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                                                                                                                          Previous Events


Forthcoming events:

UCF International Conference on Doctoral Education

The University of Central Florida, College of Education and Performance is inviting international doctoral educators to attend the International Conference on Doctoral Education March 21-23, 2017. The conference will provide a forum for international debate concerned with doctoral education. This conference is designed to promote a collegial platform to engage in a dialogue about the multifaceted nature, politics, culture, and economic contexts of doctoral pedagogy. 

Conference Themes

  • Best practices in doctoral supervision
  • Program diversity, delivery, and relevancy
  • Graduates' impact on organizations
  • Impact on supervision on doctoral candidates' success

Below you will find the flyer and registration links for your consideration and International Doctoral Education Research Network (IDERN) distribution.

UCF Conference flyer

To learn more, submit a proposal, and register, click here


SURVEY for SuperProfDoc

Here is a call for survey participation with a difference! Eighteen months ago a consortium of European Universities won an Erasmus + project to look at supervisory best practice across Europe for Professional and Practice Based Doctorates. IAPD is an advisory partner for the consortium and has been really helpful in developing the mixed methods approach being used, consisting of interviews and a survey of the practice of supervisors and experience of candidates. We have gone through numerous iterations and pilots but are now able to ask you to take a few moments to help us find out how supervision is evolving for these modern doctorates.

Simply go direct to SUPERPROFDOC  where you can find out about the consortium working on the project and fill in the surveys on-line.

We are really looking forward to your responses and they will help shape the outputs of the project – high quality resources for supervisors (in academia and other organisations) to help support and develop best practice in the work. We are happy to keep you informed of the work so fill in the survey and get in touch!

If you would like to be interviewed then just contact me directly as we would love to hear from you but specifically we will be really grateful if you are working in the natural sciences.

Looking forward to reading your responses.

Dr Annette Fillery-Travis Bsc MA PhD CChem FRSC
Research Lead
Institute for Work Based Learning
Middlesex University

Research: Erasmus + RA2 Project SuperProfdoc  to participate in the research click here




Below is a link to a Higher Education Funding Council project  ‘Provision of Professional doctorates in English HE institutions’ which has now been published:,107351,en.html

A paper by Dr Robin Mellors–Bourne, Careers Research & Advisory Centre (CRAC), UK and Dr Carol Robinson, University of Brighton who were both researchers supporting this publication is being given at the International Conference on Professional Doctorates in March

Following this there will be a an IAPD network event on the 14th April at Middlesex University, London. This event will provide the opportunity to discuss the findings with Carol Robinson and consider appropriate ways forward for HEIs running Professional Doctorate programmes, for example the issues concerning impact that arose from the data, how this may be significant for curriculum development, the next Research Excellence Framework in the UK or research evaluation exercises that take place internationally and many other points of interest.


A new generation of Doctorates

Doctoral degrees are no longer simply a training ground for the next generation of academics. Different forms of the doctorate have evolved from the conventional PhD undertaken within academic environment on single discipline issues. The modern doctorate now encompasses multi-and trans-disciplinary study by practitioners within a range of contexts. The designation has also changed and includes terms in the title such as professional, industrial or practice based PhDs or Doctorates.

see for more information


Call for participation – new research on professional doctorates

CRAC (the Careers Research & Advisory Centre) and Vitae,[1] supported by the University of Brighton, are commencing new research on behalf of HEFCE. This will gather information to update understanding of the landscape of professional doctorate (PD) provision by English HE institutions and those who undertake it.[2]The project will seek perspectives from staff in HEIs, professional doctorate candidates and graduates, employers and professional bodies, in order to:

  • Explore the strategic basis for PD provision – why do HEIs offer them, and where do they fit into postgraduate and research strategies?
  • Examine existing and developing models across the range of PD provision, potentially developing a revised typology;
  • Explore the potential and realised impacts of PD programmes, for graduates, employers/professions and provider institutions;
  • Identify the profile of PD candidates (students);
  • Understand how employers and professional bodies are involved.

