Stimulus for direct doctorate

New model of scholarships could have duration of five years

LAURABEATRIZTo attend to the demands of students whose qualification dispenses with the title of master, FAPESP has just finished creating a new model for post graduation scholarships, a grant for direct doctorate (DD). The scholarships for direct doctorate will last for four years, and may be extended for another 12 months, depending on the necessity and the evolution of the project. They will be conceded at four levels (DD-1, DD-2, DD-3 and DD-4), each one with a duration of one year. The direct doctorate programs will therefore become a normal manner for qualifying researchers, and not something justifiable only in exceptional circumstances. As well the masters degree will continue being a possible stage, but not indispensable in the process of the formation of researchers.

The implementation of the new program is the result of the re-evaluation of the system of distribution of scholarships in the face of the spectacular increase in the number of requests to FAPESP and the reduction of federal resources given out to students of post graduation at São Paulo institutions. The new policy adopted by FAPESP predicts the implantation of more selective criteria for the concession of post graduation scholarships, as a form of stimulating specially qualified demands and to guarantee an adequate proportion between the resources destined to scholarships and those destined to finance the development of research projects, which, in the case of the Foundation, have hit a critical point.

National and international experience shows that the imbalance of this distribution of resources compromises the healthy development of the research system to the point of preventing the formation and absorption of new researchers. This more selective policy for the concession of scholarships, in practice, has been adopted by FAPESP as a consequence of the growing competitiveness of the processes of evaluation.

Originality and independence
In the face of this prospect, FAPESP is going to give priority to formation programs that result in the elaboration of doctorate theses that deal with original and relatively independent research, under the responsibility of a well qualified advisor. The idea is to support research projects whose performance and research supervision are evaluated as excellent. With relation to the master’s scholarships, it is considered that they are not absolutely indispensable. However, there are lots of cases and circumstances in which they could be desirable and even necessary.

Therefore, they will continue to be granted by FAPESP with the maximum duration of two years. Now the doctorate scholarships will normally last three years, though in exceptional circumstances it may be extended for the maximum duration of a further year. Students inscribed in direct doctorate programs can request DD scholarships assuming they:

a) do not have used a post graduation scholarship with any other agency;b) have used, at the moment of request, of a doctorate scholarship from another agency for a period no greater than six months;c) have used, at the moment of request, a masters scholarship originating from another agency for a period no longer than 18 months.

Monthly payments
The monthly payments for the scholarships at levels DD-1 and DD-2 will correspond to the master’s scholarships 1 and 2, and the scholarships of levels DD-3 and DD-4 to the scholarships of doctorate 1 and 2, respectively. The technical reserve of the scholarships of DD, at all levels, will correspond to 30% of the value of the monthly payments and will obey the current norms for the doctorate scholarships.

Those with master’s scholarships with FAPESP could have their scholarships converted into DD scholarships if they have been accepted into the programs of direct doctorates, after an ad hoc advisor evaluation, at the end of the first or second years. In order to do so, requisition forms requesting direct doctorate scholarships should be sent to the Foundation.