Nicoleta Corbu, SNSPA

CIVICA opens new roads for SNSPA’s Multidisciplinary Doctoral School


Nicoleta Corbu (SNSPA) reflects on CIVICA events and opportunities within the broader internationalisation strategy of the Multidisciplinary Doctoral School at SNSPA.

Internationalisation is perhaps one of the most notable challenges of the Multidisciplinary Doctoral School at SNSPA. Doctoral student mobility, co-supervised theses, international courses, joint degrees are just a few aspects that exemplify our university’s pro-active approach to internationalisation.

Still, there is a lot to do to consolidate the position of SNSPA in the region and beyond. CIVICA fits into the internationalisation strategy of SNSPA's doctoral school and paves the way to a brighter near future. To find out why, we discussed with Nicoleta Corbu, Professor at the College of Communication and Public Relations, SNSPA. As Executive Director, she currently coordinates the Centre for Research in Communication. Since 2020, she is the Director of the Multidisciplinary Doctoral School of SNSPA, which gathers all PhD programmes of the university: Political Studies, Communication, Public Administration, Sociology, Management.

Prof. Corbu holds a PhD in Sociology, and she was the recipient of a Fulbright grant in the US (University of Georgia, 2008-2009) as well as visiting professor at Florida Gulf Coast University (2012). She is a member of the Council of the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (since 2013) and the Network of European Political Communication Scholars, NEPOCS (since 2018). She has published over 70 scientific articles and books on European studies, communication theories, political communication, semiotics of advertising, and education policies.

Could you give some examples of the most successful endeavours of the Multidisciplinary Doctoral School at SNSPA?

I can talk about the innovative ways we use to encourage our best PhD researchers to get involved in research projects with more senior professors, participate in the most visible international conferences, and do their field research.

To this end, since 2016, we have launched two series of internal grant competitions, open to PhD researchers, for all our research fields of interest: administrative studies, communication, political sciences, international relations, management, sociology. The purpose of these grants is to coagulate and stimulate research teams within the university, which ultimately could lead to successful project applications to more elaborate national and international calls. We are delighted with the way PhD researchers got involved, especially in the second round, which ends this year: some of them published their work, presented papers in international conferences, and have acquired new skills in research.

How does CIVICA fit into the internationalisation strategy of the Multidisciplinary Doctoral School at SNSPA?

CIVICA has been an incredibly timely opportunity for PhD researchers. Many of our researchers have been (and will continue to be) involved in CIVICA seminars, workshops and summer schools. These were organized virtually due to the pandemic, but this has had a somewhat positive aspect: I am convinced that not as many would have benefitted from all the chances CIVICA offered, should the activities have taken place physically. We have excellent feedback from the PhD researchers involved in CIVICA activities and are very proud of them.

What are some of CIVICA’s upcoming opportunities at the doctoral level?

As far as PhD researchers are concerned, there will be many new opportunities for them shortly. CIVICA is currently building a so-called "Virtual PhD clinic," an international hub of researchers that could provide individualised feedback and supervision for PhD researchers within the alliance, based on mutual research interests. Additionally, two summer schools will be organised. And, in the new CIVICA Research project, we are working to build together the first international PhD conference, open to all researchers in CIVICA universities. There are still other projects dedicated to PhD researchers within CIVICA, but we have just started to develop them.

What should a PhD researcher at SNSPA do to keep up to date with the opportunities offered by CIVICA?

First of all, we encourage them to constantly check the CIVICA Early Stage Researcher Course Catalogue, a platform through which PhD researchers have access to courses and workshops. Then, we send them regular updates about all the opportunities that arise within CIVICA: for example, scholarships, grants, courses/lectures, conferences.

It is our hope that by exposing students to such international opportunities, we stimulate their curiosity and get them accustomed to the academic rhythm of doing research and publishing. As a result, they can acquire a lot of helpful skills for their future careers, for example if they want to go into teaching.


Interview by Catalin Mosoia (SNSPA)