The research will be undertaken through a survey of English HEIs, to depict the broad landscape of PD activity and strategic views, together with interviews and focus groups with key informants in a sample of HEIs, selected to reflect the diversity of PD provision and institutional environments in England. The research will take place in the period May to September 2015.

see for more information


Previous Events: 

Friday 8th July 2016

Innovative Pedagogies in Practice Doctorates - International Association for Practice Doctorates

This year’s conference, organised by Middlesex University and the Institute for Work Based Learning, for the International Assoscation of Practice Doctorates, and held at the University of Westminster, provided opportunities to discuss the attention to practice undertaken by doctoral candidates in their doctoral research and the way this work can be supported.

Keynote speech was from: Professor David Boud, University of Technology, Sydney 'The challenge to doctorates from professional practice’

Read more about the day's discussions and contributions:

IAPD Conference Feedback from Delegates

‘Everything that happened today was very thought-provoking and positive for my own practice’

‘It was all excellent with a good chance for discussion, with lots of opportunities to really listen and talk’

‘The input from a range of people and contexts was made possible by the discussion space on highly topical issues’

‘Key issues were raised, including the importance of continuing to develop theorisation of practice’

‘I enjoyed hearing about how supervisors/advisors recognise the importance of keeping students’ needs at the forefront’


‘The challenge to doctorates from professional practice’ (presentation)

Professor David Boud

There has been a proliferation of different kinds of doctorates in recent years, including variations within the PhD, named professional doctorates and those that seek to focus on professional practice. What is less important than their specific title is their relationship to the worlds of knowledge and practice beyond the university. This presentation aims to explore the issues involved in doctoral study for mid-career professionals and the ways in which our programmes meet the dual needs of practice and academe. It will be suggested that while the pedagogy of doctorates needs to be attended to, the nature of the knowledge being pursued and the positioning of academic supervisors in relation to this is also

David Boud is Professor and Foundation Director of the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning, Deakin University, Research Professor in the Institute for Work-Based Learning at Middlesex University and Emeritus Professor at the University of Technology Sydney. He is an Australian Learning and Teaching Senior Fellow (National Teaching Fellow).

‘Supervising (Advising) the Practitioner Doctorate: attributes and relationships’   
‘From Supervision to advising Practitioner Doctorates’ (presentation)

Professor Carol Costley

Carol Costley is a Professor of Work Based Learning and Director of the Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University. Her interests are in professional doctorates, especially methodologies, ethical issues and transdisciplinary qualities. She works with organisations in the private, public, community and voluntary sectors internationally in the learning and teaching of work-based, taught and research degrees. She is Chair of the International Conference on Professional Doctorates 2009- present, Vice-Chair of the 'Association of Practice Doctorates' 2009- present and 'Researching Work and Learning' conference series committee member 1999- present. She was an executive member of the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) 2005-2011 and convenor of the UALL network for Work Based Learning 1998-2011.

‘Supervising (Advising) Pedagogy’ (presentation)

Dr Kate Maguire

Dr Kate Maguire is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Work Based Learning at Middlesex University and head of its research degree programmes. Her background is in social anthropology of the Middle East, trauma psychotherapy and authority dynamics. Since coming into higher education teaching and research after a career in journalism, political research and trauma treatment in the NHS and Medecins Sans Frontieres, she has engaged in developing innovative research methodologies relevant to professional practice particularly to research pedagogy. She was drawn to work based learning for its stance on the contribution of practice to knowledge and its role in creating the conditions for a more equitable share in decision making processes to improve the societies in which we live.


How might candidates embedded in professional practice engage in the challenges of doctoral research?
Reportage from first Discussion Group

The discussion fell into two main themes and raised other interesting points that we could not develop to the same extent.

