Doctoral education is deemed as the primary source of research productivity and innovation in the global knowledge economy. There has been an increasing attention to the development and transformation of doctoral education worldwide. In the past years, there are growing interests and practices in EU-China collaboration in doctoral education. The increasingly intensified collaboration demands European and Chinese actors to have shared understandings of doctoral education as well as advanced knowledge and research concerning the collaboration practices.
The special issue EU-China cooperation in doctoral education published in the European Journal of Higher Education focuses on the reforms and collaborations in EU-China doctoral education. It provides an insightful picture of the recent reforms in doctoral education in China and in the EU countries.The special issue stems from the three-year EU–China DOC project ‘Enhancing the Visibility of European Higher Education and Strengthening the Dialogue and Cooperation with Chinese Stakeholders in the Field of Doctoral Education’, which has been implemented from 2013 to 2016 under the EU Erasmus Mundus framework.Reflection and insights included in this special issue give us deeper understanding on a number of important issues, such as mutual understanding, awareness, development of joint programmes and factors related to the academic development of Chinese overseas doctoral students.