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“YEBO!” Project Training Workshop: Toward institutional structures that support the complete PhD life cycle, 25-29 March 2019

17 December 2018

A training workshop is being organised within the framework of the capacity building project “YEBO!” at the University of Pretoria on 25-29 March 2019. The underlying rationale of this workshop is that internationalisation of PhD studies is a shared institutional responsibility. In order to make each PhD experience more international institutions need to make sure that all phases of the PhD life cycle are adequately supported: before embarking on a PhD candidates need to have access to information and services with regard to funding and international mobility; their registration at the university should be free of any unnecessary barriers (e.g. a uniform registration system for all, incl. international candidates); upon registration they should have access to various services for personal/professional development, for short (e.g. conferences) and long term (e.g. research stays, joint supervision) international mobility; quality mechanisms are to be put in place to ensure retention of PhD students (e.g. annual progress reports, supervisor training, etc.).

Although the full PhD life cycle and all possible structures (on the institutional level as well as in the faculties) will be taken into consideration during the workshop, particular attention will be given to the following two topics: (1) structures/services (e.g. IROs) to support international mobility and collaboration on PhD level; (2) structures/services (e.g. Doctoral Schools) to enhance the international quality of the PhD research.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop participants

– Will have a clearer view of their own responsibilities and of those of other institutional structures/services with regard to the topics at hand;

– Will have shared experiences, ideas and best practices with their colleagues from other South African and European universities, based on their own institutional background;

– Will have been inspired by best practices with regard to the topics at hand at other South African or at European universities;

– Will have laid the foundation of an implementation plan and/or an institutional strategy with regard to the topics at hand.

Workshop programme

25 March – Arrival of the participants

26 March – Setting the scene: (1) Presentation on project and training objectives; (2) Panel discussion on the South African legislative framework; (3) Presentation of each institution’s needs and challenges; (4) Getting to know each other/networking

27 March – Structures/services to support international mobility and collaboration on PhD level (mobility funding, attracting international researchers, joint degrees and cotutelle, setting up international (research) networks, etc.)

28 March – Structures/services to enhance the international quality of the PhD research (researcher development (research as well as transferable skills), Doctoral Schools, TTO’s, libraries, etc.)

29 March – Evaluation & Presentation of each institution’s lessons learnt and implementation plans


After the general presentation of the topic and of the participating teams on day one, on day two and three the two selected topics will be approached in two ways: during the morning session there will be two presentations by experts as well as up to two presentations of case studies (by participants); during the afternoon session specific discussion questions with regard to the topic will be further explored in small group breakout sessions – about 10 participants per group, with individual group facilitators. These group discussions will be intense, interactive and dynamic, demanding input from each of the participants. The workshop will end with a group evaluation, incl. presentation of implementation plans per institution.

The YEBO! project is an international collaborative project involving 7 South African and 5 European universities. Participating universities in South Africa are the University of the Western Cape (UWC, Cape Town); Tshwane University of Technology (TUT, Pretoria); Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT, Cape Town); Central University of Technology (CUT, Bloemfontein); University of Pretoria (UP, Pretoria); University of Stellenbosch (US, Cape Town) and the University of Cape Town (UCT, Cape Town).

The European institutions are Technical University of Berlin (TUB, Germany); Vilniaus Gedimino Technikos Universitatas (VGTU, Lithuania); Uppsala University (UU, Sweden); Ghent University (UG, Belgium) and University of Montpellier (UM, France). There are also three European organisations involved: CIRAD (France); EUA and Coimbra Group.

The project focuses on internationalization of PhD studies, promotion of internationalization of PhD studies in South Africa and Europe, increasing the number of PhD students and staff trained in the internationalization of PhD studies as well as facilitation of access to information relating to funding, mobility and administrative procedures of PhD programmes.

For more details on the YEBO Project: http://yebo.edu.umontpellier.fr/

YEBO Platform: http://yebo.mydpwebsite.co.za/