All EMJD-DC students will follow a program with the same structure, regardless of the academic institutions that provide the degree. Also, to ensure a uniform treatment of all students, all four academic institutions will be involved in the program for each individual student, with different roles.
Each student will be involved on a specific research theme. A research theme (with an individual and detailed doctorate project plan) is jointly proposed by two institutions, and the PhD thesis will be co-supervised by two professors, one from each of the proponent institutions. Furthermore, each student is assigned a progress committee with the following structure:
Student progress committee: Advisor from institution A; Co-advisor from institution B; Internal rapporteur from institution C; External rapporteur: a professor from an institution not affiliated with the EMJD-DC; Committee chair: appointed by the EMJD-DC scientific committee, preferably from institution D. The committee chair is responsible to ensure that the milestones and intermediate evaluations are met.
The program is a 3 or 4 year program (depending on the local rules of the participating universities), using a “sandwich” model, where the student spends one year in the institution of the advisor (institution A), and the second year on the institution of the co-advisor (institution B). The third year (omitted for 3 year individual programmes) can be spent in either institution A or B, and in the last year the student returns to institution A. In two of the three summer breaks of the program, the student will perform an internship (typically 3 months). One internship will be spent in an industrial partner associated with the project; the other internship will be spent in a research laboratory associated with the institution of the rapporteur (institution C). This ensures that the student has the opportunity to work in different environments and cultures.
Besides the research work conducted towards the PhD thesis, each student will be required to participate in a number of courses, activities, and internships, and provide a number of deliverables, as enumerated below.
Training modules: Take at least 4 technical modules, at least 2 scientific modules, 2 language courses, and at least 3 soft-skills/management modules (these spread along the studies). The management modules should be linked to internships and participation in the events organized by the EMJD-DC.
The specific training modules are divided into three groups: technical (3-5 modules per partner), management (1-3 per partner) and scientific (7 in total).
Deliverables: The student must
- Carry out at least one internship in an industrial partner and one research internship.
- Attend at least 2 EMJD-DC workshops.
- Provide early progress reports, as part of the two major milestones discussed below.
- Have at least 5 publications in proceedings of relevant international conferences and technical journals. This is to ensure quality, and fewer publications may be accepted, if the publications are on first-tier journals or events with very high-impact factors.
There will be two main milestones in the student work program: 1) at the end of the first year, the student will present a “Thesis Proposal”, and 2) at the end of the second year, the student will present a “Ongoing work report”, including a description of the main issues, early research results and plan for the remaining work. The individual doctorate project plan will be designed to comply with the specific local rules at each of the two universities involved.
These proposals will be evaluated by the progress committee. If the results are not considered satisfactory, the student will be required to prepare and resubmit a new version of the proposal after six months. That second proposal will be prepared under the guidance of one member of the progress committee.
Finally, on a yearly basis, the program will organize an annual workshop (the “Doctorate days”), that will gather together most of all EMJD-DC students. The annual workshop will include public presentations of thesis proposals and ongoing work reports by the students and keynote talks from distinguished invited speakers.
The following figure illustrates the structure of the EMJD-DC program:
Note that, with 4 partners (A,B,C,D), there are 12 different possible configurations for the path of each student. The consortium will balance the students among these paths, to ensure a uniform distribution of students among the partner universities and a balanced involvement of the 4 institutions in the program.