This July 13th-24th, we are hosting our first ever virtual conference, #BecauseTheInternet, a series of online panels showcasing early career scholars’ research and providing a forum for dialogue and feedback from experienced discussants.

In the current situation, we couldn’t run our normal conference format this year. But that’s not the only reason we have decided to plan an online event this year. This situation is also an opportunity to think about how we can do things differently in our profession in the long term. Even after the current crisis is over, the climate emergency means academics will need to travel less while still sharing our research. 

Moreover, for some colleagues in-person was a format which never worked well. For scholars without funding, in-person conferences can be unaffordable. For scholars with disabilities and chronic conditions, they can be exclusionary. For those from countries not preferred by the visa rules of host countries, they are simply inaccessible.

With all that in mind, we’re inviting early career scholars and ECN members to be part of something which we don’t see as a second-best replacement, but an exciting and necessary part of the future of academia and the study of politics.

How it will work

We will be hosting the virtual conference via the content delivery approach (which you can read more about here). Each panel will be hosted on its own page, with presenters providing either a video presentation (around 15 minutes) or poster alongside their papers.

Each page will have comment sections where people will be able to give feedback or ask additional questions – and where presenters can respond. Alongside this engagement from peers, each panel will be assigned a seasoned discussant with expertise in the panel’s subject area.

The panels will be created in response to the papers received and accepted. There is no specific overall theme of the conference, but we will place your research in a subject relevant panel.

We will provide ‘how to guides’ for all participants on how best to prepare their conference videos.

About the Early Career Network

The Political Studies Association (PSA) is committed to supporting the next generation of political scientists through its Early Career Network (ECN). The PSA ECN exists to represent the interests of postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and early career academics within the PSA. It opens a space that specifically addresses the interests and needs of postgraduates and early career researchers in an independent, peer-based environment, while still getting support and guidance from the Executive Committee of the PSA when required.

You can be a member of the PSA’s ECN from when you started a doctoral degree until three years after the completion of a doctoral viva. Only £20 a year Membership – it’s a full PSA membership, at a reduced price. Click here to join.

Who Runs the ECN?

The ECN is ran by a five member committee of fellow early career researchers and PhD Students who consist of:

Heather Alberro

Role: Chair
Institution:  Nottingham Trent University

Nick Kirsop-Taylor

Role: Secretary
Institution: University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus

Nick Dickinson

Role: Events Officer
Institution: University of Exeter

Lawrence McKay

Role: Treasurer
Institution: University of Manchester

Liam Mcloughlin

Role: Communications Officer
Institution: University of Salford

About the website

Environmental impact

The ECN specifically chose a website host with a clear environmental policy. As such, our website host maintains a 100% energy consumption commitment and maintains a carbon neutral commitment.

Web Accessibility

We have tested this website against WCAG 2.0 compliance (78%), and A11Y colour contract measures. If you are a participant facing any issues in accessing content within this website, please let us know by emailing the ECN committee. Our contact details can be found at: https://www.psa.ac.uk/specialist-groups/early-career-network

This website was built in-house by the ECN’s communication officer, so if you have any technical questions about the website setup, please feel free to contact them.