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Statement of Purpose Phd Operation Research

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									The Irish Structured PhD
      An exercise in Benchmarking and/or

                 G. Honor Fagan
  Chair of IUA Deans of Graduate Studies Group
Benchmarking studies anything that will
 result in continuously pursuing
 improvement and excellence to meet
 student customer expectations. It
 compares the information to "best-in-
 class." It gives objective measurements of
 effectiveness. (Benchmarking: A Tool for
 Continuous Improvement, by C. J. McNair,
 CMA and Kathleen H. J. Leibfried, p. 2)
Benchmarking can look at roles, processes
 or strategic issues. It is information
 intensive and focused on measurement.
       Business Approach to
 Benchmarking is the process of
  determining who is the very best,
  who sets the standard, and what that
  standard is – too absolutist
 So a number of years have been
  spent continuously looking to
  international best practice, trying to
  identify who presents the best in
  research training.
            The Key Players
   Irish Universities Association (IUA)
    IUA 4th Level Group (Deans of Graduate
   Higher Education Authority (HEA)
   Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB)
   Research Councils - (IRCHSS) and
   Health Research Board
   Others
             The Policy Context
   OECD Review „doubling of PhD‟s‟ 2003/04-13
    (quantity and quality, major change required in
   Bologna Seminar on “Doctoral Programmes for
    the European Knowledge Society” (Salzburg, 3-5
    February 2005) (10 principles)
   IUA, „Reform of 3rd level and creation of 4th Level
    Ireland‟ (securing competitive advantage in the
    21st century (2005))
   IUQB Good Practice in the Organisation of PhD
    programmes- Guidelines 2005
   „Graduate Education Forum –Key Guiding
    Principles‟ 2006 (HEA/Research Councils)
    Salzburg made relevant to Irish
The development of graduate education will contribute to the creation of a
world-class education system and the transition to a more knowledge driven
society. The development of a quality graduate education system will be
reflected by the following features:
   - The best possible graduate education experience for students
   - The development of a „rounded‟ individual in order to meet the
    challenges of the workplace.
   - A graduate education environment that is internationally attractive
   - A four year programme with apprenticeship and taught courses and
    structured entry and exit points
   - The professionalisation of supervision.
   - PhDs of a calibre that makes them sought after internationally
   - Increased number of PhDs
   - Infrastructure and capability to achieve ground breaking research
   - Collaboration, where appropriate, to deliver complementarity
   - Uniquely differentiated collaboration between academia and enterprise in
    its widest sense.
        International Benchmarking
   IUA 2004 Conference - was effectively a
    benchmarking exercise to help guide the
    development of and innovation in Irish graduate
   This conference led to the 2005 IUA submission
    to government,, „Reform of 3rd level and creation
    of 4th Level Ireland‟ (securing competitive
    advantage in the 21st century (2005))
   The conference proceedings explicitly present and
    discuss the UKGRAD programme and NSF‟s
    IGERT and the Councils follow with strategic
   2008 - IUQB/IUA Conference
   2009 IUA - The Irish PhD
          Strategic Initiatives and
   HRB PhD Scholars
   IRCSET and IRCHSS Graduate Research
    Education Programmes (GREPs)
   HEA‟s PRTLI4, SIF 1,, SIF2, PRTLI5 (International
    Panels, Competitive)
   IUA statement on Structured PhDs
   HEA Review of Structured PhD Education (2008)
    -doubling numbers achieved
    - data on completion rates ….
    - definitions
    - strategic funding (PRTLI 5 and smart economy‟)
   The Programme for Research in Third Level
    Institutions (PRTLI5):
   Benchmarking - 2.84 It is expected that Higher
    Education Institutions will liaise with appropriate
    stakeholders/end users in the development of
    their structured Ph.D. education projects.
    National developments arising from the HEA
    Structured PhD Education Review should guide
    development of initiatives and any international
    benchmark/model upon which the initiative is
    based or informed by should also be identified.
   The structured PhD
   Competitive Funding towards collaboration for
    increasing quality and effectiveness.
       What is the Irish Structured
   Answer to quality benchmark?
    During 2008, the seven Irish universities
    came together to agree on the context,
    components and definition of the Irish
    structured doctorate.
   In 2009 the IUA issued a statement on the
    context and the definition of the
    developing Irish structured doctorate.
       Definition –Irish Universities
              Association (a)
   The core component of a structured PhD
    programme is the advancement of knowledge
    through original research; at the same time the
    structured PhD is designed to meet the needs of
    an employment market that is wider than
   A high quality research experience, training and
    output consistent with international norms and
    best practice;
   To support the original research activity, the
    following elements are included:
    • a formalised integrated programme of education,
      training and personal and professional development
    • the development of discipline-specific knowledge,
      research skills and generic / transferable skills,
    • declared outcomes and graduate attributes in line with
      national and international best practice;
          Definition (continued)
   Supervision by a principal supervisor(s), normally
    with a supporting panel approved by the
   Progress to completion is formally monitored
    against published criteria and supported by
    formal institutional arrangements in line with
    national and international best practice;
   Successful completion and examination of the
    research thesis is the basis for the award of the
    PhD degree;
   Registration is normally for four years for a full-
    time student. (IUA Statement, 2009)
        HEA Additions for Strategic
       Funding (PRTLI 5) Purposes
   Any structured PhD programme to be supported in full or in
    part by the PRTLI Cycle 5 will contain subject specific
    education and generic and transferable skills training

   Appropriate placements, rotations and assignments across
    wide sectors of the economy are eligible for inclusion as
    part of the structured PhD programme

   Supervision will be provided through a principal supervisor
    with a supporting panel

   Funding will be provided for a maximum of four years full
    time equivalent

   Professional doctorates are not excluded from the
    consideration of structured PhD definition – alternative
    forms of theses are also acceptable. (HEA, 2009)
         Quality in Irish Structured
Now an array of funded            IUA 4th Level website.
  structured PhD                  DRHEA website
  programmes in the Irish
  Universities involving:
 Benchmarking

 Inter-university
 Cohorts

 Placements, rotations,
  innovation focus.
 Professional skills and
  advanced specialist skills
 Strongly themed.