1. The first theme was about the challenge for candidates to engage in research in a professional doctorate. The programme in Bournemouth has no taught elements, but four themes and within that a personal narrative of students’ professional experience. At Ashridge, first-person inquiry researchers locate themselves in their practice. Situatedness, something that Boud identified in the slides, can emerge at this stage.

For Dave Adams (Middlesex) the way to ease the passage from the profession to academia can be established with the question: ‘tell me your story’ which can help to build confidence.

A DProf candidate remarked that incremental progress in a career does not allow space for reflection; this comes at the first step of the DProf, through the Review of Learning. It is important to negotiate the boundary between the private, the personal and the professional.

The professional doctorate emphasises the value of deep reflection and understanding and one’s own individual contribution.

There was agreement that confidence is the key term here.

The experience of the delegate from Mauritius was that it is difficult to gauge what is a worthy experience to focus on in a Review of Learning. Eventually it is about gaining the understanding that is needed to unpack the learning from professional experience.

Darryll Bravenboer (Middlesex) sees it almost as a confession; this is part of the deal, to understand the construct of yourself as practitioner.

The delegate from Hertfordshire summed it up as the importance of reflexivity in understanding practice.

2. The second theme examined theorising practice.

It is important to understand how the professional doctorate is distinctive in terms of the type of knowledge; it is about an interrelation between practice and knowledge. Understanding how practice operates is key. There is a challenge in understanding practice as a cultural construction. Another aspect is the importance of understanding the evolution and enhancing of practice, i.e. understanding practice as something more dynamic and fluid, not fixed. Practice is not necessarily individual but collective.

Question: is there a lack of clarity in terms of the candidates’ understanding about the nature of theorizing practice?

Many candidates come with deep tacit knowledge but lack a language to make it explicit in a doctoral programme output.

How can practice be written about in a way that it is read beyond the academic examiners? There might be several ways in which this practice can be presented. What kind of evidence is there for practice? Can it be witnessing that practice?

There is the additional challenge in assessing the work; peers can be the best to assess this.

Kevin Flint (Middlesex) remarked on the challenge of conceptualising practice in a way that shows the humanity and complexity of human beings embedded in it.

How might supervisors embedded in academic practice engage in the challenges of professional practice research?

Reportage from second Discussion Group

We started to discuss the topic with the following questions:

  • Who do we think we are as academics?
  • What is our research production context and outputs?
  • What are we producing as academics?

Points made about challenges for the academic practitioner:

  • people come from differing practice backgrounds and have particular expertise - so supervision/advising might relate to this or be challenged by it;
  • promotion: academics’ promotion in university is now based on research innovation and impact so this challenges the ability to work with practice and students/candidates taking professional doctorates.

Five main points discussed from question about engagement in challenges about research:

1. The Use Of Theory

Can we show students and candidates how not just to use theory, the ‘middle-ground’, but to extend the use of theory. Candidates who are in practice can do more than just use existing learning theory to apply to practice, they can use devices such as socio-material approaches. Will these help practitioners approach research?

In order to engage in research, practitioners need to be dissociated from their own practice; candidates need to treat their own practice as strange (ethnography insider/outsider, thinking in a different way); however, this needs to be guided. Academics need to give them something: a framework, examples of leadership practice.

Academic exposure to these ideas allows academics to think about curriculum challenge, this is not all ethnographic.

Do people know how to theorise? Threshold versus application; it is good for  students/candidates to look at examples.

How can academics articulate a theory of their own practices? Academics need to be exposed to theory e.g. Karl Maton - Centre of Knowledge Building, University of Sydney (

This relates to how we theory is taught to help students see how to enable the process of using practice and theory; prior to this you a hook or framework is needed, but it is not fixed.

Question about the tool of refection at this level - two main points raised in a debate about reflection as it relates to the use of theory

  • Does reflection lead to theorizing or do are conceptual tools needed? A set of assessment criteria is necessary to analyse practice or a theory of developing practice as reflection is not the tool to do this.
  • There was a view that reflection cannot be divorced from action in doctoral supervision; reification versus real reflection. Discussion followed on considering the cognitive and affective moving learning forward; is the purpose to assess or reflect e.g. “you will only be doing reflection if you will be embarrassed for me to see your reflection” (D. Boud). Reflection could be intrusive, it depends how it might be used in the process.

