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Keywords:

  • European higher education;
  • research and teaching;
  • research training;
  • doctoral studies;
  • student experiences;
  • research evaluation

The evidence about the relationship between research and teaching at the level of doctoral education is far from conclusive. The focus of this study is to examine how teaching and research are related at doctoral level, especially when students' voices are heard, in two contrasting higher education systems — France and the UK.

Models from Schimank and Winnes, and Clark were used to analyse the contrasting research and teaching configurations at institutional level in France and the UK. France has a Pre-Humboltian system of research and teaching, whilst the UK has a Post-Humboltian one.

Two empirical studies were then drawn on: to measure teaching, a questionnaire composed of two major dimensions of research training experiences, supervision and research environment, was distributed to full-time doctoral students in Economics & Management and Chemistry in France and was compared to a survey carried out earlier in Education and Chemistry in the UK. To measure research, the result of the CNRS (National Centre of Scientific Research) research classification in France was used. In the UK, the corresponding measurement, RAE score (Research Assessment Exercise) was adopted.

Strikingly similar findings were found in the two countries. First, there is little relationship between the departmental research performance and the quality of doctoral education as experienced by PhD students in either country. Next, this lack of significant relationship is found across all three disciplines. Thirdly, more consistent results were observed in France than in the UK. There is in-depth discussion with regard to these findings.