8 - Human resources policies

8.1 - Collaborating in the promotion of new doctoral programmes


The interaction between research and Higher Education in the European Union gathered significant political momentum in 2003 when a series of initiatives were proposed to highlight the mutual benefits between doctoral programmes and scientific and technical research in Universities. The main objective was to increase the importance of doctorates with the aim of increasing the amount and quality of research work by fully incorporating doctoral students as “research trainees” and implementing a series of measures to offer them support and increase their social recognition. To this aim a set of guidelines was established for the creation of innovative structures which encouraged mobility and the internationalisation or integration of master's and doctorate programmes, in order to generate a culture of research which would attract funding.

In the transformation of traditional doctoral programmes initiated at the time, the relationship between Universities and Companies was seen as increasingly important. It was essential that Companies played a greater role in making doctoral programmes a vital strategic element in R&D&i processes taking on a key role in research and business procedures. The various measures available to them to achieve this include: increasing the recruitment of people with doctorates; encouraging the completion of doctoral programmes among their employees; becoming more actively involved in the definition of the areas of research being studied in doctoral theses; incentivising doctoral programmes which are in accordance with their business interests, etc. The system in Spain and in Europe as a whole promotes a doctoral training model which is based in Universities but also involves collaboration with other bodies, organisations and institutions associated with R&D&i both nationally and internationally. Doctoral schools and innovative companies need to play a central role in this process.


The Van der Pol Programme (PHILIPS)

The Dutch multinational runs a cooperation programme with European universities for the development of doctoral programmes, mostly in the field of R&D, which are either completed by staff from the company itself or by university researchers. Entitled the Van der Pol Programme, it seeks to strengthen the Open Innovation model implemented by Phillips, by reinforcing its ties with Universities and discovering talented young individuals who can become part of their organisation.

PhD Fellowship Awards Programme (IBM)

The multinational IBM also runs a programme called the PhD Fellowship Awards which involves an annual competition to select the doctoral thesis projects which offer the most innovative and interesting ideas for their particular areas of operation. The doctoral students who are selected are mentored by the company itself and its entire means are put at their disposal.

Implementation process


  1. Royal Decree 99/2011, of January 28, which covers the regulation of official doctoral teaching programmes.
  2. Conclusions and Recommendations - Seminar on “Doctoral Programmes for the European Knowledge Society” (Salzburg, 3-5 February 2005).
  3. 'Collaborative Doctoral Education: University-Industry Partnerships for Enhancing Knowledge Exchange' Proyect- European University Association (EUA).
  4. http://www.ehea.info - European High Education Area.
  5. http://www.research.philips.com
  6. https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/university/phdfellowship/