Learning outcomes as well as the organisation of doctoral training are subjects to debate when it comes to ensuring adequate competence building and a proper knowledge base. Through a literature review of existing research and through a quantitative analysis of survey data, this study explores students´ skills and skills acquisition in doctoral education carried out in industry-academia collaborations.
Based on innovation literature, the study sets out three theoretical assumptions, which are explored empirically; students in collaborative relationship are exposed to heterogeneous learning environments that enable the development of generic skills, they learn to apply research specific skills in new contexts in industry and they get broader employability perspectives that have impact on their career destinations. Findings suggest that collaborative students learn research specific skills. Generic skills are acquired only to a small extent. Contact with industry may enhance understanding of academic research due to real life orientation met in industry, which gives new perspectives on the students´ own research and its applicability. However, the study indicates that there is no significant relationship between industry links and skills acquisition. This would have implications on how doctoral education is organised and how resources from industry are applied in doctoral education.