“We have advanced a lot in the theses that are read by videoconference, it has been a very important impulse, because in 2016, the year of the thesis boom due to the change in regulations, the University spent a lot of money in bringing to courts in other communities or countries for the presentation, since the regulations of doctoral theses oblige the courts to be made up of three professors, one from the University where it is read and two external, as well as two substitutes ”, indicated Gómez.
The reading of the works is carried out through the Teams platform, from Microsoft, whose rights were purchased by the ULPGC to meet the telepresence needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. “In the confinement we received some courses to manage this platform and that is how we began to give classes, hold department meetings and others, and now we are reading the theses through this system. The good thing is that there are no transfers, and we save in time, money, and carbon footprint. And what is wrong is that the social-affective part that is the sympathy for the doctoral student is lost, and that is that the student is only defending his thesis ”.
Of the 30 theses read during 2021, only three of them have been face-to-face and two mixed, the rest electronically. “Without a doubt, it is a model that is going to stay, if not totally online, it will be a mixed model, so that the members of the court from outside will be by videoconference, and those from the house in person, in the auditorium of the faculty with the doctoral student and the directors. In addition, saving is a solution to the lack of time, a problem that researchers suffer. A person from Chile, for example, to be in court loses three days of work ”.
Of the doctoral theses that have been defended this year at the ULPGC, two are from the area of Science, 8 from Health Sciences, 8 from Arts and Humanities, 3 from Social and Legal Sciences, and 9 from Engineering and Architecture. There are currently 15 papers in deposit that will be read soon, most of which are included in the Science area.
Throughout 2020, 37 theses were defended, 10 in Sciences, 11 in Health Sciences, 4 in Arts and Humanities, 5 in Social and Legal Sciences and 7 in the area of Engineering and Architecture.
So far this year, 30 research papers have been read and there are already 15 in deposit
“We have not experienced a drop in thesis reading, the figures are very similar to recent years,” says the director of the ULPGC Doctoral School. In the 2017-2018 academic year 13 theses were read, – “very few, but because the previous year was when the boom occurred with more than 200 theses that had to be read at once due to the change in regulations” -; and from there it is normalized, so that in 2018-2019 39 theses are read, in 2019-2020 there were 37, and this year the forecasts are much higher with 30 read, 15 in deposit plus those presented in the second half of the year.
“Some extensions have been requested – the Ministry gave the doctoral fellows the opportunity to request an extension for the days of confinement – but the theses are still being read. It is true that the laboratories were closed during the months of confinement and some experiments were delayed, but the vast majority of doctoral students took advantage of the confinement to write and that is what everyone has done. The production of published scientific articles is enormous, because research professors do not know how to stand arm over arm without doing anything, and what we did was write, and a lot of work was done to write articles that were stuck due to lack of time ».
Health Sciences, Humanities and Engineering and Architecture, the most active areas
However, May Gómez stressed that during the period of change with the departure of the previous ULPGC government team, after the rector elections held last February, and the entry of the new one, “there could have been a brief delay because it was necessary to sign some documents and there was no one to sign them. But since he took office at the Doctoral School in March, “I have already signed everything that was pending and those doctoral students have already read or are reading their theses.”
The researcher points out that there is currently a great demand, which shows that many people took advantage of the period of confinement due to the pandemic to advance their investigations. «Every day applications come in, they deposit the thesis, and they have a deposit period of time until they are given the go-ahead for reading, then they have to appoint a tribunal, it is convened and the reading is done, and that takes a period of two months between the presentation and the defense. Right now there is no waiting list, as they arrive they are reading, there is no traffic jam ”, reiterated the director of the Doctoral School of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Industrial doctorates and co-tutoring regime
The professor of Zoology at the ULPGC, May Gómez, has recently assumed the direction of the Doctoral School of the ULPGC, from where she works on new projects, such as increasing the number of industrial doctorates at the University. «They are a very good way out, and it consists of doing the doctoral thesis within a company, which would pay a salary to the student, with a director in the company and a director in the University, and it involves training around a project specifically, such as the exploitation of a technological development, a patent … “, said the researcher. Also on its roadmap is the development of co-tutorials, a regime that leads to obtaining a doctorate degree from two universities. «For this, a collaboration agreement between the two universities is necessary, and the student has to spend at least six months in the other, have a director there and do part of their work. In the end, he defends his thesis and is a doctor with a mention from both centers, and that generates new international scientific relationships. | MJH