- Head of doctoral studies at EFRI

- The first EFRI employee to receive a doctorate according to the Scandinavian model at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana

- Former Croatian champion in road cycling

- A passionate sports fan

- Proud dad of little Vita

Let us start with the most banal question - Why should someone outside academic circles enroll doctoral studies? How popular are doctoral studies abroad, for example, among entrepreneurs?

To pursue their desire and need to explore a challenge they face in their own business from a scientific point of view and thus contribute to progress. Even though a doctoral degree outside the academic community is quite common among entrepreneurs in some European countries, such as Austria and Germany, it is still a bit underrepresented in our country (but this is slowly changing!). The reason behind this may be that people are not yet fully aware of the potential of scientific discoveries and the way they can contribute to their own business progress and well-being.

It is true that the doctoral degree is perceived as a prestigious achievement in the society, but it is also evaluated through the prism of methodological and scientific business improvement.

The Scandinavian model for doctoral dissertations is becoming more and more common in Croatia - What is actually the difference between this model and the classic doctoral dissertation?

The main difference is that the focus is on the research itself, while in a classical dissertation, at least 40% of the content actually involves paraphrasing existing research which serves as an overview of what scientists have done before you in a particular area and the grounds on which our research question is founded on (perhaps even too much). The Scandinavian model avoids this breadth in writing since the field of research is significantly narrowed so that the doctoral student can completely focus on a specific, precisely defined subject. By writing a minimum of three papers that concisely explain the method(s) and concrete results, makes it more accessible and easier to apply it in business.

Since this model originates from Northern Europe, the term Scandinavian model has become most common in our country but it is called different in other countries. Some refer to it as a Thesis as a series of papers, meaning that it contains a set of scientific papers with a common introductory overview part, conclusion and literature.

Is it possible to say that the Scandinavian model offers a better contribution?

Definitely yes, both better and more concrete from several aspects - among other things, the number of reviewers is wider. It is no longer just one university professor from your home institution (university/faculty offering the PhD studies) and one from a foreign university. For each paper you publish, you have two additional reviewers alongside your supervisor and co-supervisor - two pairs of eyes more that evaluate the quality of your work. Reviewers on the papers you publish are mostly members coming from eminent institutions.

Journals in which you need to publish in order to earn a PhD according to the Scandinavian model must be indexed in the appropriate SSCI (Social Sciences Citation Index) databases, which are a part of WoS (Web of Science Core Collection) which includes a number of other databases.

You yourself received your doctoral degree 5 years ago by writing a series of papers, and you are also the first teacher at the Faculty of Economics and Business in Rijeka to receive your degree according to the Scandinavian model - what are the advantages of this model in your opinion?

Yes, I received my PhD according to the Scandinavian model in 2016, and I had two papers published. I decided to do it because I pursued my doctoral studies abroad and there they strongly encouraged us to go with the Scandinavian model of a dissertation. Logic, when writing a paper, dictates that we define the topic of research as closely as possible so as not to lose focus from the subject matter of our research by writing long and unnecessary theoretical introductions. Theories only give you the context within which you have to give your scientific contribution – the part of your thesis, which is the most difficult, but also the most valuable part. This is what actually makes you a researcher. Papers are published faster and they are accessible to a wider audience than monographs that are very rarely present on the Internet and often not publicly available. Scientific papers are on the other hand publicly available to the entire community. In the west, this is normal, and this is increasingly the case with databases as well, which makes networking easier. Finally, thanks to all of the above, your papers achieve disproportionately greater visibility after publication and are available worldwide, which is, of course, very important as well.

What are the character traits of students who decide to enrol in doctoral studies?

Research spirit and initiative - the two most important characteristics of our doctoral students.

The doctoral thesis can have an economic or business topic. Business topics, which are more common, require greater engagement on the part of the doctoral students conducting independent primary research during which they collect new and current data. Thanks to primary research, we do not fall into the trap of having research based on ten-year-old data.

The Faculty helps doctoral students in their research of the situation on the market by providing access to databases such as Amadeus or Bloomberg. Researching business topics is therefore more purposeful. The contribution of this type of research is primarily aimed at helping to improve their own business, but it also has an impact on socially responsible business and contributes to the community. Dissertations in the field of business economics such as management, marketing, business finance, and organization by the nature of things are applied, not theoretical.


Applications for enrollment in doctoral studies are open until March 1, 2021 - Do applicants already have an idea of what topic they want to research within their dissertation?

Everyone comes with a topic; it is more a question of how detailed it is. All of them are usually great ideas that sometimes need to be set up differently and processed a little differently with the help of a mentor assigned to them immediately after enrolment. In the last few years, we have had a trend of interdisciplinary topics, connected, for example, to medicine or neuromarketing, where the research in two different areas must be coordinated, which often involves the involvement of supervisors or co-supervisors from various unrelated scientific institutions.


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