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UNICA, the "Institutional Network of the UNIversities from the CApitals of Europe", has 44 members and combines the strength of over 130,000 staff and 1,500,000 students in 33 countries. It was founded in 1990 and is one of the leading institutional academic inter-university networks in Europe. Its role is to promote academic excellence, integration and co-operation between member universities throughout Europe. It seeks also to be a driving force in the development of the Bologna Process and the Lisbon Strategy, as well as to facilitate the integration of universities from Central and Eastern Europe into the European Higher Education Area. The network is characterized by a wide geographical coverage and a manageable size. This diversity enriches the entire network and provides a forum in which universities can reflect on the demands of strategic change in university research, education and administration. Members come together formally in working groups to solve current problems faced by higher education institutions. UNICA has a Secretariat based in Brussels were four people are working full time for the organisation. The Secretariat will be in charge of the operational and financial management of the project at the partner level.

The objectives of this project are in accordance with the discussions held in several meetings and trainings on doctoral education and PhD supervision organised within UNICA working group on doctoral education. Based on its experience and contacts, and seizing its European-wide character, UNICA will provide a forum for exchanging ideas and good practices, therefore for disseminating the results of the project through its different working groups (Doctoral education, IROs, Bologna Lab, etc.). UNICA will also facilitate the implementation of activities through its structures, and assure the quality of its outcomes thanks to its direct access to experts in doctoral studies. Having a network of universities behind this initiative is important for the quality of the results as it provides a good sample of the present reality of doctoral studies across Europe. In addition, the UNICA internal and external activities will offer an opportunity to integrate new ideas and to disseminate the project and its results.

UNICA is a collective associate member of European University Association (EUA) and the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE), an independent service of EUA dedicated to doctoral education. In the framework of its EUA-CDE membership, UNICA organises the UNICA PhD Master Class.


Kris Dejonckheere

has been UNICA Secretary General since 2001. She holds degrees in Law and Ethics. After graduating from the University of Ghent, Belgium, she was called to the Bar in the Court of Appeal of Ghent before taking up a role of Assistant Lecturer at Rijksuniversiteit Ghent. She taught Law and Ethics in several higher education institutions. In 1994, she was appointed Political Advisor for University matters to the Flemish Minister for Education. Since 2001 she holds the position of Secretary General of UNICA, an institutional network of 43 universities from the capitals of Europe. As head of an international network of universities that promotes the Bologna Process & the Lisbon Agenda, she has an extensive knowledge on European higher education and the processes taking place in the European Higher Education Area.
Kris Dejonckheere can count many years of experience in managing of and contributing to European projects funded under Programmes such as LLP or ERASMUS Mundus. Currently she manages the Service Contract "Information Project on Higher Education Reform III" (Part B - Tempus partner countries) with the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), which is carried out in cooperation with Brussels Education Services.

Marta Wasowska

joined the UNICA Network's Brussels-based office in autumn 2010. She is in charge of the coordination of different events and activities organized by the Network and functions as a liaison officer between the UNICA Secretariat and UNICA member universities. She equally supports the coordination of those EU-funded projects in which UNICA is a partner. Marta is actively involved in the organisation of the UNICA PhD MASTER CLASS Seminars on doctoral supervision and the activities of the UNICA PhD Officers working group.

This project has been funded by the European Commission DG EAC through the Lifelong Learning Programme. This website reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
University of Vienna, Berggasse 7, 1090 Vienna, Austria, lucas.zinner@univie.ac.at