The University of Malta’s Doctoral School was officially inaugurated by the Rector on Monday 11th December 2017. Professor Alfred J. Vella introduced the Doctoral School as a structure intended to ensure that doctoral researchers are provided with a holistic experience in the course of their studies. He explained that the School will seek excellence in all aspects of doctoral education and training and will be working with different stakeholders to ensure that researchers are responsive to national and international needs and developments. In line with current practices abroad, the Doctoral School caters for the provision of essential transferable skills required for the researcher’s professional development. Rector highlighted the fact that doctoral researchers will still be registered with their respective Faculty, Institute, Centre or School and that the Doctoral School is there to provide additional support.
Prof. Nicholas Vella, Director of the Doctoral School, delivered a presentation explaining the School’s mission, reiterating that the School is a central coordinating and support framework for the University’s doctoral researchers and supervisory teams. It operates from an office located in Students House. Prof. Vella provided an outline of the School’s organizational structure, explaining that the School has two committees: the Doctoral Academic Committee and the Professional Development Committee. The Doctoral Academic Committee takes over from the previous Ph.D. Committee and retains its scope and function, whereas the Professional Development Committee is responsible, amongst other matters, to develop cross-disciplinary training courses and workshops intended to nurture skills suited to the researchers’ career path – academic or otherwise – related to communication, career management, research and valorization, and leadership and efficiency. Prof. Vella also explained that a meeting of Doctoral Committee chairs and Doctoral Committee administrators will be convened by the School at least once a year to discuss and inform the School’s strategy. He emphasised that the Doctoral School belongs to all stakeholders and it is only through a collective effort that the School will be a success. The Statute of the Doctoral School can be accessed online.
Prof. Nicholas Vella spoke about the increasing number of doctoral researchers across Europe, including Malta itself. He emphasized that the Doctoral School is committed to promoting and facilitating widespread dissemination of doctoral research at different levels of public engagement. He said that the School has produced a web portal to better guide both prospective applicants as well as current researchers on matters pertinent to them, such as the process of working towards graduation, where to find adequate research tools and resources, and information about fees, funding and scholarships. The web portal can be accessed through the following link.
After the presentation, guests discussed in an informal way the workings of the Doctoral School.