Methods: The Innovative Training Network - Evaluation Questionnaire (ITN-EQ) was developed to assess supervision, training, collaborations and experiences of ESRs and forwarded to two tinnitus-related ITNs and seven ITNs of other disciplines.
Results: Key advantages identified included better career prospects, multidisciplinary research opportunities/collaborations, international exposure, personal/professional development, plus generous salaries and research budgets. However, lack of a common EU framework resulted in the experience being largely dependent on the host institution, country and supervisor. Moreover, managing the dual requirements of ITNs and host institutions while completing a three-year PhD seemed challenging for most ESRs. ESR involvement in workshop and training school planning was desirable. More than 80% of ESRs rated the overall ITN experience favourably and 98.3% would recommend the same to prospective PhD students.
Conclusions: This report could provide valuable insights in planning and management of future ITNs and could assist prospective students in their decision of joining an ITN for their PhD.