National Framework for Doctoral Education

The aim of the National Framework for Doctoral Education (NFDE) is to support excellence in all forms of doctoral education in Ireland. It provides a set of principles for doctoral education, while recognising the diversity in the Irish higher education system.

The NFDE Advisory Forum was established to support the implementation of the Framework. Co-chaired by QQI in partnership with the Higher Education Authority (HEA), it provides all stakeholders, particularly providers, the opportunity to discuss issues of strategic importance and national interest concerning the provision of doctoral education.

Developments in this area include the publication of the Framework of Good Practice for Research Degree Programmes (2019) which is based on the NFDE's nine principles and intended to support QQI's Statutory Quality Assurance Guidelines for Providers of Research Degree Programmes. 

In 2020, a report by an international expert team within the European University Association on the implementation of the NFDE was commissioned by the HEA, the Irish Universities Association, QQI and the Technological Higher Education Association. The report was published in 2021. 

In 2023, the NFDE Advisory Forum developed and launched the site with information for potential candidates, employers and government officials on PhDs in Ireland.