 International Panel
  selection and approval
 Critical mass
NUI Maynooth as case study
    Quality in themed inter-institutional
       programmes (Case study)
    Currently there are a number of      In response to the PRTLI 5 call for
     recognized themed structured          expressions of interest our
     inter--institutional programmes       priority research institutes have
     already in place, namely              been involved in consolidating
    : HRB PhD Scholarship                 four coherent and concentrated
     Programme;                            national graduate programmes
    DRHEA PhD Programme in                The (Bioanalysis and Therapeutics
     Economics and Finance;                Structured PhD Programme (with
                                           DCU leading); Digital Arts and
    PRTLI4 Network Mathematics            Humanities (TCD leading);
     Graduate Programme (with TCD);        Telecommunications Graduate
    NIRSA Structured Graduate             Initiative (TCD leading); and
     Programme;                            Smart Society, Smart Economy
    An Foras Feasa Humanities,            (UCC leading). Separately, but
     Technology and Innovation             interlinked, students in
     Structured PhD;                       Chemistry, Physics, Life Sciences,
    National Graduate Programme in        Economics, Social Sciences and
     Environment and Climate Change.       Engineering will avail of specialist
                                           modules and master classes
                                           through DRHEA.
   To avoid creating a two-tier system
    of graduate education, and so that
    the benefit of structured support for
    research students should not be the
    preserve of a minority, it is
    envisaged that by September 2010
    all first year students will be
    registered on a four year full-time
    (or on a 6 year part-time) credit-
    based structured PhD programme.
              Taught Credits
   The structured PhD is to be comprised of
    360 credits over a four year period (or
    part-time over a six year period).
   The taught credits are taken into account
    in the annual review progress and the
    titles of modules and assessment grades
    of Pass, Distinction or Did Not Complete
    are inserted in the student‟s transcript.
   The student‟s original research as
    presented in the thesis (or in such form
    appropriate to their discipline) is the sole
    means of assessment for the award of the
               Benchmarking through
   leading to, and embedded in,          NUI Maynooth‟s Graduate School
    international mobility.                 incorporates both –
   Given the global element doctoral      the cross-border type of
    education now necessarily               internationalization (where
    involves integrating an
    international, intercultural and        finance allows in the form of
    global dimension as a key               international travel
    purpose.                                funds/supports for lab visits,
   Practices to ensure quality in each     new technology familiarisation
    themed/subject specific graduate        and conference presentations)
    programme range from selecting        and the less expensive
    an „excellent‟ international
    programme of a similar size and         internationalization at home
    relevance and benchmarking their        (benchmarking with world
    programme against the specifics         class research centres,
    of this to the use of external          technology enhanced sharing
    examiners from the relevant             of specialist knowledge with
    internationally top ranked              international research
    graduate programmes.                    networks of excellence, close
                                            co-operation with
                                            programmes abroad, and
                                            provision of doctoral level
    Framework for the NUI Maynooth
          Graduate School
   Developed in cognizance of the current global
    context and with reference to Global Networks
    Forces and Forms of Doctoral Education
    Worldwide founded in 2006 (Towards a Global
    PhD? 2008) and in accordance with the Banff
    Principles of Graduate Education (2007).
   Understanding of best practices globally, learning
    from differences, promoting quality and engaging
    stakeholders to improve and advance graduate
    education (Banff Principles of Graduate
    Education,2007) have all been taken on board in
    its tailoring.
   The outcome of these considerations has
    produced a model that has been developed
    through emulating the best of the US and Finnish
        Adaptation of two models
   The NUI Maynooth Graduate School falls somewhere between the
    programme offerings of the United States institutionalized
    Graduate School (there is one Graduate School governing all
    features of the structured programmes at NUI Maynooth) and the
    Finnish network model which is particularly well embedded in the
    international research system and offers a number of good
    examples of excellent inter-institutional and international
   The highly specialized networked graduate programmes
    developed for GREPs, PRTL4 and 5 exemplify the Finnish thematic
    approach, while the overall governance structure in our school
    follows the US model (with fewer taught modules and taken
    throughout the programme specifically tailored to support the
    research project).
   We propose to benchmark ourselves against more than one
    national model, benchmarking different aspects against specific
    national models. For example completion rates are benchmarked
    against the UK model, where completion is a strong focus,
    monitored closely and where timely completion is essential.
    However, we have a 4 year completion expectation to ensure that
    the quality of the graduate education does not deteriorate.
We propose to benchmark our internationalization
  and international linkages using features of the
  Finnish model where they measure
  internationalisation by:
 Use of international lecturers

 Student participation in international conferences

 Student exchanges

 Participation in EU/international doctoral
 International joint research programmes.
   Do benchmarking metrics actually improve
    quality? Which ones do? For whom?
   Who do benchmarking metrics serve?
   Quality for a few? Cohort Funding. A two
    tier system?
   Mainstreaming quality improvements for
    all (disciplines)? (SIF 2 v PRTLI5)
   An exercise in Benchmarking and/or

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