HayKa: improving the structure of Madagascan doctoral schools

Coordinated by the University of Montpellier and carried out in collaboration with six Madagascan universities, the University of Mons in Belgium and the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), the HayKa project aims to improve cross-disciplinary training and develop the employability of doctoral students in Madagascar. It is financed by the European Union's Erasmus+ program, with a budget of 700,000 euros over a three-year period.

 "The project focuses on 10 areas of work, ranging from global management to interdisciplinarity, training for doctoral schools and trainers, links with the private sector, the use of digital tools, management and internationalization, quality and communication," explains Marc Bouvy, scientific coordinator of the project and director of research emeritus atIRD.

Last February, nearly 30 researchers from 9 doctoral schools and 6 universities gathered in Antananarivo, Madagascar, for the kick-off meeting of the HayKa project. Over the course of five days, a collaborative approach was adopted to explore all areas of work and draw up an action plan for the next three years.

Improving the quality of doctoral training 

HayKa includes a multi-level training process to improve the quality of doctoral training. Indeed, the project plans to develop doctoral students' soft skills and know-how in addition to their scientific knowledge, particularly in communication, stress management, management, emotional intelligence and so on. " This step is essential for the personal and professional development of future researchers, as it enables them to reinforce the learning of cross-disciplinary tools and to better promote their skills to employers ", explains Marc Bouvy.

Teacher-researchers will play a key role in the program, and will benefit from training in doctoral supervision through two sessions scheduled for 2024. The program aims to train around thirty supervisors per year, as well as administrative and technical staff from doctoral schools, to ensure better follow-up of doctoral students. In addition, doctoral school directors, administrative and technical staff and teacher-researchers will take part in a study visit to the University of Montpellier in 2025 to exchange best practices and identify opportunities to enhance the quality of doctoral training.

Create a solid network between companies and young graduates 

In May, UM's Service commun universitaire d'information, d'orientation et d'insertion professionnelle(SCUIO-IP) will be launching a survey to identify issues relating to doctoral training. The aim of the survey is to collect data on Madagascan PhD graduates, whether they are currently studying or have graduated five years ago. "At the launch workshop, discussions were extremely enriching, testifying to the strong involvement of the partners, who were fully committed to the project. Over 550 people, including 300 doctoral students and more than 250 PhDs, are concerned by this study", emphasizes Elliott Cholet, project manager at UM's International Relations Department. Ultimately, this survey will enable us to analyze their academic careers, their post-graduate professional situation and their aspirations in terms of training and support for professional integration.

Finally, Hayka plans to organize events to boost the employability of future PhDs in Madagascar, such as Doctoriales®, doctoral student-business meetings, a summer university, as well as the creation of a platform dedicated to PhDs and the pooling of working tools. " Several local companies have already expressed their interest in future events by providing letters of intent, and a network of professionals is being set up to ensure the project's success," concludes Elliott Cholet.     

Partner universities :

  • University of Antananarivo: Ecole doctorale de physique appliquée (EDPA) and Ecole doctorale Agriculture, élevage et environnement (ED A2E) 
  • University of Antsiranana: Doctoral school on renewable energies and the environment (EDT ENRE) 
  • University of Fianarantsoa: Ecole doctorale gouvernance et société en mutation (ED GOUVSOMU) and Ecole doctorale modélisation-informatique (EDMI) 
  • University of Mahajanga: Ecole doctorale ecosystèmes naturels (EDEN) and Ecole doctorale génie du vivant et modélisation (EDGVM) 
  • The University of Montpellier