To read this content please select one of the options below:

Evaluating the impact of a multi-disciplinary, international course for PhD researchers

Fiona Philippi (Institute for Academic Development (IAD), University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)

International Journal for Researcher Development

ISSN: 2048-8696

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The aim of this study is to highlight how responses to student evaluation of a European Commission-funded multi-disciplinary summer course for international PhD students can be used to demonstrate a range of potential outcomes for individual researchers. It details the mixed-methods approach taken to evaluation of this course and shows how the results of this can be used to inform, validate and strengthen future provision of intensive training of this nature for PhD researchers.


The two-week LEADER course held in Edinburgh in July 2013 is used as a case study for the use of a mixed-methods evaluation approach to measuring potential impact. The Vitae Impact Framework is used as a tool to map three different evaluation methods and responses to impact levels. Further analysis of evaluation responses gives insight into rates of participant satisfaction, learning attributed to the course and behavioural changes made as a result of the experience.


The results of this study demonstrate the potential value of intensive, multi-disciplinary courses in providing lasting benefits to researchers both in personal and professional contexts.

Research limitations/implications

The timeframe of this study spans a total of seven months. Although initial findings demonstrate clear short-term positive effects of the course on researchers, a longitudinal tracking study over several years would be required to assess longer term impact.


These findings can be used to inform and strengthen researcher development activities of this nature at other institutions.



The LEADER course evaluated in the article was funded with support from a European Commission, Erasmus Intensive Programme grant (IP-2012-004). The programme was developed by members of the COIMBRA group of Universities (University of Edinburgh, Aarhus University, University of Bergen, University of Salamanca, KU Leuven, University of Granada and University Alexandru Ioan Cuza din Iasi).


Philippi, F. (2014), "Evaluating the impact of a multi-disciplinary, international course for PhD researchers", International Journal for Researcher Development, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 135-143.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles