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PhD students and scientific background

The field of micro/nano-electronics has reached today a high-level of complexity and is entering in a period of major moves. As a matter of fact:

  • In this “more Moore” era for CMOS, major challenges are appearing at the level of deep sub-micron technologies, characterization techniques, device physics, device models, circuit design techniques using low-voltage and leaky devices, spread of device parameters, power dissipation and many others.
  • In the so-called “More than Moore” domain, new opportunities are emerging every day with the capability to combine a wide variety of components in a SoC or SiP and microsystems approach, opening the door to numerous innovative applications in RF, automotive, biomedical and numerous others.
  • In the “beyond CMOS” field, totally new components are issued from disruptive research, including SET, nanowires, CNT and others, that request to reinvent circuit and system design techniques.

In the framework of the basic engineering curriculum (Bachelor and Master degrees), it is nearly impossible to cover all these fields in detail up to the state-of-the-art level. For this reason, doctoral training programs (doctoral schools) have been created for allowing PhD students to select a set of advanced courses that fit their needs for their PhD research.

Rules imposed by major European universities for PhD students

Requirements imposed to PhD students for obtaining their degree have known a significant evolution during the last few years, taking into account the increasing complexity of the engineering fields as explained here above.
Even though some differences exist between universities, typical rules can be summarized as follows:

  • Strict admission requirements;
  • Final admission after one year, conditioned by the approval of a jury, on the basis of a sound research program;
  • PhD students must follow a doctoral training program and collect a number of ECTS credits (see 1.1.4 here under). At present the requirements differ from university to university, at EPFL : 12 ECTS, at KULeuven >6 ECTS, at KTH and STUBA >12 ECTS;
  • Research progress reports must be produced annually;
  • At least one scientific publication in an international journal and/or presentation of a paper at a major international conference in the field is mandatory;
  • A final PhD exam must be presented in front of an international jury within a timeframe of typically four years;

ECTS Credits (European Credit Transfer System)

ECTS is a European learner-centered system for credit accumulation and transfer based on the transparency of learning outcomes and learning processes. It aims to facilitate planning, delivery, evaluation, recognition and validation of qualifications and units of learning as well as student mobility. ECTS is widely used in formal higher education and can be applied to other lifelong learning activities.

ECTS credits are based on the workload students need in order to achieve expected learning outcomes. Learning outcomes describe what a learner is expected to know, understand and be able to do after successful completion of a process of learning. They relate to level descriptors in national and European qualification frameworks.
Workload indicates the time students typically need to complete all learning activities (such as lectures, seminars, projects, practical work, self-study and examinations) required to achieve the expected learning outcomes.
For intensive, modular courses such as the courses considered in this doctoral program, a one-week course + half a week of personal work (report, study) in preparation of the evaluation corresponds to 3 ECTS credits.

Credits are awarded to individual students after completion of the learning activities required by a formal program of study or by a single educational component and the successful assessment of the achieved learning outcomes. Credits may be accumulated with a view to obtaining qualifications, as decided by the degree-awarding institution. If students have achieved learning outcomes in other learning contexts or timeframes (formal, non-formal or informal), the associated credits may be awarded after successful assessment, validation or recognition of these learning outcomes.

Problems to be addressed

Today, Engineering Schools or Universities are confronted with the problem of organizing high-level doctoral programs covering several engineering fields at the state-of-the art level, i.e. in direct connection with research. Especially in view of the increasing multidisciplinary nature and content of the emerging research domains, a broad but in-depth coverage of related problems has become indispensable. Though major European universities are at the top level in some specific research fields, they can however hardly cover the whole domain of microelectronics and microsystems, both for scientific and financial reasons. The doctoral program they can offer is therefore restricted to some fields, and can hardly cover all the special topics that could be requested by innovative PhD work.

On the other hand, for PhD students, the choice of doctoral-level courses is mainly restricted today to local courses for various reasons:

  • foreign courses are hardly accessible because most courses are spread on a full semester at a rate of 1 or 2 hours per week;
  • the cost for attending the few existing modular, intensive courses is actually prohibitive for students;
  • ECTS credits are usually not offered today for these courses (no exam organized, no official recognition of the courses);

Another problem to be addressed is the fast moving field of micro-/nano-electronics and microsystems. Some disruptive developments are expected in these fields in the near future, requesting a rapid and coherent answer of the doctoral courses and/or continuous education courses in order to maintain Europe at the state-of-the-art in R&D. An evaluation of medium- and long-term needs in high-level courses is therefore mandatory.

More information: EURO-DOTS - a new EC Support Action for Doctoral Training in Europe, Michel J. Declercq and Herman E. Maes, Presentation at EWMW 2010

A new EC support Action for doctoral Training PP Presentation "A new EC Support Action for Doctoral Training"
A new EC Support Action for Doctoral Training Paper "A new EC Support Action for Doctoral Training"

©EURO-DOTS 2011 - Disclaimer


Important message to the PhD students interested in a EURO-DOTS scholarship!!!

Unfortunately today, on January 15 2015, the EURO-DOTS project has come to an end and no more scholarships can be granted for the time being.

Status EURO-DOTS on 15 January 2015

The EURO-DOTS-2 project has come to an end on 31 December 2014. At this moment there is no prospect about a possible continuation of this initiative, in spite of the huge success of the project and the ambition of the consortium to continue on this path. The success of the past actions cannot be better reflected  than by the more than 220 testimonials (Testimonials) of students whom were granted a EURO-DOTS scholarship in the past 4 years. In these 4 years of EURO-DOTS, 132 course modules have been organized on 61 relevant topics/themes, by 20 course providers from 11 countries. More than 250 lecturers have been involved. More than 300 PhD students, from 19 European countries, have successfully applied for a scholarship. In 2014 40 Courses have been scheduled. The calendar and information on all past courses can be found on Courses. For more up-to-date information on the realizations and conclusions of EURO-DOTS, please go to “EURO-DOTS Conclusions” on Final Reports. The consortium is considering possible actions to keep the EURO-DOTS mission alive and hopefully see the start of a next phase of EURO-DOTS.

EURO-DOTS Testimonials by students

More than 170 testimonials by students can be found on Testimonials of students. We invite you to read through these messages and by these be convinced of the benefit to PhD students of an initiative and project like EURO-DOTS!

EURO-DOTS Testimonials by Course Providers

Five Course Providers share their enthusiasm on the EURO-DOTS initiative and explain why they decided to contribute and be part of the game. You can find their testimonial on Testimonial of Course Providers

EURO-DOTS flyer and poster

The latest version of the EURO-DOTS flyer and poster can be downloaded from the PR and Dissemination section.