PhD Training

The Horizon 2020 MSCA ITN programme offers attractive and highly competitive salary and working conditions for Early Stage Researchers (ESR) undertaking a PhD. Successful candidates will receive living allowance along with monthly mobility allowance and where applicable an additional family allowance, as well as funding for research travel, equipment, material and training. Successful candidates will be registered with the PhD programme relevant to their academic discipline (law, ethics, computer science) of their primary academic supervisor, and will be supported by a supervisory team draw from academic and industry research from across the network. 

In addition to pursuing individual PhD research, successful candidates will benefit from a rich interdisciplinary, international and cross academic-industry training programme. This will consist of secondments to other academic partners and industry partners, local institute PhD training programmes and a dedicated training programme  to develop skills in interdisciplinary research, responsible research and innovation, public engagement and communication, research commercialisation and intellectual property and winning research funding.

As an ESR , the appointee will become adept in a broad range of multidisciplinary skills and competences required to pursue a career in both academic and industrial settings. This training network interlocks legal, ethics and knowledge engineering approaches to address multiple societal and business problems raised by widespread collection and analytics of personal data. The three disciplines are therefore given equal emphasis. So while each ESR will gain a PhD in one of the three disciplines, they will also receive strong individual inter-disciplinary research training opportunities through co-supervision and inter-institutional secondments. The teams of multi-disciplinary ESR will receive continuous interdisciplinary training by working closely together on joint deliverables, joint publications and through collaborating on presenting their research results to the consortium, to the public and to industrial audiences. This collaboration will be via remote meetings and face-to-face collaboration through co-location during secondments and network wide research and training event.

The training will equip ESR with the competencies to become:

  • An expert in their discipline of research, while having knowledge of cutting-edge methods and technologies in related disciplines: This is in part discipline-specific and in part interdisciplinary. For Legal Research: proficiency in locating and understanding secondary and primary legal sources and in forming and communicating a legal opinion on a new issue arising from technology use. For Ethics Research: proficiency in identifying ethical problem with a given data analytics application; in selecting and applying ethical theory to the understanding of an ethical problem; and in translating ethical understanding to stakeholders, including designers and users of technology and policy makers. For Knowledge Engineering Research: proficiency in knowledge capture and formalisation methods and in mapping knowledge models taken from different sources or viewpoints. ESRs would also gain proficiency in survey and questionnaire design and proficiency in searching and identifying publications using large-scale databases.
  • Skilled in presenting their results in writing and orally, including communicating the results beyond an academic audience: The disseminating skills and include: proficiency in: writing and structuring academic papers; presentation to academic, public policy and professional audiences; dissemination and communication using the Internet and social media; as well as sound knowledge of English Academic Writing.
  • Experienced in designing and managing research projects, including cooperation with the private sector: The skills include proficiency in: cooperation in intercultural, interdisciplinary teams; providing and receiving comments; project management for inter-disciplinary, inter-sectorial and multi-site projects; writing fundraising research proposals; and peer review of academic papers.
  • Aware of ethical issues related to their discipline of research and the expertise in dealing with research ethics issues; skills to be gained are interdisciplinary and include proficiency in avoiding issues associated with plagiarism and academic fraud on the basis of established professional ethical standards and guidelines and proficiency in dealing with issues related to privacy of individuals and enterprises and to respondent burden on the basis of established professional ethical standards and guidelines.

ESR training is implemented through:

  • Local training, the provides the basic discipline-specific theoretical and methodological knowledge and transferable skills
  • Network-wide training, primarily delivered via three, week-long training workshops delivering tutorials and active learning in transferable skills
  • Research-based training, where ESR develop high-level research skills through investigations and generation of results for peer-reviewed under mentorship of an international and inter-sectorial supervision team
  • Secondments and internships, where ESRs will apply their research skills to a problem in a commercial or public policy research environment
  • Extra-academic training, where ESR will learn through external communication and public engagement activities and training

Network Wide Training: Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the ETN, a strong emphasis is placed on design of the Network Meetings and Training Workshops and the collaborative research opportunities to work in research teams collaborating across the legal, ethics and knowledge engineering disciplines on a wide range of multidisciplinary research problems as well as discipline-specific and transferable skills training.

At the training workshops, doctorial consortium sessions will enable ESRs to present their individual research project with the emphasis on effective cross-disciplinary communication and feedback from the supervisor cohort, other experienced researchers, industrial partners, policy influencers and peer ESR. The training workshops offer tutorials on discipline-specific knowledge in methodologies and techniques as well as on transferrable skills from experts within the participating organisations.

All these pillars will be linked together to create an individual Personal Career Development Plan (PCDP), which will define and evaluate the goals of every ESR. The PDCP will be developed within the first month of each ESR’s engagement in consultation with their supervision team. The PDCP will be composed of the career goals broken down into scientific research goals and training challenges; the disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and academic-industry collaboration experience and training and the necessary dissemination, exploitation and communication achievements, which together will deliver the ESR’s career goals.