Tbilisi: International Doctoral School successfully established

The foundation provided around 800,000 euros for the substantial and sustainable improvement of PhD training in Georgia. Ilia State University and the Rustaveli Foundation also participated in the financing of the pilot program.

Eine blonde Frau steht auf einer Bühne und spricht in ein Mikrofon
Nana Khetsuriani spoke on behalf of the young scholars supported in the Lehmann-Haupt International Doctoral Program. Foto: Ilia State University, Tiflis

The project "Structured Training - Quality Assurance - Freedom of Thought" started in 2018, funded in the Foundation's Central Asia-Caucasus Initiative (meanwhile terminated). The long-term goal was to establish an International Doctoral School (IDS) to stimulate reforms in doctoral education in Georgia and the region as a whole and enrich the higher education culture with new elements in line with international standards. The first step in this direction was the multidisciplinary, four-year Lehmann Haupt Doctoral Program, designed jointly with the University of Göttingen, which tested a cotutelle model and introduced a new way of training doctoral students at Ilia State University (ISU). The program included 12 PhD students from nine disciplines, four postdocs and 24 supervising scientists, twelve each from Tbilisi and Göttingen. The successful completion of this pilot program and the establishment of the IDS at Ilia State University was recently celebrated with a ceremony and a graduation ceremony.

The fact that the IDS was so quickly established as an umbrella organization for all future doctoral students at ISU was due, among other things, to the fact that representatives from all faculties of Ilia State University were involved in the disciplinary diverse pilot program: Thus, the ideas tested there could be quickly implemented throughout ISU. At the ceremony, the Georgian and German speakers emphasized how fruitful the exchange between the university systems had proven to be. In the long mutual process of getting to know each other and in the negotiations between the institutions involved on the unification of the completely different regulations, the partners had also conveyed practices that could be beneficial for both systems. And there are signs of further success: Building on the advantages of IDS, the Georgian Ministry of Education plans to help all universities in the country establish similar units for PhD training.