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Earn a doctorate from two universities

Author: Dr. Kristina Nienhaus

The chemistry is just right between the two cooperation partners, as evidenced by the many years of academic cooperation and student exchange between Bielefeld University and Japan’s Osaka University. Expanding on this, Bielefeld University has now concluded an additional agreement that defines the framework conditions for implementing joint doctoral programmes. This will benefit not only the academics but also the students who can, for example, earn two interrelated doctoral degrees through jointly conducted doctoral programmes and the possibility of conducting research at both universities. The Faculty of Chemistry initiated this agreement and will now carry out the first joint doctoral programmes.

The new agreement takes the existing cooperation between Bielefeld and Osaka to a new level: it specifies the ‘Agreement on Academic Cooperation and Student Exchange’ by defining academic and administrative framework conditions for implementing joint doctoral programmes that are valid for the entire university. Doctoral students from the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Osaka University (GSPS-OU) and from Bielefeld University will have the opportunity to conduct research at both locations within the joint supervision framework known as a cotutelle programme. In addition, they will be able to earn two interrelated doctoral degrees under the joint supervision of members of both cooperation partners at the end of a jointly conducted doctoral examination programme.

At the signing of the agreement (from left): Professor Dr Harald Gröger; Ines Meyer, head of the Department for University Study and Teaching; Merle von der Nahmer from the Department for University Study and Teaching; and Professor Dr Gerhard Sagerer, rector of Bielefeld University.

In addition to the framework agreement for the mutual exchange of doctoral students, individual contracts must be concluded with each doctoral candidate in compliance with the faculty-specific doctoral regulations. For Bielefeld, this applies to all faculties in which research and doctoral studies can be carried out on topics that also link up with work at the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The already existing, very close cooperation between the Faculty of Chemistry and Osaka University resulted in the mutual interest in concluding this university-wide agreement for joint doctoral programmes, from which other faculties can also benefit in the future. Professor Dr Harald Gröger from the Faculty of Chemistry played a key role in this venture.