Overview

SUBJECT AREA | OBJECTIVES

SUBJECT AREA

The Doctoral Programme in ‘Governance, Knowledge, and Innovation’ offered by the Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, and organized by the Centre for Social Studies (CES), initiated in 2005/2006, is opening its seventh series in 2017/2018. The programme is adapted to the organisational forms proposed by the Bologna Declaration for the 3rd Cycle of Higher Education. Presently the third, fourth and fifth series are on-going and comprises research seminars and research work in the preparation of doctoral dissertations. Students are developing research on themes linked to the economics of innovation and knowledge, the institutions of social economics, innovation in public administration, social movements, participatory processes in the definition of public policies, industrial property rights and traditional knowledge, art and health. Examples of thesis subjects include: institutions of social economy, innovation in public administration, housing credit and the financial system, the crisis and the Economic and Monetary Union, values, and valuation in environmental policies, the role of patient organizations within the health system, the perceptions and narratives of illness, global health challenges and knowledge networks, European policies and higher education, social movements, participation in the definition of public policies, industrial property rights and traditional knowledge.

PhD students come to Coimbra from diverse cultural backgrounds and belong to a genuinely international centre. CES teaching and research reflect this diversity. Our researchers have expertise in a wide range of topics and countries and our students are caring out research in four continents. Unlike some departments where students are expected to follow the research agendas of their supervisors, we are open to any proposal where we think we can help PhD students fulfil their objectives. The diversity in our student cohort lies partly in the fact that several of our PhD students come to us already with career experience, sometimes taking time off from work. Others have recently obtained their Masters and want to research more deeply into their chosen field. Others, having recently concluded the Master’s degree, intend to develop a project in order to explore more deeply their research field.

 

OBJECTIVES

The Doctoral Programme takes up a set of themes of major importance in the governance of contemporary societies and economics, especially when we face the challenges of innovation. Right from the start, the notion that governance has become extraordinarily complex and is a multi-dimensional process mobilising several methods for coordination – the State, the market, the community, networks, business and entrepreneurial hierarchies. The word ‘governance’ and its recurring use derives precisely from the fact that analysis cannot be concentrated on the market, or on the State, or on entrepreneurial strategies taken individually. Thus, it has become essential to coordinate players, processes and specific dynamics, and naturally the institutional dimension of economic and social performance is brought into play.

The processes of governance are equated particularly in relation to the central dynamics of contemporary societies and economies, as are innovation or, in a more broader manner, the production and usage of knowledge. These interactions are analyzed focusing on two different approaches (corresponding the two components of the programme), namely, usage and production of knowledge and innovation in the context of the dynamics of economy and public policies, and the analysis of their social impacts and the manner by which different processes of governance seek to identify and mitigate such impacts. These two approaches, even if with different focuses, are not opposing. Precisely one of the more innovative contributions of the present programme dwells in the manner by which an enriching dialogue between the two approaches is pursued, assuring seminars common to both components.

The approach prosed is, therefore, deeply inter-disciplinary. Value is given to the new disciplinary relations, and value is given to the most innovative forms of knowledge production within the disciplines, thus also giving meaning to the diversity of social, organisational, political and institutional contexts in which knowledge is produced. In addition, special emphasis is placed on knowledge production, dealing with the politics of science, the social impact of knowledge and of technologies and the relations with innovation policies, whether where public policies are concerned, or when they are inscribed in broader social structures and processes.

The Programme’s aims thus cover the goal of attaining more in-depth conceptual and analytical insight into contemporary societies, the institutions, players, policies and relational processes which provide them with substance and specificity, be it historical, geographic, or political. The aim is thus to attain high levels of theoretical awareness and analytical capacity, with a view to studying and understanding contemporary societies, the policies and the institutional processes of governance and innovation.

"At CES, the recognition of acquired knowledges throughout academic and professional paths of each PhD student is guaranteed. Seminars take into account that diversity and challenge our knowledges from a critical perspective, allowing from the beginning for in depth reflections on the individual research interests."

Samuel Vilela, all but dissertation (Portugal)