National Framework for Doctoral Education
In 2015, the Higher Education Authority, in partnership with THEA, the Irish Universities Association and QQI, launched Ireland’s National Framework for Doctoral Education. The key aim of this framework is to underpin excellence in all forms of doctoral education in Ireland, and is supported by the institutions and research funders. It provides a set of principles for doctoral education, while recognising the diversity in the Irish higher education system. It is consistent with European and international standards, principles and guidelines, including, for example, the Salzburg principles, the Salzburg II recommendations and the Principles for Innovative Doctoral training.
In 2020, THEA, in partnership with the Higher Education Authority, the Irish Universities Association, Quality and Qualifications Ireland commissioned EUA Solutions (a service managed by the European University Association) to establish a team of external experts to examine the extent to which the National Framework for Doctoral Education is effectively embedded in Irish higher education institutions and how to enhance its implementation and, ultimately, the quality of provision. This external study found that the framework was fully embedded across HEIs, that HEIs have professionalised the delivery of the doctorate and through the framework, Ireland has successfully reformed its doctoral education to be in line with developments in continental Europe and the United Kingdom. These findings reflect the commitment of HEIs to continually improve standards in doctoral education and the importance of the NFDE in providing overarching principles to ensure the quality of the doctorate awarded across all HEIs in Ireland is of the highest standard.The report is available here.
The NFDE Framework was updated in 2023. The Irish research landscape has changed significantly since the NFDE was first published. The minor changes made to the latest iteration of the NFDE aim to build on the previous publication to ensure that doctoral graduates continue to have the necessary skills to flourish in careers both in and outside of academia. As such, the updates reflect the changes in the landscape and also address gaps in the original framework. The latest version is available here.