Recently, a survey elucidated the current situation in what concerns integration of ECTS credits and Diploma Supplement in third cycle studies in chemistry. 

According to the national reports on Bologna Process implementation and to the relevant national legal regulations, twenty-four countries in the European Higher Education Area operate with a hybrid structured/supervision-based scheme, and only thirteen have adopted a clearly structured setting. The taught component is awarded ECTS credits in thirty educational systems, while the totality of doctoral studies is fully expressed in credits in nine out of them, five more announcing a generalised use of ECTS credits without further law-bidden specifications. In one instance supervision-based doctoral studies are allocated ECTS credits, and in another a structured scheme is not applying any credit system. In parallel, the Diploma Supplement is regularly issued in thirty countries.  

Although actual implementation might so far not always keep on with official legislation, the categorisation clearly reveals that most Bologna Process signatory countries are moving towards the introduction of the Credit Transfer and Accumulation System in the third cycle. 

With the number of systematised third cycle studies steadily increasing, it is urgent that both the research component and the additional taught elements are understood, compared and visualised within mobility schemes, and towards the labour market. The ‘Bologna tools’ necessary to this goal have to be carefully adapted, since doctoral studies are a predominantly research-oriented degree. Hence, while ‘measuring’ them, the notion of workload and learning outcomes becomes more complex and multi-facetted.   

Under these circumstances, it is important to realise what European stakeholders expect from the Diploma Supplement of young researchers having a third cycle degree in chemistry or related disciplines. The needs analysis is covering several types of employers, such as industrial companies, research institutes and public services.  

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