Other four points discussed briefly about academic practice for doctoral students

2. Group supervision - used but differs from PhD

3. Peer learning; collaborative with each other - not undertaking similar problem so back to questions about academic engagement.

4. There is the need to understand where students come from, i.e. they are varied and not all have professional bodies or come from professional backgrounds. Academics gel where ideas and study support comes from for this process. Two main points of debate:

  • Do we need to be expert in the professional area? There are both sides to consider; yes versus project work – use the student's theories to make something else happen.
  • Current understanding of practice: existing professional frameworks might not be helpful to the students/candidates to create new idea, e.g. chartered MA level technical competence or higher level knowledge/use of knowledge might be generic or ‘fuzzy’.

5. The role of supervisor might move beyond conventional skill-set for the academic. There is a transition on the part of both the student/candidate and the academic.

In conclusion…back to the first question

What do we now know about engagement and challenges?


Rapporteur Notes for the afternoon topic ‘Supervising (Advising) the Practitioner Doctorate: Attributes and Relationships’- Pauline Armsby 

The discussion began by each participant sharing issues that they felt were relevant.  Due to time constraints, this initial list of issue was then themed into three areas of discussion as outlined below.

1. Expectations, admissions thresholds and clarity of the programme

  • There is sometimes a mismatch in the expectations between candidates and supervisors
  • Balancing experience and credentials in potential candidates is an issue.
  • There was sometimes a lack of clarity about what the programme was and the objectives and staging points of the programme.
  • Admissions thresholds were queried.  What levels of understanding, knowledge, prior study or experience were required?

It was felt that using part time and other ‘independents’ in the process of supervision could often be problematic, leading to unhelpful decisions regarding the research and development process and to less than effective supervision.Universities’ stated needs to have a full ‘cohort’ of candidates may mean that some are admitted when they do not have an appropriate background.With PhDs it was noted that it is more individually focused.

2. Adviser Training

  • Supervisor training and the need for a qualification for PD supervision
  • Unpacking supervisors practice when it goes wrong and when it goes right.
  • Supervision and progression- the use of PhD supervisors not practitioners.

It was felt that there was a lot of scope to explore supervisors’ practices to unpack what worked as well as what did not work.Participants were unanimous in believing that supervisor training is required.How this might be done is less clear.Some felt that academics should be able to ‘refocus their lens’ if they had been supervising PhDs, but others thought this could not be relied upon.A syllabus for PD supervision was called for and it was suggested that Chester may have already begun this work.Participants felt that IAPD should consider developing this using existing expertise and the Erasmus project to inform the development.

3. Academic Discourses and Writing as Pedagogy

  • Fitting candidates experiences and knowledge into academic discourses
  • The written product

It was felt that there was a need to find a bridge to academic theory etc., but the importance of looking at candidates’ real world practices was also emphasised.Co-production of knowledge with candidates or using group supervision were suggested as ways of incorporating the social elements of practice.Participants felt that candidates needed to talk through what they needed to do to consider how to turn their work into something ‘researchable’.It was acknowledged that the PD required the candidate to go from the ‘mess’ of practice to a clear clean document (project).Thus, what was presented was often sanitised to represent ‘good research’ rather than ‘messy practice’.

There was a lively debate throughout and no time to come to a joint conclusion.As would be expected, a range of opinions were voiced but there was a degree of consensus around the fact that supervision/advising was an important issue to consider and explore in more detail, but that PDs ranged in their offering e.g. in relation to: how much ‘taught’ and research was in the curriculum; how practitioner and/or discipline oriented the programme was; and these variables were likely to influence what constituted successful supervision.It may be that the number of variables affecting PD supervision is more than those affecting PhD supervision and a more nuanced approach to supervision and supervision training is therefore required.

