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Free-range PhDs are healthier

Image: Biz Pic Baby, via Shutterstock

Funders should remember that doctoral students are learners as well as workers, says Anders Bröstrom

A PhD studentship is the pinnacle of scientific training. It ought to provide students with the knowledge, skills and insights to engage with scientific work in a variety of settings in academia and beyond. Ensuring high-quality PhD training is therefore vital for the long-term performance of science, and for building the science base of individual nations.

This suggests that ensuring the quality of PhD training should be an important concern for funders of science. This is not typically the case. PhD training falls primarily to supervisors, departments and faculties. When national agencies, foundations and the European Commission discuss strategies for science funding, the implications for activities such as teaching and training are seldom considered in any depth.

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