This study focuses on how and to what extent factors identified in the literature influence academic and commercial outcomes, as well as the candidates' perception of the success and satisfaction from the results of PhD projects. Based on a survey of 607 PhD graduates and candidates, the relationship between contextual factors and subjective (related to the perception of candidates) and objective (such as publications and patents) outcomes of doctoral projects were examined. The results revealed higher satisfaction among candidates with commercialised research. Also, for the first time the effects of important, yet previously neglected, factors affecting the outcomes of PhD projects (such as the effect of the corresponding industrial sector, and personal economic situation of researchers) were studied. Studying the causal relationships among the variables is beneficial for developing policies aimed at enhancing the commercial and academic outcomes of PhD projects and improving candidate satisfaction.