A network of leading European universities has decided that it will adopt a joint quality assurance mark for PhD qualifications with the aim of harmonizing PhD standards across Europe, rectors of the Coimbra Group announced at a meeting in Siena last Friday (April 16).

Founded in 1985, the Coimbra Group gathers 39 of the older universities in Europe, including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Louvain, Montpellier, Gottingen, Heidelburg, Dublin, Bologna, Siena, Pavia, Leiden, Coimbra, Barcelona, and Granada.

“The aim is to foster inter-university cooperation. We are focusing on the development of a common area of European doctoral studies,” Piero Tosi, chairman of the Conference of Italian University Rectors and Coimbra's newly appointed president, told The Scientist. “We need to define quality standards and harmonize teaching paths.”

Starting next year, PhD students of the Coimbra Group universities will be able to attend courses of other institutions of the group without paying...

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