Abstract: For 25 years globalization and an increasing middle-class in a number of countries around the world, have moved governmental attention to postgraduate education, particularly doctoral education. Governments, hereby, followed the neo-liberal economic model and its concept of innovation and technology advances. In the eyes of government, the subsequent change in research production made research relevant for economic growth.
The predominant model of reforms in doctoral education that has been used by government is through the “backdoor” via federally funded research grant allocation. This means for doctoral education government or supranational funding bodies targeted the level of professors, postgraduates, and postdocs directly, rather than instigating top-down reforms.
Postgraduate and particularly doctoral education worldwide are converging in their most elite forms. These elite national or regional flagship programs have now similar structures, and principles. As a result, a stratification of doctoral education emerged: In doctoral education, on the one hand, there are the flagship programs that are well-funded, well-structured with international educational components, on the other hand, there are less well-funded, more regional-oriented, less well-equipped programs. Suggestions for future steps and unresolved issues are presented in the conclusion.