of Scientific Research could be mandatory for all PhD students in Clinical Medicine. However, the methods of theoretical PhD studies, the courses and subjects of Clinical Medicine, the proportion of elective and obligatory courses, the arrangement of the courses (the proportion of lectures, seminars, self-dependent work, etc.) is under discussion: certain variety between Universities is necessary in order to keep the particularity and oneness, but some harmonisation of PhD studies in Europe could help to equalize the scientific level of doctoral studies, also in Clinical Medicine.

    Doctoral students in Clinical Medicine have an opportunity to develop their research skills by continuing their doctoral studies at foreign universities or carrying out integrated, joint research projects. Doctoral supervisory committees may accept relevant examinations (not more than two) passed while following a doctoral programme at certain foreign university. More affinity, conformity and interface between the programmes and subjects of PhD studies in different European universities could help to enhance the mobility of PhD students as well.

    The supervision of doctoral studies and the defence of PhD thesis

    The responsibility for doctoral studies at Vilnius University is taken by different Departments of Medical Faculty and the official Supervisors. Certain qualifications, defined by the Government are mandatory for the Supervisors: at least 5 peer-reviewed research articles of specific scientific branch must be published during the last 5 years, and at least PhD doctorate degree obtained in the Republic of Lithuania or equivalent degree obtained abroad is obligatory. The Supervisor of the doctoral student controls the doctoral studies and scientific research as well as accepts the students’ reports. The official Supervisor, if his/her qualification satisfies mentioned above requirements, could be also from the other University of Lithuania or from abroad.

    More cooperation and experience exchange of supervision in PhD studies could enhance better and closer collaboration between different European Universities in general, and could help to develop join research field. Nevertheless, the requirements for the PhD Supervisorís qualification differ and vary between European Universities widely. The question, which qualification for PhD Supervisor is mandatory and whether the requirements should be similar in all European countries, is complicated and covers many adjacent questions: for example, the kind of publication (only the scientific article, or scientific monograph, textbook, or other scientific issue could be suitable), the quality of publication (peer-reviewed article, or other reviewed scientific issue could also satisfy the requirements), the data basis for publication (ISI Web of Science, Thompson ISI, MEDLINE, Index Copernicus, or other data basis could be proper and presentable), citation records, etc.

    The doctoral theses in Clinical Medicine, as PhD thesis in Preclinical or other scientific fields, are defended publicly at the meeting of specially compiled Doctoral Defence Board (the board is compiled pro tempore for the period of defence of certain doctoral thesis). The Board consists of 5 members (chairperson and 4 members), that should have no common publications with doctoral student. At least two members of the Board should be from the other institutions (extramural of Vilnius University). Scientists from foreign Universities (mostly scientists from Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, also ñ from Germany, United Kingdom, USA, or other countries) sometimes are invited to the defence Board. Board Members have to satisfy certain qualifications defined by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania: at least 5 peer-reviewed research articles of certain scientific branch must be published during the last 5 years, and at least PhD doctorate degree obtained in the Republic of Lithuania or equivalent degree obtained abroad is obligatory. But recent experience shows that the large Doctoral Defence Board, compiled for certain period and constantly renewable, consisting of more than 5 scientists of the specific field, area or branch of science would be eligible for more objective evaluation of the scientific level of PhD thesis. Moreover, the question about the establishment of joint for several countries or even European Doctoral Defence Boards or Committees for different fields and branches of Biomedical sciences should be discussed, though it is also related with other problems, especially with the financial resources.

    Conclusions

    The harmonisation of PhD training in Biomedical and Health Science in Europe should start from the unification of the classification of the fields, areas, sub-areas and branches of different Biomedical and Health Sciences. The duration of PhD training, the courses of PhD studies (number of subjects, credits), the requirements for doctoral thesis (volume, structure), the number and quality of publications for PhD student (and the rating of scientific journals), also the rules and requirements for supervision and for the qualification of PhD Supervisors and the members of Defence Board/Commission, the procedure of defending thesis in Biomedical Sciences should be discussed between the different European countries in order to reach more or less the same quality and scientific level of PhD training.

