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I'm looking into starting a doctorate next Autumn and am currently exploring my options. I really like the program style of EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training which started sprouting around British Universities a couple of years ago. I'm wondering if any other places in Europe (or outside) have programmes which a similar in structure.

Here's some key qualities of such a Centre:

  • the course is a four-year studentship
  • first year consists of taught electives and small project. It gives one the time to find their footing in an institution and the field and decide on the subject of their further research that would suit them the most.
  • years 2-4 are when the actual research + thesis writing happens
  • all throughout, the course is complemented by courses in general transferable skills (business, management, entrepreneurship, communication, public speaking etc.)

I know American Universities tend to have their grad programmes start with a bunch of requirements in taught courses followed by the actual research. Do I have any alternatives?

If it helps at all the field I'm interested in is robotics and their applications in environmental sciences / preservation.

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That's very country and scientific domain specific and based on policy of government which may change every election cycle.

  • e.g. in UK the established UKRI encapsulates research councils STFC,EPSRC,MRC, ... and fulfils UK specific policy.
  • AFAIK in Germany there are 4 major non-university institutions doing research and PhD training - Max Planck Institute, Leibnitz Institute, Fraunhofer Institute, Helmholtz centres and many others - some of them multidisciplinary.
  • As I'm currently in Czechia (Czech Rep.) there is Academy of Sciences and it's centres some of them connected to relevant universities with doctoral training program. But most are based on individual labs and mostly individual training with courses available in multiple institutions.

Based on my personal experience in UK, in Czechia and little in Germany I cannot generalize. Thus you should do your own research in your domain of interest, find rather individual lab which may fit your scientific domain in a country you'd like to study.

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