What are the objectives of EGPA’s PhD Project? Our mission statement
EGPA’s PhD symposium – a two-day pre-conference workshop organized in sync with EGPA’s annual meeting – was established in 2006. Since then, it has become a hallmark of EGPA’s dedication and commitment to high-quality doctoral training and education. The annual symposium provides a unique opportunity for young researchers to immerse themselves in an international and interdisciplinary research community. It caters specifically to doctoral students or junior researchers pursuing research in the broadly defined fields of public administration and public management. Through engaged academic discussions and social networking, the symposium seeks to forge an engaged community of next-generation scholars in EGPA-related research fields. On top of that, more experienced academics and invited leaders of the profession will share their insights on doing research and building an academic and/or professional career.
In particular, the EGPA PhD symposium aims at the following objectives:
1) to improve the research skills of PhD candidates and to strengthen their backgrounds in theoretical and methodological approaches;
2) to provide a “risk-free”, yet high-caliber academic setting for young scholars to present and test their ideas and research approaches in a peer group;
3) to broaden the academic horizons of PhD students by putting their research projects in comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives;
4) to develop specific publication and resume-building strategies tailored to young researchers by way of dialogue with established academics and professionals;
5) to build an international network of young and engaged scholars in EGPA-related academic fields as a base for future collaborative projects;
The symposium is also a forum designed to promote professional networking with other workshop participants as well as members of the European public administration / management research community more generally.
What do EGPA PhD symposia have to offer? Features and format of meetings
At the heart of the symposium lies the discussion of your papers in small groups. It flows from this that meetings are only open to invited and active participants. The composition of the discussion groups will reflect the plurality of disciplinary and methodological approaches in the European public administration / management community. Each group will be convened by an established expert in the field.
Ample time for in-depth discussion of each contribution will be provided. Each paper presentation, however, is not so much meant to be a “conventional” paper presentation as a critical reflection of the chosen research approach. Based on individual contributions, interactive sessions and rounds of discussion will give specific feedback and address questions from paper givers. In order to facilitate learning from each other, a discussant will be assigned to each presenter.
To keep discussion groups small and focused, thematic tracks will be formed based on the responses from participants. Thematically, the workshops are designed to reflect the rich and diverse universe of the international and interdisciplinary public administration, management and policy communities. While the exact lay-out of individual workshop formats will also respond directly to the research topics of submitted papers or reflect the specialties of our host institutions, the symposium regularly offers thematic concentrations and tracks on the political, societal (or policy-related) and managerial aspects and implications of the public sector organizations.
The thematic tracks are augmented by additional modules – offered by way of plenary sessions and with help from invited speakers – that specifically address questions of research design, theoretical and methodological approaches as well as professional development (e.g. with regard to publication strategies or funding opportunities).
What is our track record? EGPA PhD workshops in retrospect
With its inaugural meeting being held in 2006 at the Bocconi University in Milano (Italy), the EGPA PhD pre-conference workshop has since traveled throughout Europe to Spain, the Netherlands, Malta, France, Romania, Norway and the UK. The German University of Administrative Sciences in Speyer will be our host institution in 2014.
Paper Givers and ‘Alumni Network’
Since its inception, the PhD workshops have continuously gained in strength both in quantitative and qualitative terms. Our ‘alumni’ community of past workshop participants has grown so as to include more than 160 members from a wide range of European and, for that matter, non-European countries representing all continents. Reaching a new height in 2013, our list of 29 workshop participants represented 22 universities from no less than 14 countries.
In the past, for example, parallel sessions revolved around issues of performance and financial management, human resource management (including questions of public ethics and values), comparative public sector reform or public policy-related changes in European welfare states. Other possible specializations include the interfaces between politics and administration as well as the relationship between public organizations and societal changes.
Conveners and Invited Speakers
The EGPA PhD symposium is very much a collaborative project. Its success relies heavily on the support from colleagues who committed themselves – entirely on a pro bono basis – to serve as conveners and/or distinguished guest speakers. Christoph Reichard has provided his leadership and prowess since the start of the workshop series and served as chair from 2006 through 2012. Eckhard Schroeter has been involved as convener since 2012 and assumed the role of chair of the EGPA PhD project in 2013.
At this point, we wish to acknowledge (in alphabetical order) the invaluable assistance from Frank Bannister, Ivar Bleikli, Jean-Michel Eymeri-Douzans, Giovanni Fattore, Walter Kickert, Ani Matei, Paola Mattei, Salvador Parrado, Claude Rochet, Patrick von Maravic, and Edward Warrington as workshop conveners.
We are also grateful to (in alphabetical order) Geert Bouckaert, John Halligan, Andrew Massey, James L. Perry, Christopher Pollitt, Harald Saetren, and Patrick von Maravic for sharing their expertise as invited speakers.