    References:

    1. A. Bumblauskas et al. Universitas Vilnensis 2004 (in English). Vilnius, 2004.
    2. Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University in 1781-2006: Itís modern everyday life (publication dedicated to 225thAnniversary Year). Vilnius University, 2006.
    3. Z.Lackovic, J.Bozikov.European PhD programmes in Biomedicine and Health sciences. ñ Proceedings of the Second European Conference on harmonization PhD programmes in Biomedical and Health Sciences. University of Zagreb, Medical School, Zagreb, Croatia, April 22-24th, 2005 (http://bio.mef.hr/conference).
    4. OPPHEUS (Organization forPhD education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System): Internet database of European PhD programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences. Available on website of OPPHEUS: (http://www.orpheus-med.org/index.php?option=com_bookmarks&Itemid=37)
    5. Vilnius University. Research. (http://www.vu.lt/en/research/)
    6. Vilnius University. For doctoral students. Biomedicine. (http://www.vu.lt/lt/studijos/doktorantams/dokt_biomedicinos/)
    Phd-students Opinions On Doctoral Training

    Abstract not received.

    Possible Links Between MEDINE and ORPHEUS

    Jadwiga Mirecka

    MEDINE is the name of the Thematic Network in Medical Education in Europe, gathering more than 100 European universities. The Network functions within the Project supported by the European Community.

    The Network is aiming at comparability and general improvement of undergraduate medical education in Europe. In order to achieve this goal five Task Forces (TFs) have been organized.to work on :

     1. Tunning (agreed competencies of medical graduates),

     2. Quality Assurance and Standards,(based on existing systems of quality assurance and WFME Global Standards for Medical Education).

     3.International Recognition of Qualifications (based on ECTS and Diploma Supplement)

     4. Transparency and Public Understanding of Medical Education (making medical education understandable to all potential stakeholders)

     5 Links between Medical Education and Research.(as could be traced in medical undergraduate curricula)

    Three of these Task Forces actually dealt with issues closely related to ORPHEUS. Thus TF No.3 has defined specific aspects, which might add to the European dimension of the Global Standards.

    TF No.4 created an on-line data base (MedEd Central) which can accommodate a special platform for PhD programms, including recommended topics, list of supervisors, funds available.

    TF No.5 provided an overview of research activities envisaged within undergraduate medical curricula and prepared recommendation for better training of future researches.

    Although the Project in its present form will be finalized in autumn, the second edition has been proposed. It includes a formal cooperation with ORPHEUS on Quality Assurance of PhD programs. Besides, other outcomes of the MEDINE, relevant for PhD students (like the data base),should become a permanent component of the landscape of medical education in Europe.

    Research Training For Mds. At University Of Aarhus

    Research training for MDs. Recruitment of MDs to the PhD-degree in health sciences at the University of Aarhus

    Professor Michael J. Mulvany, PhD

    Director of PhD-studies, Faculty of Health Sciences

    University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark

    Research training at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Aarhus is organized in the University of Aarhus Graduate School of Health Sciences. It is major aim of the Graduate School to recruit MDs to the PhD program. Of almost 450 enrolled PhD students, 54% are MDs or MD-students. This report lists the steps which are taken to ensure a continuing uptake of MDs into the PhD program.

    The Danish PhD-degree

    The PhD degree in health sciences in awarded in the context of the Danish PhD-degree program for which the basic regulations are similar for all subjects. These state that: ìThe program leading to the PhD degree is set up with the purpose of training researchers at an international level in interplay with the international research world. The PhD program provides mainly active research training under supervision.î The PhD program is planned to be of 3 years duration, including a half-year of course-work as well as up to a half-year of teaching duties. Extension can be granted under certain circumstances. The program is performed under the guidance of at least two supervisors and is concluded by the submission of a thesis. The thesis may be a monograph, but more usually is based on a number of articles, submitted manuscripts or manuscripts ready for submission, together with a review. The thesis is evaluated by a three-man assessment committee, of which two of the members are from outside the Faculty concerned. If the thesis is satisfactory it has to be defended publicly, where the candidate gives a 45-min lecture and is then is examined for at least 1 hour by the assessment committee. If the committee finds the defence to be satisfactory, the Faculty then will award the PhD-degree.

    During the PhD-study, Danish PhD-students are generally salaried at a level corresponding roughly to what they would earn as employed academics.

    University of Aarhus Graduate School of Health Sciences

    The University of Aarhus Graduate School of Health Sciences was established in 1996, and was based on a tradition of providing quality postgraduate courses started in the 1970s. The Graduate School has currently about 450 PhD-students (128 enrolled in 2006). The Graduate School is part of the Faculty of Health Sciences, which is formally related to the Aarhus University Hospital. The clinical faculty members have joint appointments in the Aarhus University Hospital. The Faculty has a total of about 540 professors and associate professors; the current intake of medical students is about 360 per year.

    The University of Aarhus Graduate School of Health Sciences provides PhD-training in all aspects of health sciences within the national PhD-regulations as described above. Broadly similar programs are provided by the other Danish health science faculties in Copenhagen and Odense.

    The School is led by a Director of PhD-studies who is responsible to the Faculty Research Training Committee chaired by the Dean of the Faculty. The Director works with the PhD-administrator and the staff of the PhD-office.

    Scope of the PhD program

    The PhD program has five parts:

    1. completion of an independent research project under supervision (PhD project),
    2. preparation of a thesis on the basis of the PhD project,
    3. satisfactory completion of PhD courses. The number of courses should correspond to 6 months work. TheGraduate School holds about 80 courses per year.
    4. participation in an active scientific environment, including a stay if possible at other, primarily foreign scientific institutions or in other ways,
    5. attainment of teaching experience in one form or another.

    For further details see report in the program for the 2005 ORPHEUS meeting: http://www.orpheus-med.org/files/Proceedings_2005.pdf.

    Steps for ensuring participation of MDs in the PhD program.

    Involvement of MDs in the PhD program is encouraged as follows. The timing of these programs is shown in Fig. 1.

    Fig. 1. Timetables for the various research programs for MDs and medical students. Reserach periods shown in black. Part-time research periods performed currently with medical studies shown chequered. Full-time medical study shown in white, where each block is one year.

    Research assignment for all medical students

    All medical students have to follow a 6 wk assignment in research methodology. This takes place at the start of the 5th year of the 6-year medical study program. It consists normally of a literature review to answer a specific question (e.g. What is the mechanism by which thiazides lower blood pressure?), but can also involve a short experimental study. All Faculty have the opportunity to provide assignments, the whole program being net-based. The student writes a report, and then presents it at a tentamen to the Faculty member concerned and a censor.

    Research year

    This is an optional research year for medical students. Those wishing to enter the program must find a supervisor (often on the basis of announcements by Faculty members who are looking for research year students). The research year may be taken at any point of the medical study program, but normally after completion of the fourth year. Information meetings about the research year are held as part of the third-year course. The research year program consists of a full time research project and participation in a number of courses. Entry to the research year is on the basis of application to the Faculty; the application includes a full description of the research project, which must include a timetable showing that it can be completed within the year, together with a recommendation from the supervisor. During the research year, students receive a scholarship (DKK 10.000 per month) often awarded by the Danish Medical Research Council or private foundations. On completion of the year, the student writes a report which may be in the form of a short review and a manuscript ready for submission. The report is assessed by the supervisor and a censor; if it is satsifactory a tentamen is held where the student presents the work and answers questions.

    It has been found that about one third to one half of the research year students go on to do a PhD.

    MD/PhD program

    This is a new program that has been introduced to allow medical students to do a PhD concurrently with their MD studies. The program is based on the research year. If during the research year the student decides to apply to for enrolment in the MD/PhD program, application can be made based on recommendation from the supervisor, acceptance of the PhD project by the Faculty Research and Research Training Committee, and a satisfactory timetable for completion of the medical studies. Those enrolled in the MD/PhD program are expected to follow their research project at least 20 hours a week during the pregraduate period. On completion of the medical studies, students must pass a midterm examination concerning progress of their project. Assuming this is passed, it is expected that the PhD program can be completed within 1? years. During the pre-graduate part of the program, MD/PhD students receive a scholarship and study stipend (ca. DKK 10-15.000 per month); during the postgraduate part, they receive a normal PhD stipend (ca. DKK 25.000 per month). Sickness and maternity benefits are available throughout the program as for a regular PhD.

