Ideas, Debates, and More: Meeting of European and Asian Higher Education Researchers Series

On (In)Visibility of Doctoral Researchers and Reframing the Doctorate for the 21st Century

Speaker: Professor Rosemary DEEM  Royal Holloway University of London

Chair: Dr Hugo HORTA  The University of Hong Kong

Date: June 17, 2022 (Friday)

Time: 16:00-17:15 (HK Time) By zoom

Registration: Click here


The presentation will explore, using recent literature, how doctoral education is currently positioned, in relation to changes in academic work and recent critiques of the doctorate (Cardoso et al., 2020 ; Whittington & Barnes, 2021). The discussion focuses on Europe in order to lend some specificity to the argument but has relevance for other HE systems as well. Two research questions, one about doctoral researcher visibility/invisibility and the other concerning how holistic rather than piecemeal changes to doctoral education might be approached, are posed. The paper first considers the extent to which doctoral researchers are rendered invisible in their universities and what the negative and positive consequences of this are for doctoral candidates. A conceptual framework for examining invisible paid or unpaid work, drawing on Hatton’s (2017) research about invisible paid work and disadvantage, is used to shape this discussion. The same framework is used to discuss recent critiques of the doctorate and changes to academic work and how the latter might reshape doctoral education. Finally, the paper examines a possible holistic reframing of the doctorate, drawing on work by Morley (2013), exploring how doctoral candidates, universities as organisations and the knowledge that feeds into doctoral theses, could all be changed for the benefit of all concerned.


Cardoso, S., Tavares, O., Sin, C., & Carvalho, T. (Eds.). (2020). Structural and Institutional Transformations in doctoral education: social, political and student expectations Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature.

Hatton, E. (2017 ). Mechanisms of invisibility: rethinking the concept of invisible work. Work, Employment and Society 31(2), 336–351.

Morley, L. (2013). Women and Higher Education Leadership: Absences and Aspirations. Leadership Foundation, London

Whittington, K., & Barnes, S. (2021). The Changing Face of Doctoral Education. In R. Bongaart & A. Lee (Eds.), The Future of Doctoral Education (pp. 5-17). Routledge