Zdravko Lackovic, President ORPHEUS (Organisation for PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System), School of Medicine
University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia



The modern concept of the PhD degree as a, “research training under supervision”, has been developed in the nineteenth century. PhD training in Europe constitutes the main connection between European higher education and European research areas. According to the Bologna system, doctorate programs constitute the third cycle of higher education and are important as a tool in building the knowledgebased society. However, the main component of this third cycle is “developing learning through novel research” and, in this respect, is clearly different from the first two cycles. Because as a new cycle of high education „new PhD“ provoked many questions. To provide consensus about those question and contribute to harmonization of „third cycle“ organization named ORPHEUS (Organisation for PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System)(www.orpheus-med.com) was created in Zagreb in 2005. ORPHEUS, with a seat in Zagreb, today has nearly hundred member institutions practically from all European countries that are involved in health science education. Up to ORPEHUS held 8 conferences with about 200 or more participants from usually about 100 institutions. Largest gathering of health sciences schools and universities that ever took place in Europe! Given that the majority of PhD graduates end up outside of academia traditional PhD is replaced by a structured PhD that ensures that PhD students receive the necessary training in transferable skills. Most simple definition might be that transferable skills learned in one job or career can also be used in another. Beside deep knowledge about narrow topic of PhD thesis any serious research work requires complete and critical insight into most recent knowledge, capability to select and synthetize a large number of data that are often contradictory, skills to develop project for solving a problem often with new and original approach, skills to organize and execute the project, to critically analyze results, to present them etc. Etc. In summary during research on PhD thesis and additional structured training one should acquire and develop the skills required in any creative work. Obviously those are highly useful skills to create and critically evaluate evidence based knowledge about medicines. In that research education on drugs, with PhD programs at the top, are of ultimate importance.

26Oct