    Regular PhD

    A flexible approach is used in allowing MDs to enter the PhD program at any time after they have received their MD degree. In particular, the PhD may be taken before or after the students’ internship training. Recruitment is encouraged by the holding of a Preparation Course that is advertised widely among recently graduated MDs.

    Internship PhD

    A new “internship PhD” program has been introduced which aims specifically to attract MDs to basic departments, with a view to increasing later recruitment of these MDs to the scientific staff of these departments. Here PhD students are paid at a rate corresponding to junior doctors and their internship is located close to Aarhus. The PhD has to be performed at one of the basic departments, and has to be carried out before the internship.

    Perspectives

    Our Faculty places great emphasis on recruitment of MDs to the PhD program for a variety of reasons.

    1. Medical research requires the involvement of MDs if the aim of creating better treatments is to be obtained.
    2. It is important that the pregraduate medical study program is taught by a staff in which MDs are strongly represented, if the program is to remain relevant.
    3. MDs with a research training are thought to be more capable of providing rational therapy in their future treatment of patients, and to be more critical regarding the development and possible introduction of new therapies.

    As indicated, the various programs have been reasonably successful, in that over half the PhD students have a medical background. There are, however, tendencies towards a reduction in this proportion, and continual improvement in the programs is therefore needed.

    Further information is available on http://www.health.au.dk/forskeruddannelsen

    31 August 2007

    Michael J. Mulvany

    Director of PhD-studies

    Faculty of Health Sciences

    University of Aarhus

    Testing Of Methodological Issues In Phd Thesis Proposals

    EARLY TESTING OF METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES IN PhD THESIS PROPOSALS DURING DOCTORAL STUDIES

    Slobodan M. Janković, Nebojöa N. Arsenijević

    Medical Faculty, University of Kragujevac, Kragujevac, Serbia

    The main point of PhD studies is adequate design, conduct and writing of PhD thesis. This part is usually proposed by the candidate and her/his mentor, and decided on by the University Senate. However, from time to time, serious methodological errors are overlooked, and candidates work for years, producing useless results.

    In order to help candidates to make valid design of their research, during courses from the 1st year of doctoral studies (devoted to research methodology) at Medical Faculty, University of Kragujevac, students are required to write research proposal for their thesis, consulting their potential mentors. This proposal is then reviewed by the Facultyís experts in general research methodology, and peers from 2nd year of doctoral studies. In this way, the students from the 1st year receive comprehensive feedback on methodological quality of their proposal, and get in the position to further improve it, before submission to the Senate.

    From 38 thesis proposals made by the students of second semester in the 2006/7 school year, 14 (37%) needed major revision, and 8 (21%) minor one. After receiving feedback, the students made revisions according to suggestions of their peers and the Facultyís experts, and resubmitted thesis proposals were accepted without requests for further revisions.

    Early peer and expert review of methodological issues in PhD thesis proposals could help to both students and mentors to build valid proposal, which will result with material publishable in highly-ranked medical journals.

    The Importance of Clinical Research

    The Importance of Clinical Research: the Mutual Interdependence of Clinical and Laboratory Research, and the Relevance of both to PhD Training

    Doctoral Research Training for Psychiatrists and for Clinical Epidemiologists.

    Professor David Gordon, President of AMSE, Vice President of ORPHEUS

    Vice President, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester,13 9PL

    Introduction

    It has been argued that there is little evidence for the effectiveness and utility of research training at PhD level in the clinical setting. Should there be support for medical graduates who are not yet fully trained in their clinical specialty to undertake research, at doctoral level, in the clinical setting and on a clinical problem?

    This paper describes the outcome of two programmes for clinical research training for medical graduates, supported in the United Kingdom (UK) by the Wellcome Trust1. The Wellcome Trust also has a scheme of general support for medical graduates undertaking research training, the outcome of which has been described previously2.

    In 1979, the Wellcome Trust began to provide support for medical graduates wishing to obtain a research training in mental health, or in clinical epidemiology. The argument in each case was that there was a shortage of research-trained clinicians working in these disciplines, at a time when scientific advance implied that there would be excellent opportunities for original research in both fields. ìClinical epidemiologyî for this purpose was as defined by ìthe study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states and events in populations, and the application of this study to control health problemsî3.

    The research training fellowships in mental health were targeted at psychiatrists in clinical training, typically between 3 and 6 years after medical qualification. Funding was provided normally for 3 years, and included the salary of the research training fellow, and his or her necessary research expenses. (This scheme also provided funding for basic scientists working on mental health problems: these basic science fellowships were not examined for the purposes of this paper.) Awards were made on the basis of the merits of the candidate, the strength of the academic setting in which research was to be conducted, the suitability of the supervisor for the research, and the quality and nature of the research project. The integration of basic and clinical sciences relevant to the research problem was regarded by the Trust as a high priority. Projects covered a wide range, from studies of the neurochemistry of the brain in psychiatric patients, to studies in a completely clinical setting, for example using neuroimaging or cognitive psychological approaches to the analysis of disease.

    The research training fellowships in clinical epidemiology were open to graduates working in any clinical field, again typically between 3 and 6 years after medical qualification. Support was normally provided for 4 years, including the salary of the research fellow, and his or her research expenses. The funding also included the costs of attendance at an appropriate masterís degree course in clinical epidemiology, in order fully to equip the research training fellow with essential epidemiological methodologies. Awards were made according to the same criteria as for research training fellowships in mental health.

    Methods

    The records of the first 50 clinical fellows in mental health and the first 50 clinical epidemiology fellows were examined. In mental health these included awards made between 1979 and 1994, and in clinical epidemiology between 1979 and 1993: thus, ample time (at least 10 years) has elapsed since the completion of each fellowship to allow an assessment of the fellowís later career. Publicly available databases, including, inter alia, the Public Library of Science, PubMed Central, and the UK Medical Directory were examined to trace each fellow. Available on-line resources were searched until each fellow was unequivocally identified: two fellows (2/100) could not be found.

    Three pieces of data were obtained where possible.

    1. Where (in the UK or in another country) was the fellow now working?
    2. What was the nature of his or her appointment ñ was it primarily an academic appointment in a department of a university, or a clinical appointment in a healthcare system?
    3. Was there evidence that the former fellow had published academic work in the last 6 years? The period of 6 years was chosen, to allow for any delay in published research reaching online databases.

    Results

    The results are summarised in tables 1 and 2.

    Table 1 ñ Mental Health Fellows

    Of 50 mental health fellows, 42 are still active in academic publication. Most of these (35/50) are working in an academic setting, either in the UK (27) or in another country (8). Only 6 of the former fellows still in employment are not active in academic publication. Ten of the former mental health fellows were working outside the UK (in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States of America). All of these were still active in publication. As far as could be ascertained, 48 of the former mental health fellows are still in active practice as a psychiatrist.

    Table 2 ñ Clinical Epidemiology Fellows

    The former clinical epidemiology fellows show a similar picture. Almost all (44/50) are still publishing academic work, mainly from an academic setting (40/50). Four former clinical epidemiology fellows were working abroad, in academic posts in Ireland, Japan, the USA, and the West Indies.

    Discussion

    These data demonstrate the excellent long-term academic careers of holders of research training fellowships both in mental health and in clinical epidemiology. Noteworthy is the wide range of research undertaken both during research training and in subsequent careers, and that much of this research is now in an academic (or occasionally clinical) setting in a country outside the UK. Many of the individuals are recognised as leaders in their field of research in the UK and abroad. Most have continued in research in a field related to the subject of their doctoral training, but some have ranged more widely: one psychiatrist is now publishing in the History of Medicine, and two are publishing primarily in Medical Ethics.

    Also remarkably is the range of clinical specialities in which clinical epidemiologists work as a consequence of this scheme. These include cardiology, respiratory medicine, infectious disease, clinical pharmacology, gastroenterology, dermatology and psychiatry.

    These data amply demonstrate the effectiveness of doctoral research training in these two fields: mental health and clinical epidemiology. Former fellows have both distinguished academic careers and have made many contributions to the biomedical literature.

    Potential conflict of interest:

    I was personally responsible for the academic administration of these schemes at various times between 1983 and 1998.

    Acknowledgments:

    The help of Giles Radford and Anne Sanderson in the Management Information section of the Wellcome Trust is acknowledged.

