International networks and the PhD: The Advancement of European Biomedical and Health Science PhD Education by Cooperative Networking

Mission of the Conference
Throughout Europe there is a growing emphasis on PhD education as the "third cycle" in the Bologna process. For the health sciences, this provides new opportunities for the advancement of clinical research as well as for strengthening basic research in the area. This is, however, dependent on the content and quality of the PhD degree, and it was for this reason that ORPHEUS was established ( (Organisation for PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System) held its first conferences in 2004 and 2005, where standards for the health science PhD were discussed and defined. In particular the "Zagreb declaration" was formulated, which defined the expected content of a PhD thesis in the biomedical context.

The third conference in 2007, attended by representatives of about 50 medical schools, discussed the role of clinical PhD programmes in graduate schools in health science. The fourth meeting held in 2009 in Aarhus hosted more than 150 delegates, who set the basic standards for the PhD degree in biomedicine and health sciences. The position paper from each of these conferences can be found on

The forthcoming fifth Conference, to be held April 8-10, 2010, in Vienna is on the theme “The Advancement of European Biomedical and Health Science PhD Education by Cooperative Networking”. On this topic, keynote speakers will provide impulses that we will further discuss in workshops to elaborate guidelines and strategies on the following issues:

  • How to manage joint PhD degrees between different countries?
  • How to manage a PhD education partnership between universities,research institutes and scientific societies?
  • How to manage a PhD education partnership between academia and industry?
  • How to promote mobility of students from less developed European countries?
  • How to promote “healthy” brain drain and brain gain to raise the scientific potential both in the higher developed as well as in the less developed countries?
  • How to raise funds for joint PhD programmes, identify gaps in the national and EU funding systemssuch as
  • PhD programmes that are missing in a variety of countries or
  • EU programmes that exclude basically less developed countries and
  • how to lobby for these new initiatives?

Everybody interested in developing the PhD degree as a cornerstone of European biomedical and health science research is cordially invited to come to Vienna to attend ORPHEUS 2010.


The Conference was a huge success: 196 participants from 114 academic institutions from 39 different countries attended the Conference.

» The final programme and the abstract book of the Conference.