The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) provides the basis for classifying R&D personnel by formal qualification. Five classes are recommended for the purposes of R&D statistics. They are defined exclusively by level of education, regardless of the field in which personnel are qualified.
• ISCED 8: Doctoral or equivalent level: Programmes at ISCED level 8, or doctoral or equivalent level, are designed primarily to lead to an advanced research qualification. Programmes at this ISCED level are devoted to advanced study and original research and are typically offered only by research-oriented tertiary educational institutions such as universities. Doctoral programmes exist in both academic and professional fields.
• ISCED 7: Master’s or equivalent level: Programmes at ISCED level 7, or Master’s or equivalent level, are often designed to provide participants with advanced academic and/or professional knowledge, skills and competencies, leading to a second degree or equivalent qualification. Programmes at this level may have a substantial research component but do not yet lead to the award of a doctoral qualification. Typically, programmes at this level are theoretically-based but may include practical components and are informed by state of the art research and/or best professional practice. They are traditionally offered by universities and other tertiary educational institutions.
• ISCED 6: Bachelor’s or equivalent level: Programmes at ISCED level 6, or Bachelor’s or equivalent level, are often designed to provide participants with intermediate academic and/or professional knowledge, skills and competencies, leading to a first degree or equivalent qualification. Programmes at this level are typically theoretically-based but may include practical components and are informed by state of the art research and/or best professional practice. They are traditionally offered by universities and equivalent tertiary educational institutions. First degree programmes at this level typically have a duration of three to four years of full-time study at the tertiary level.
• ISCED 5: Short-cycle tertiary education: Programmes at ISCED level 5, or short-cycle tertiary education, are often designed to provide participants with professional knowledge, skills and competencies. Typically, they are practically based, occupationally-specific and prepare students to enter the labour market. However, these programmes may also provide a pathway to other tertiary education programmes. Academic tertiary education programmes below the level of a Bachelor’s programme or equivalent are also classified as ISCED level 5.
• ISCED 4 or below: This includes ISCED 4 (post-secondary non-tertiary education), ISCED 3 (upper secondary education) and below. ISCED 4: Post-secondary non-tertiary education: Post-secondary non-tertiary education provides learning and educational activities building on secondary education preparing for both labour market entry as well as tertiary education. It typically targets students who have completed upper secondary (ISCED level 3) but who want to increase their opportunities either to enter the labour market or to progress to tertiary education. Programmes are often not significantly more advanced than those at upper secondary as they typically serve to broaden rather than deepen knowledge, skills and competencies. It therefore aims at learning below the high level of complexity characteristic of tertiary education. ISCED 3: Upper secondary education: Programmes at ISCED level 3, or ‘upper secondary’ education, are typically designed to complete secondary education in preparation for tertiary education, or to provide skills relevant to employment, or both. Programmes at this level offer students more varied, specialised and in-depth instruction than programmes at lower secondary education (ISCED level 2). They are more differentiated, with an increased range of options and streams available.
To break down R&D personnel by formal qualification.