    References

    1. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/
    1. Lacković, J. and Božikov, J., eds. European PhD Programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences: Second European Conference on Harmonisation of PhD Programmes in Biomedicine and Health Sciences Zagreb 2006
    1. Last, J. M., ed. A Dictionary of Epidemiology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.
    The New Doctoral Studies at the Medical University of Vienna

    The New Doctoral Studies at the Medical University of Vienna: PhD and Professional Doctorate in Applied Medical Science

    Hannes Stockinger, Director of the Doctoral School of the Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

    The history and traditions of the Medical University of Vienna (MUV) date back as far as 640 years. As a medical faculty, the medical school of Vienna was chartered together with the University of Vienna in 1365. Due to a new legal regulation (University Act 2002), the new Medical University of Vienna (MUV) gained autonomy in 2004 and since then has been acting as a self-governed science and research institution. On a research lab space of more than 50,000 m? the MUV has a staff of approximately 5,000 individuals, 1,800 of which are engaged in research and 1,600 are physicians, who staff the Vienna General Hospital treating approximately 95,000 inpatients and 500,000 outpatients per year in 31 clinical departments in 350,000 m2.

    As Austriaís largest medical training centre with over 1,000 instructors, the MUV currently trains 9,000 students in the fields of human and dental medicine. Furthermore it offers two attractive doctoral studies, a PhD Program and a Professional Doctorate in Applied Medical Science. Both doctorates are equivalent, however, the PhD program aims to educate early stage researchers who are more interested in doing science as a profession, whereas the professional doctorate is for those who want to link science to biomedical and clinical application according to the motto science in the profession. Moreover, the professional doctorate is providing scientific qualifications for students to work in certain specialties of medicine. Both studies are organized in thematic programs such as immunology, vascular biology, malignant diseases, cell communication in health and disease, endocrinology, mental health and behavioural sciences, physics, signal transduction, neuroscience, biomedical technology, endocrinology and metabolism, psychoanalysis, organ replacement, drug development, bone and joint regeneration, and public health.

    The basic requirements of the doctoral studies are: Minimum duration of 3 years, language English, defence of the thesis plan within the first three months after start, survey by thesis committee, 450 and 570 academic hours (PhD and professional doctorate, respectively) accompanying courses to provide advanced education and skills in the field of the respective thematic program, to transfer soft skills in presentation techniques, ethics, project management, patent affairs, and critical reading of scientific publications. Furthermore, the PhD-project must be part of an internationally peer-reviewed project (the professional doctorate project shall be part of an internationally peer-reviewed project), first authorship of at least one peer-reviewed publication in a well-recognized scientific journal is compulsory, and the PhD candidate must be fully employed according to the regulations of the Austrian Science Fund.

    Currently, 362 doctoral candidates are registered in our doctoral studies. Of the candidates, 230 are working within internationally peer-reviewed projects, mostly funded by the Austrian Science Fund or the EU. To cover the costs for these 230 doctoral positions, principal investigators of the MUV have raised 30 million grant Euros.

    The MUV considers doctoral candidates as early scientific professionals. Therefore, as outlined above, each PhD must be employed by a grant project. To underline this understanding further, the MUV promoted and supported the foundation of the Young Scientist Association (YSA) of the MUV. A council headed by a president represents the members, doctoral candidates and postdocs, and transports information, ideas and problems between the members and the representatives of the MUV. A major part of the networking activities of YSA is the organization of meetings, in particular the annual PhD symposium, which is substantially sponsored by the MUV. This year the doctoral candidates submitted 147 abstracts and YSA compiled them for an exciting 2-days PhD symposium including distinguished speakers from abroad.

    The new doctoral studies are an integral part of the new career model, which was established during the last 1 ? years to provide early stage researcher and young staff members both perspectives for the future individual development and the possibility to choose different directions. The key issues of this novel career model are the following: The MUV will generate and publicly announce positions for young scientists that can be applied for by the heads of the ìorganization unitsî. Applications will be reviewed by an advisory board, and the rector will select the best candidates. The positions are granted on the provision of signing an individual ìqualification agreementî specifying ìqualification criteriaî such as completion of a medical specialty, completion of a doctoral study, publications in high ranking journals, training in foreign research institutions and acquirement of teaching experience. The appointed young scientist will receive substantial support to fulfill the agreed criteria within the time frame of this first contract. Upon successful completion, the young scientist will obtain a position for an unlimited period to perform independent research.

