These resources improve PhD training, build university systems to support research and research training, and provide support for future research leaders. Together, the four curricula can create a conducive environment for research excellence:
PhD Training.
Institutional Support.
Graduate Grant-writing.

Why should I use CARTA’s materials?


What are the CARTA Curricula and how do I use them?

How to use this book
One way to begin is to read the reasons, below, to use the CARTA Curricula. Another is to watch the video on our approach to pedagogy. You could also watch the other videos for a sense of the methods in action.

CARTA’s PhD Training curriculum provides essential components for a research-based degree for a large number of disciplines. Importantly, it imparts transferable skills that will prove valuable for many careers going after graduation. The curricula teach inter- and cross-disciplinary skills essential for a 21 Century graduate. You can pick and choose or use them all. To train PhD students, you can either:

  • Follow the PhD journey that CARTA developed, or
  • Use the Skills Index to identify sessions to meet specific training needs.

If you teach some sessions online, we recommend that you use the interactive features of online learning platforms to ensure that the philosophy of learning together is not lost.

Why use this book?
From the evidence of formal evaluations and the fruits of practice, we are confident that the CARTA curricula are effective, appropriate, and timely.

The training was created and tested over the course of more than a decade by senior academics and teachers from a wide spectrum of disciplines and academic institutions across the world.

Originally designed for doctorates that focused on public and population health from any disciplinary perspective, the curricula can be adapted for almost any research-based PhD and institution.

The curricula focus on the benefits of multidisciplinarity
In the 21st Century, PhDs must be able to understand and work across disciplines and CARTA´s training is focused on achieving that.

Participation and peer learning are highly effective
People learn more from talking to each other than from listening to someone lecturing them. The trick is to guide what they are talking about productively. Struggling together with a task leads to ‘light bulb’ moments as participants spark off one another.

CARTA’s approach to training is not conventional – these methods promote agency and are fun to teach. Participants in all CARTA’s trainings – from PhD students to senior university administrators and academics – enjoyed the sessions.

The PhD training proved to work very well
CARTA PhD fellows were all staff at universities with full-time jobs, yet they took a comparable time as other students to complete their PhDs.

The curriculum produced high quality PhDs
By 2023, CARTA had enrolled 225 PhD fellows who had produced more than 2,800 peer-reviewed journal articles and raised over 31 million US dollars to support their research.

External evaluations found CARTA to be a model worth reproducing
The CARTA curricula can be adapted because they focus on the methods of how to teach (in addition to the content of what to teach). The CARTA complements the discipline-specific depth that a PhD requires. It does not replace it – rather, it teaches the transferable soft and hard skills required nowadays.

Research support is essential for a conducive environment
Professional and administrative staff are central, along with academics, to the mission of a university. The Institutional Support curriculum addresses their role and professional development in order to promote an environment in which researchers can thrive.

Informality creates synergy and networks
From solemn, senior professors to the most junior clerks, people are more likely to develop productive working relationships with colleagues once they interact in mutually respectful collegial environments, particularly if they had fun. The CARTA approach creates such possibilities.

You are invited to adapt CARTA ideas to meet your needs.


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CARTA Curricula Copyright © by The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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