Rapporteur for pm discussion

Pedagogy in Research

What’s in a name? Being alongside people…

Opening thoughts… dimensions of the self

  • Different context … work based practice – I don’t get this at all… lacking of language at institutional level…
  • What are you not doing as a supervisor?
  • What are the legitimate outputs that enable me to develop my career?
  • Locating the faculty, the reputation of the university
  • Master apprentice model for PhD – innovation and impact
  • PD – location, purpose, context are different…
  • Recommendations from studies can become policy – ways of legitimising PDs

Advisor – supervisor

  • In the university institution they legitimise the language of the supervisor and not the advisor
  • Resistance movement create their own spaces
  • Knowledge complex as are human beings
  • Hegemony of knowledge production
  • Challenging hegemonies.

Students invited to talk with Kate without the presence of the supervisors.

  • They were resisting the possibility of moving away while discussion took place
  • Students much more open and effusive when the supervisors had gone!
  • Extant hierarchical structuring of the supervision

Advising handbook for advisors

  • Advising handbook for candidates
  • Handbooks – written by colleagues in their own particular styles
  • Forms are generic PhD forms
  • Straightforward ethics forms
  • MORE on line ethics forms – university adopted this model – takes long time to complete

Candidate Voice / admissions

  • What approach do you wish to take?
  • Candidates are there looking for something different
  • Do people involved wish to go into academic life.
  • Practices located in particular professional region of being
  • Number of people coming into the PD don’t have the qualifications to get into the PhD

Modules / credits for PD

  • Impact on advisors
  • Mundane things concerned with funding

Schizophrenia of practice

  • Academic discourses – hegemonies – learning new languages – Basil Bernstein pedagogy as a recontextualisation principle of
  • Privilege and pay attention to the theories and practices of our students
  • What happens afterwards – communities of practices – does the university make use of their knowledge
  • Why hasn’t the uni made use of their knowledge

What are we?– we have got a teaching excellence framework

  • Recontextualising the self – hermeneutics – the hermeneut – who stands between… what is the role of the professional advisor?
  • Where do we sit?
  • We’re sitting between – we belong in practice – but we’re not nurses, engineers, - is it going to help you to critical engage with practice?
  • Tensions of compliance and creativity – schizophrenia – Delueze

Dialogues with students

  • Sometimes hands on
  • < >
    Heteroglossic advisor is a good advisor
  • Eclectic

Knowledge – Bernstein

  • Looking at knowledge
  • Knowers vs knowledge
  • Who you are rather than what you are
  • Social justice issue
  • As advisors in the adisciplinary world – what is our knowledge claim?
  • What is it that we specialise in?
  • The whole reified thing about knowledge is deeply problematic
  • Knowing vs knowledge
  • Translation studies – talking about knowledge gate – complexity how can we migrate ideas… ?
  • Contributions to practice, knowing, research…combination of processes in accord with your topic.
  • Your tool kit… talk about the exposing of students to the range of possibilities.


  • Do you ask the student their expectations?
  • I only talk 4 hrs per year as a long distance D Prof
  • What’s my expectations and what’s their expectations? Attempting to cultivate a rapport
  • In my first year I was stuck. My pride took over. I delayed our supervision. If I ask too much it makes me feel that I’m not worthy.

Don’t marginalise yourself

Systematise doctoral education

Training of supervisors

UTS required mandatory programme for supervision and qualification

You had to be productive

You had engaged in professional development

Threats to disestablish half the supervisors –

University of Sydney

Assessment about supervision - - changing requirements and no less onerous than the best universities are doing – what is required for a good supervisor. Where is that going on? Unless you’re looking at the wider picture of doctoral education – you don’t have authority

IAPD to develop a scheme for training – hence gain credibility

Point 2

Knowledge production

We are the leaders in moving forward

Through our candidates – we say – we are the mediators – unless we coproduction we are not building our field … we need to represent our understandings … What co-writing are you doing with your academic student? Otherwise no one takes seriously and publishing with practitioners and take seriously







Wednesday 4th May 2016 

11.00 - 15.15

IAPD Workshop - The future of Professional doctorates in England: evidence, perceptions, strategy, impact.

