Seminars
What does a PhD in 2019 mean?
September 6th, 2019 Luc Dümpelmann, Optoelectronics Group Vindhiya Prakash, Atomic Quantum Optics Group
Alex Duarte, Molecular Nanophotonics



The PhD degree has historically served as a means of entry to the academy. Yet statistics show that nowadays most PhD candidates go on to leave academia after receiving their doctoral degree. Given that, what does a PhD in this day and age signify?

To address this question and understand it better, we want to discuss two related issues:

  1. Should PhD candidates be considered students or employees? PhD candidates work full time and are (usually) paid for it. Yet they are also enrolled at a university to receive a degree at the end of their PhD. I’m sure several of us have faced the question as to whether we’re students or employees without necessarily being able to furnish a satisfactory answer. We hope that a discussion on the issue will help clarify it.
  2. What should be the aim of the PhD Program? Should the PhD program be designed to prepare candidates for a life in academia or should the program adapt to these present times and aim to prepare candidates to fulfill certain roles in industry? The answer to this question ties into how we discuss the issue of the previous question and also broader issues dealing with the aims of education in general.


Our panelists (Luc Dümpelmann, Vindhiya Prakash and Alex Duarte) have studied in different parts of the world and will be presenting their points of view, drawing from their experiences, in their opening statements. After that we will open the discussion to inputs from the audience.

We hope you will be able to attend and add to the discussion.


Friday, September 6, 2019, 17:00. ICFO’s Seminar Room

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