    In conclusion, with the new doctoral studies, the MUV has installed instruments to foster each doctoral candidate according to his/her interests. Based on those, career plans can be constructed that satisfy not only the doctoral candidate but also the needs for intramural researchers and professionals and the common labour market.

    Prof. Dr. Hannes Stockinger
    Chairman Department of Molecular Immunology
    Center for Physiology, Pathophysiology & Immunology
    Director of Curriculum
    Medical University of Vienna
    Lazarettgasse 19
    A-1090 Vienna, Austria

    The PhD School ñUniversity of Medicine and Pharmacy of Cluj-Napoca

    The PhD School ñ an innovative structure of the ìIuliu Hatieganuî University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Cluj-Napoca, Romania

    Mircea PA, Badea IR, Buzoianu AD, Bojita MT

    ìIuliu Hatieganuî University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Romania

    The PhD School of the ìIuliu Hatieganuî University of Medicine and Pharmacy is a new institutional structure, created in 2005, and invested with the responsibility of organizing and conducting in optimal conditions the universityís doctoral studies.

    The mission of the PhD School is the formation of young researchers in order to achieve necessary competences for scientific research at high quality standards. Specific objectives are represented by the followings: preparing and sustaining the PhD students in the elaboration of their doctoral thesis, achieving the abilities necessary to conceive and manage a research grant and obtaining the capacity to conduct a research, and also, to form a critical spirit, which will permit an objective evaluation either for their own or of otherís research.

    In the bio-medical profiled universities of Romania, the PhD studies have duration of 4 years, the first year being the advanced universitary preparation year. For the first year weíve developed a curricula destined to achieve the mentioned objectives, structured on 6 modular units (60 credits in total):

    • Scientific research methodology
    • Notions of ethics of research
    • European legislation for research
    • Norms for publication and the ethics of scientific publications
    • Scientific documentation
    • Design and management of the research grants 

    To the above described modules a cycle of magisterial presentations are added, with the generic name ìAula Magnaî. For these presentations personalities from scientific, artistic, academic and social circles are invited. Each module ends with an exam, promoting the year being possible after gathering a minimum of 50 credits.

    During the advanced universitary preparation year, the PhD students are structuring their research theme, and at the end of the year they present it in a form of a research project to a commission lead by the conductor of the thesis. After the presentation and acceptance of the project, the PhD students start the remaining three years, the effective realization of the research, and conceiving their dissertation.

    What life is life should I have not a PhD?

    Martin Modriansk?

    Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palack? University, Olomouc, Czech Republic

    Patient admitted to a hospital shows little interest in the scientific abilities of his doctor, situation that changes very much once the doctor gets into the nitty gritty details of explaining the treatment. The patient senses a quality if the doctor is a PhD, a sign of post-graduate training. However, doctoral degree in any field of clinical medicine is intended to be a starting point of a scientific career. A career that involves writing and managing projects, designing experiments, writing papers, and everything else that is part of a scientist¥s life. But that part of science is not what the patient cares about. He desires a well-trained, experienced and empathic physician who will provide the best treatment available to remedy his medical problem.

    Studying to become a medical doctor is the toughest and most demanding task for anyone who chooses to do so. It is a vocation with compulsory lifelong learning, primary aim of which is to establish exactly the well-trained physician desired by patients. Many doctors aim to be just that. Nevertheless, in order to transfer their experiences to the next generation of physicians, the educational system demands that the MD ñ teacher is involved in science. Quite a number of doctors then face a decision, at some point of their career, whether to remain just a physician or jump the wagon with a view of advancing their career, perhaps leaving medical practice for good. Educational system of the Czech Republic requires that undergraduate students are taught by professors, associate professors, and assistant professors. The basic prerequisite to hold one of these positions is a completed PhD program in the corresponding field.

