As most of you probably know, there is an emphasis in Irish higher education at the moment on 4th Level (which to the rest of Europe is the 3rd cycle, or postgraduate level of education). Partly this stems from the larger amounts of funding that universities receive from the government for PhD students; partly it is a matter of prestige for universities to churn out high calibre PhDs; and partly it is tied up in the knowledge economy with its focus on high-level skills. Oh, and yes, it is an academic activity that many researchers find enjoyable, engaging and helpful in potentially boosting the research output of the department.
Much of the discussion taking place in Irish universities is about supporting PhD supervisors, in terms of training and guidance. It seems useful to direct supervisors to already existing resources rather than reinventing the wheel. One useful resource is the UK Grad website and its section on supervising a doctorate. I am not suggesting that this is a substitute for training or workshops, but some of you out there who are new to the joys of supervising doctorates might find some of it useful. Have a browse.