Most doctoral candidates complete an individual doctorate, meaning that they are not necessarily integrated into a larger research environment. Individual doctoral candidates receive opportunities to interact with other researchers at academic events like doctoral candidate colloquia, conferences for junior researchers, or specialist conferences. However, it can be more difficult for these candidates to participate in such events, for instance because they are poorly integrated at their department as scholarship holders or as full-time employees outside the university, or because they lack the time due to family obligations.

Membership in programs that organize activities to promote the exchange of ideas among doctoral candidates, such as graduate schools, research training groups, or other doctoral programs, can open up a more extensive research environment for individual doctoral candidates.

Exchange with fellow doctoral candidates or with researchers at other career levels is very important for both the doctoral phase and a subsequent career, regardless of whether one decides to pursue an academic career or develop prospects outside the university after graduation.