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Doctoral School of Sciences & Technology


Doctoral School of Sciences & Technology

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Hasselt University wants junior researchers to become excellent research professionals who are broadly employable, both in and outside academia. In order to achieve this mission, junior researchers are encouraged and supported to take their professional and personal development into their own hands.

An important step in preparing for any type of further professional development is becoming (more) aware of the range of skills you have developed and/or want to develop further. This awareness increases your opportunities on the labour market in several ways: it broadens your horizon, enhances your self-knowledge, helps you to get a better view on the match between yourself and a potential new position, and supports you in ‘selling’ yourself in an authentic way.

The doctoral schools are proud to present a newly developed competency framework, that consists of two building blocks:
1. Competency overview for PhD holders
2. Competency profile for PhD holders

Competency overview for PhD holders

The competency overview is a list of 50 competences, potentially mastered by PhD holders, categorized into five clusters:

  • academic research competences,
  • intellectual competences,
  • personal effectiveness,
  • task-orientedness,
  • interpersonal competences.

The (non-exhaustive) list thus contains a mixture of academic and generic skills that might be (further) developed during the course of a PhD.

Of course, one single person is not expected to master all of these competences perfectly. Rather, the list can be used as a source of inspiration when thinking about one’s own strengths. Its main goal is to broaden junior researchers’ field of vision and to help them find the right words to describe their personal competences.

Each competence has been given a definition referring to the specific behaviours through which the competence can be shown.

List of definitions (with competences in alphabetical order per category)

The category of 'academic research competences' mainly consists of technical competences and discipline-specific knowledge, whereas the other categories mainly consist of behavioural competences. Important to consider, however, is that competences always refer to a cluster of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Although the definitions provided are behaviourally oriented, it is very important to also take into account your attitudes and personal characteristics when considering your professional ‘value’. Your competency will show when you combine your knowledge, skills and attitudes to perform well in a certain context.

Competency profile for PhD holders

The profile (under construction) will demonstrate which competences PhD holders are expected to master when obtaining their PhD.

In order to create the profile, input of a wide range of stakeholders is currently being gathered. The goal is to identify which competences are valued and required – and thus considered ‘essential’ to a PhD – in both the academic and non-academic field.

Sources of inspiration: