Founded in 1303, the University of Rome La Sapienza is the largest and one of the oldest universities in Europe and, with circa 15,000 academic and administrative staff and 180,000 students. It has more than 600 bilateral agreements with other European Universities under EU-programmes promoted by the European Commission and numerous intergovernmental agreements with universities world-wide. It is the founding member universities of the European PhD on Social Representation and Communication and is currently responsible for both its scientific co-ordination and administration. The University of Rome’s strong commitment to the European PhD project is shown by its co-funding of EC approved activities and by its funding of a multi-media laboratory and teaching room specifically designed for the training of students involved in the European PhD.
The European PhD on Social Representations and Communication is a well-established, EU-approved training structure which has been successfully training post-graduates from EU and non-EU countries since 1996. It is a doctorate by PhD thesis (3-year minimum) involving a network of 13 EU universities supplying advanced research training in the area of social representations and communication. As network of centres of excellence it has been selected by the DGXII in the first round - as Marie Curie Multi-partner Organisation for training young research students also enrolled in other doctoral programmes in social sciences. The Euro PhD came into being as a natural outgrowth of a pre-existing community of researchers (all working with the Laboratoire européen de psychologie sociale (LEPS) with similar research aims and epistemological interests. This common historical background greatly contributes to the complementarity of the European PhD's research interests and training skills that have developed since its foundation. The research training provided by the multi-partner Training Site is in social representation and communication studies and is open to multidisciplinary and multi-methodological approaches (experimental and field work). The research area is the social construction and representation of particular objects (e.g. politics, national and supra-national identities, economics, unemployment, new forms of job, new technologies, science, environment, health-illness, gender studies and family relationship, human rights etc.) and related scientific theories transformed into everyday knowledge.
By stressing the importance of improving the process of European cultural integration within a scientific context increasingly oriented towards the internationalisation of training and research standards, the European Ph.D. initiative aims to go beyond the organisation of doctoral studies at the national level, both in terms of regulations, financing, and quality of curriculum.
European standards have already been achieved and will be further developed for:
* selection of the candidates;
* training of the restricted number of participants;
* research activity in an international environment;
* intensive didactic “stages” in multilingual and multicultural settings;
* evaluation of the whole training process;
* formal recognition of the degree.