Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - BUILDING ON THE PAST (European Doctorate in the Social History of Europe and the Mediterranean)

The European Doctorate (ED) in the social history of Europe and the Mediterranean, entitled 'Building on the past', was a consortium of prominent European university and academy departments of history and related disciplines. The involved institutions were Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Universität Bielefeld, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa, University College London, Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris, Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla and Södertörns Högskola.

The project provided qualitatively innovative research and initial training for researchers in history and relevant fields of science exploring any period of European history, from its classical origins to the present day. The overall leading idea was to increase the awareness of the dimensions of European history among young doctoral fellows. At the same time the ED provided the fellows with a preferential access to the European scientific community. These two aspects were strictly interlinked, as the European scientific community remained to a remarkable extent a project for the future, due to the persistence of strong national traditions in the field of historical research.

The ED's effort was directed towards the training and career development of young scholars, whose intercultural insights and networking capabilities improved in the course of their mobility. The researchers benefited from a period of transnational mobility in the doctoral school of one of the consortium universities, lasting from 3 to 12 months. At the host institution, they were guided by an expert tutor and actively participated in the regular postgraduate training and research seminars.

At the consortium level, the fellows took part in a joint introductory and a joint concluding seminar with other ED fellows of the same academic year and senior academics from each of the ED participating institutions. During the two joint seminars, they respectively presented their projects and evaluated the impact on their research during their mobility period. In addition to the fellows' presentations and collective discussion, the joint seminars offered important scientific highlights represented by keynote lectures on the main themes related to historical research in and on Europe. Furthermore, several training events, such as lectures and workshops, open to undergraduate and doctoral students as well as to teaching staff of the host institutions, were organised or coorganised by the ED. Many of the events included the active participation of ED fellows.

After the successful defence of the PhD thesis at their home institution, former ED fellows could request a formal ED certificate, in addition to the doctoral diploma of their home university, provided that they fulfilled the recommendations of the Conference of European Rectors.

From September 2005 to August 2009, 118 ED fellows from 31 countries benefited from the programme. There was gender balance throughout the programme, with an overall percentage of female fellows of 47 %. Besides ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary history, doctoral students from other disciplines, namely ethnology, anthropology, archaeology, art history, sociology, political science, philosophy and musicology, were selected. A remarkable number of fellows came from central Eastern and south Eastern Europe, and recently also from Turkey.

The project ran since 2002, initially under the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), by six partners, which under Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) became ten. During its eight years of activity the network offered mobility opportunities to 181 doctoral students. This remarkable contribution to the internationalisation of a new generation of carriers and studies in history and related fields in social sciences and humanities was recognised by a publication of the European Commission, entitled 'Building research careers in Europe, update 2007', which illustrated a selection of successful Marie Curie actions.

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