    PhD program is designed to last three years, it can be a full-time or a part-time type of program. Regardless of program type, the student has to meet certain criteria that include: publication of two original articles in a peer-reviewed journal, passing a minimum of three exams related to the field of study, writing a grant proposal, and doing a congress presentation. There are very few students who fulfill the criteria within the time alloted, in case of clinical specializations PhD program is usually completed in 6.5 years on average. Often it is due to delayed publication of results as clinical research requires statistically significant number of patients included in the study, and these may become difficult to find. Case in point is a PhD thesis focused on traumatic head injuries in children after car accidents. That PhD started the year prior to a new law, which demands the use of child seat in vehicles at all times under stiff penalty. Public applauded the drop in child injuries, the student faces threat of an incomplete PhD.

    ††††††††††† Type of a PhD program is also a very much of interest. A full-time PhD student receives a government-paid stipend (approx. 250Š per month) for three years. Social security and health insurance payments being covered by government as well, but only until the age of 26 taking a bite out of the already low income. On the other hand, student enrolled in a clinical PhD must have a part-time employment in the hospital of his residency in order to be allowed access to patients and their data. Possibility of night shift and on-duty physician service is associated with the required hospital part-time employment meaning some extra income for the student. Part-time PhD student always holds a full-time job in a hospital and receives no government-sponsored payments. In both cases clinical PhDs are burdened with physician duties ñ treating patients, doing the paperwork and all the rest of hospital work.

    ††††††††††† Concealed in the ìrest of hospital workî is the obligatory residency training for Medical Board Certification. Scheduled to last a minimum of five years, residency training is a must for any future specialist. But can one receive a credit for a PhD program as part of the residency? The general answer is yes. Although the Ministry of Health provides an application form to be filled and approved by a hospital representative (often thesis advisor), the form gives the Ministry a final decision whether the completed PhD program counts as a part of residency training.

    ††††††††††† Can a Board Certified specialist willing to teach undergraduates become an associate professor or even a professor? Not without a PhD. And the same applies vice versa. Hence a doctor aiming for a professorial position, a position of high social status and with open career options, must have a complete PhD and have the highest Board Certificate in the corresponding field at the same time. Along with certain number of original articles with a proven citation record and a teaching record as an assistant professor. Many doctors perceive this as doing the same thing twice. Not without a merit: some Board Certification exams overlap very much with the exams required as part of the PhD program. On the other hand, primary goal of PhD training is creative research leading to publications and innovations in medical treatments.

    ††††††††††† Despite the cons we see an increasing number of doctors starting PhD studies in a clinical subject. Approximately one half of students enrolled are in the age group of 25 to 34 years, the other half is older than 35 with isolated cases of 55 years or more. The fresh graduates hope for an advantage when seeking a job, the seasoned doctors aim to hold or advance their careers in an increasingly crowded employee market of MDs. It is also a result of the push from universities as well as from employers, especially university hospitals, for a medical doctor to do post-graduate training in the form of PhD besides the obligatory clinical specialization training. The downside is that the important part of scientific training vanished from the discussion along with the quality of PhD theses.

    ††††††††††† The last point to discuss is the compatibility of PhD as well as Medical Board Certification process among European Union countries. Although internalization of research and PhD programs is supported by universities across the continent, the details may pose a problem. Differences in credit systems or numbers of publications are easily overcome, financing of the student is much more sizeable obstacle. For example the French ìdoctorate en co-tutelleî requires the student to do three six months long study programs at the french institution while offering very few options of financing. Hence the student is forced to compete for grant money from agencies where the success rate is below 25%. For a clinical PhD there lies a little chance.

    ††††††††††† In conclusion, it is still important for an MD to do a PhD program. Not just to impress his patients but to have research as a part of the lifelong learning process. There are still many problems to be solved, such as compatibility of programs across EU and removal of duplicities with Board Certification process, and this is where ORPHEUS can step in and offer assistance.

    Acknowledgment

    PhD program of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palack? University,
    is currently receiving financial support from the European Social Fund
    project No. CZ.04.1.03/3.2.15.1/0033.

    Contact Us

    +353 123 4567

    Orpheus Med Group 1 Main St, Brussels, Belgium

    Monday-Friday: 8am - 5pm (CET)

    Become a Member

    Book a one to one consultation with a member of our executive committee.