Provision of Professional Doctorates in English HE Institutions - Dr Carol Robinson, University of Brighton

This presentation will report findings from a project commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) which explored the provision of Professional Doctorate programmes in English Higher Education Institutions. The research was conducted by the Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) with the University of Brighton and aimed specifically to explore:

  • existing professional doctorate provision and models used in programme delivery;
  • HEI strategies for Professional Doctorate provision and how this might change in the future amidst an evolving post-graduate research context;
  • the skills and attributes Professional Doctorate progammes seek to develop; and
  • the impact of Professional Doctorate programmes on graduates, their employers and professions, and provider institutions.

Recommendations developed from the research findings will be used to prompt discussions about the future provision of Professional Doctorates within HEIs. 

The day will also include discussion groups. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Middlesex University, Executive Boardroom


15th & 16th March 2016

5th International Conference on Professional Doctorates

See for further information


5th June 2015

Professional Doctorates - Innovative pedagogic practices for the modern doctorate

see for more information


24th- 26th March 2015

International Conference in Doctoral Education: Promises and Doubts

University of Central Florida, U.S.A.


4th July 2014

‘Doctorates, practice and entrepreneurship; some challenges for research’

Pearson College, London

Colleagues from across the UK Belgium, Italy and the USA attended and contributed to some inspiring debate with two speakers providing stimulus for discussion. The first, an entrepreneur who had undertaken the Doctorate in Professional Studies at Middlesex stated that the juxtaposition of the personal journey and academic guidance for an innovative research and development project was the crucial aspect of his achievement. The reflection on practice answered the question of why he wanted to be an entrepreneur that gave him greater confidence and acumen in continuing to develop the role.

The second speaker, an academic at University College London had undertaken an Eng D and found key elements of entrepreneurship were building networks and trusted relationships with a creativity that  ‘shifts ideas to market’.

Delegates discussed the nature of impact and how it can be of benefit to people, methodologies that incorporate personal transformation and tangible outcomes that demonstrate impact, industry representation on peer review and a wider definition of ethics that bring morals and values into greater significance. 

It was concluded that there is a change in the habitus of academics that takes them further into practice and ‘real world’ data. 

The event was held in the iconic 1930s Shell Mex House building overlooking the Thames.


10th-11th April 2014

International Conference on Professional Doctorates The evolving doctorate: meeting the needs of practitioners and professions

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

For conference proceedings and extended abstracts go to  


17th and 18th April 2013

International Conference in Doctoral Education: Organisational Diversity and Difference in Practice 

University of Central Florida, College of Education,

This conference was jointly organised by the University of Central Florida, College of Education and the International Association of Practice Doctorates 


14th May 2012

Professional Networks in Practice 

Middlesex University London. 

One day event networking support for Professional Doctorates within a range of commercial, governmental and non-governmental organisations -


2 -3rd April 2012

The third International Conference on Professional Doctorates 

Florence, Italy

For more information go to  


14th November 2011

Assessment and pedagogies for professional doctorates in practice 

A one day workshop, London.


1 July 2011

SIG Annual Conference New Frontiers for the Professional Doctorate: What is its impact in practice?

The Franklin-Wilkins Building King’s College, London 

Keynote Speaker: Professor David Scott, IOE. 


20-21 April 2011

The second International Conference on Professional Doctorates



17 November 2010 

A workshop, Developing the Professional Practice-based Doctorate 

The Methodist International Centre, London. 


1 July 2010

Professional and Practice-focused Doctoral Research SIG Inaugural Meeting 

University of Westminster, London. 


9-10 November 2010  

International Conference on Professional Doctorates