The two main project goals are: to promote the current European landscape of doctoral programmes in Serbia and to develop and implement a pilot Doctoral Programme according to the European innovative recommendations with comprehensive approach to information technologies, where foundational theories are fully integrated in a pragmatic engineering approach. Two more specific goals of the project are: to develop new teaching methods and materials for core courses, trainings in transferable skills, and continuing education, as well as to build a research environment for the Doctoral School linking the EHEA and ERA.

  1. The first aim will be achieved through the promotion of a coherent system of doctoral programmes in Europe and the identification of essential conditions for successful implementation of structured doctoral programmes in Serbia. Activities of this outcome will consist of the following actions:
    • to identify and assess the strength and weakness of individual doctoral programmes in Serbian institutions;
    • to learn what has been achieved in the implementation of structured doctoral programmes at EU consortium members universities;
    • to exchange good practice in teaching transferable skills and supervision;
    • to add a European perspective and international perspective to the development of doctoral programmes in partner country institutions.
  2. The second aim will be achieved by implementing at UNS and MI-BG an International Doctoral School in Information Technologies, similar to the one jointly run by the Universities of Udine, Siena and Pisa CNR (Italy), the Technical University of Valencia (Spain), the University of Nice and INRIA Sophia Antipolis (France).
    The activities of the second Project outcome aim to address the following three issues, which are along the lines of the recommendations of the European University Association Doctoral Programmes Project:
    • Structure and organization of the Doctoral School.
    • Supervision, monitoring and assessment.
    • Mobility, European collaboration and perspectives of joint doctoral degree.

Structure and organization of the Doctoral School.

Doctoral training is markedly different from the first and second cycle of higher education. Its main characteristic, which makes it specific, is that the doctoral candidate has to be led to gain the ability to perform original and independent research through a group work within a specific discipline. The reorganization of doctoral training towards structured programmes and training in a wide range of transferable skills in courses and modules requires adequate attention.

Structure: The school will be organized in two phases: a taught-structured phase with mandatory and voluntary courses and modules and a research phase. The school will offer a wide choice of courses which will provide training through lectures, seminars, colloquia and summer schools. They aim to provide scientific training (mandatory), as well as training in transferable professional skills (voluntary). ETCS and Duration: The doctoral school lasts three years. Following the new Serbian Law on Higher Education and in accordance with the Bologna Declaration, the Doctoral degree studies shall be given: 180 ECTS credits at least, with a compulsory previous total of at least 300 ECTS credits earned through the core academic and master’s degree courses. ECTS will be a useful tool in the structured phase of the school and for international mobility modules.

Form: The teaching activities will follow the schema established by the existing international Doctoral school:

First year: Doctoral students will have to attend advanced courses and pass a final exam for each course. These courses can be on subjects not directly related to the previous background of the doctoral students. The courses will consist of classes based on new teaching methods (the third Project outcome), seminars and assisted individual studies. The courses attended in any institute (UNS or MI-BG) will be automatically recognised by the other institutes. At the end of the first year the doctoral student will have to make a report on his/her doctoral activities. Second year: Continuation of the studies and research activities. A continuous collaboration between the partner universities awarding the degree will be granted and a study period abroad through a summer school will be necessary. At the end of the second year the doctoral student will have to make a report on his/her doctoral activities.

Third year: The doctoral student will complete his/her research activities and will write and present a doctoral thesis. At the end of the third year the doctoral student will have to make a report on his/her doctoral activities.

The final doctoral defense will consist in a public discussion of the doctoral thesis. The thesis will be written in English and Serbian. The thesis will be evaluated by a Committee, which will be formed by at least three members – one of which should be from abroad.

Core courses and training in transferable skills:

Content and structure of the existing core courses to be up-dated: Mathematical logic in computer science; Computability models; Programming paradigms; Semantics of programming languages; Game theory; Applied abstract algebra; Operations research; Many-valued logics; Clones of operations; Digital geometry; Image analysis; Visualization geometry of 3D space; Distributed computer systems; Theory of algorithms and programming; Object oriented technologies.

Content and structure of the new core courses to be created: Models of mobile and distributed computing; Calculi for mobile processes; Process algebras and concurrent systems; Security; Web Technologies; Fuzzy image analysis; Probabilistic system decision; Cryptology and information processing; Research methodology and techniques.

Content and structure of new training in transferable skills: Scientific writing, Communication skills and ethics; Networking and team-working; Leadership skills; Time management; Career management including job-seeking techniques.

Supervision, monitoring and assessment are critically important for the quality of the experience and training of doctoral candidates. The project focuses on qualification requirements, responsibilities and duties of supervisors; training of supervisors; workload of supervisors; supervision models; doctoral candidates’ progress assessment; requirements for the doctoral thesis and the follow-up “tracking” of doctoral candidates’ career outcome. Multiple supervision models are considered as more open and transparent. The experience of EU consortium members will be necessary for this activity.

Mobility, European collaboration and perspectives of joint doctoral degree.

The Doctoral School should foresee three types of mobility for students: International cooperation through work in international research teams or participation in summer schools where students will be trained in research; Regional inter-institutional cooperation through the existing network at MI-BG between all Universities in Serbia; Cooperation with the non-university sector, where students will develop skills for working in non-academic institutions.

3. The third Project aim is to develop new teaching methods and materials for core courses, trainings in transferable skills, and continuing education. Supporting literature for new courses will be obtained or developed for both lecturers and students, presentation material, lecture notes and material for exercises. An on-line database with multilingual e-learning materials will be developed as well as tools to edit materials and maintain the database. Continuing education will be based on e-learning methods.

4. The fourth Project aim is to build a research environment, for the (second) research phase of the Doctoral School, for linking EHEA and ERA. The students of the UNS have been very active in all the reform processes at the university and faculty level and they very knowledgeable of the various nuances of the Bologna Process. The main handicap in their course of studying has been the lack of mobility schemes, so it is essential to provide them with more opportunities of study and research experiences abroad. However, internationalization is not only a matter of crossing borders and should not be measured solely in numbers of exchanges and projects that involve foreign partners. Internationalization starts with the curriculum: it is the content and the orientation of the study programs that influences whether or not students’ time at the University has prepared them to understand and appreciate the value of being a citizen of the world. For internationalization to be a true trademark of the UNS, the curricula at all Faculties should reflect the commitment to look beyond the (national, cultural, disciplinary) borders. That is why it is essential to improve and design the new doctoral studies with this crucial international component and why the Project has great significance to the students of UNS. The close research collaboration between UNS and MI-BG, and the joint national and international projects in the field of information technology will be a fruitful basis to provide a research environment for the doctoral candidates. This research environment should be extended also to non-academic institutions. To this aim, the support and good-practice of INRIA will be valuable, since INRIA has a longstanding tradition of collaborations both with universities and industrial partners.

Equipment: Acquisition of hardware and software is a very important issue of this project, since most of the calls for projects, both educational and research, do not consider anymore computers as “equipment”, but regular everyday facility. This is exactly how it is in Europe and how it should be in Serbia as well. However, our reality does not yet meet these standards – up to the latest questionnaire, 1 out of 10 students at UNS has access to a computer for individual work (he/she does not necessarily possess this computer). The score at the University level is even worse.